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Florida Elks News Editor:
Rachael King
 
Entire contents copyright 2022 by the
Florida State Elks Association Inc.
P.O. Box 49
Umatilla, FL 32784-0049
352-669-9443

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Viera Lodge is also assisting Wuesthoff Brevard Hospice & Palliative Care in their support of Honor Flight. Honor Flight is an all-volunteer network whose mission is to honor American veterans for the sacrifices they made for their country. Their top priority is the most senior veterans of World War II and those who are terminally ill. The veterans and their guardians are flown to the nation’s capital and are driven around Washington, D.C. by motorcoach to view the memorials for World War II, Korea and Vietnam. They also visit Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The entire trip is free to them and every need is provided for, such as wheelchairs and oxygen. Kasha Harrell, lodge member and an employee of the hospice, coordinates a group of volunteers from both organizations who prepare food at the lodge for all of the activities, from lunch on orientation day to box lunches for flight day. They feed between 100 and 150 veterans and guardians per flight. On May 22, Harrell was presented with a certificate of appreciation from the Florida State Elks Association for her outstanding contributions as a House Committee member, volunteer bartender, kitchen assistant, member recruiter and so much more.

Pictured June 20 at the hospice are Dawn King of the hospice; Kasha Harrell, lodge member and hospice employee; and Wendy Carns, PER, Treasurer.

 

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On May 31, volunteers from Green Cove Springs Lodge supported the summer kickoff program at the Green Cove Springs Library. With the use of the lodge’s Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant, each of the 120 participants received books, ice cream and crafts. The library was decorated with an Oceans of Possibilities theme, and each book was selected to fit the theme.

Pictured are:

Sherri Leach, Clay County Deputy and lodge member; Sebastian Micalizzi, library shark volunteer; and Kathie Thompson, PER

Kathie Thompson, PER and Linda Rittenhouse, PSP-FLOE handing out items

Families enjoying their books

Elenore Williams, volunteer, and Al Williams, Exalted Ruler, with a participating family

Sebastian Micalizzi, library shark volunteer; Gene Rittenhouse, PDD; Linda Rittenhouse, PSP-FLOE; lodge members Bob Russell, Bobbe Marion, and Penny Kunze; Jennifer Parker, library branch manager and lodge member; and Amanda Altic, library volunteer, preparing for participants

Penny Kunze, lodge member, and Al Williams, Exalted Ruler, serving ice cream

 

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Manasota Lodge recently formed a partnership with Bayshore Elementary School, a Title 1 school in Bradenton, Florida. On June 13, the lodge delivered the school’s wish list of summer school supplies. These supplies were purchased with the Florida State Elks Association’s matching funds of the Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant.

Pictured are Spike Klocke, lodge grant coordinator; Lisa Lovy, summer school coordinator; and Jackie West, principal.

 

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On June 11, Tampa Lodge’s Veterans Services Committee held its first of four events that will be covered using the Elks National Foundation Freedom Grant. Shelagh Gombarcik, PER set up a fishing trip at Ballast Point Park on Old Tampa Bay. She reserved a shelter and the long pier and arranged for lunch and plenty of soft drinks and water. Jose Remon, Lodge Veterans Services Chair, purchased the bait and poles. Five veterans from Liberty Manor for Veterans participated, as did three veterans from James A. Haley VA Domiciliary. These transitioning veterans had been on COVID lockdown and could not have participated if it had been an indoor activity. Even so, staffing issues kept the number small. Each of the veterans were given a new Zebco fishing rod to use and keep. It was a very warm day, so after a couple of hours which yielded only three pin fish, the group decided to head in for the iconic Tampa Cuban sandwich and chips for lunch. The shade of the shelter was most welcome.

Pictured with Edie Hanley, Lecturing Knight, are Liberty Manor veterans Mark Hodge and Richard Collins. Also pictured are Shelagh Gombarcik, PER escorting the domiciliary veterans down the pier.

 

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On May 21, 6-year-old Brooke Jordan and 9-year-old Connor Jordan set up a lemonade stand on North Avenue in front of their grandparents’ house in Zephyrhills from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. to raise money for Zephyrhills Lodge’s Feed the Kids program. Their idea was inspired from a song on YouTube called “The Duck Song” about a duck who goes to a lemonade stand. Connor also said, “I wanted to do it because Jesus would have wanted me to. It made me feel good about myself.” Brooke said, “I do not want the kids to go hungry.” A joint family effort was made to sell the lemonade. Louis Jordan, grandfather, helped the children make the stand from wood, metal pipes and cardboard. April Jordan, mother, gave the children decoration ideas and they decorated it themselves. Stancy Jordan, grandmother, and the children made the lemonade, which they sold for $1 a cup. Adam Jordan, father, helped advertise the stand at their school and church. While sitting at the stand, they waved to people going by and showed them their signs. “People were giving us more than what it costs,” said Connor. The largest donation they received from one person was $20. In total, they raised $140 for the program. On June 6, Connor and Brooke, accompanied by their parents, presented their donation to the lodge during their business meeting. Donna Moyer, program chair, introduced the children while Jay Klamer, Exalted Ruler, accepted their donation and presented them both with Elk pins.

 

1525 scholarships

On May 13, Dunedin/Clearwater Elks Lodge #1525 and the Ladies Auxiliary honored three of the five local high school students who received $1,000 lodge scholarships. All the winners and their families were invited to the lodge for the Friday dinner dance. The attendees, Angela Li, Patrick Nguyen and Allison Smith, pictured, were presented with a certificate representing the $1,000 check sent to the college of their choice. These recipients gave a short speech explaining their hopes for the future and thanking the lodge for this opportunity. The other recipients, Yareli Franco-Cruz and Gionni Peiffer, will have their checks sent to their respective colleges as well. The $5,000 for these scholarships were covered by $1,000 from the Monday golf group, $2,000 from the Sunday bingo players and $2,000 from the Ladies Auxiliary.