Largo Elks Lodge #2159 held its fifth annual bartender auction Oct. 15 with record-breaking member turnout and record-breaking proceeds for the Largo Police Department’s Seniors Program. The bartenders are also lodge members. This year’s event began with Largo PD's Officer Quattlebaum playing a short video about the Seniors Program, which assists senior citizens when they need financial aid, home repairs and other similar assistance. For example, they purchased a bracelet for a senior citizen with Alzheimer’s disease so the family could easily find them if they became lost. They also paid for a hotel room for a veteran being evicted until he could enter veteran housing. Officer Bowling then explained a project that the Largo PD and the lodge collaborated on. Largo PD informed the lodge that people using the library were having their bicycles stolen because they didn’t have locks. The lodge worked with Harbor Freight to purchase bike locks to give to the library. Next, the $4,000 Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant was presented to Officer Quattlebaum. Jeanne Reinhart, PDD, Lodge Advisor and lodge grant writer, has successfully applied for the Beacon Grant for the past six years, with it being donated to the Seniors Program the last several years. After the check presentation, a $20 challenge jar started that quickly went to $477. Finally, the auction began. Some items were available for regular bidding, while others were wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper, concealing the contents. Some items included a weekend beach rental, a Jack Daniels collector’s bottle, Navy Seal memorabilia and a challenge coin. Auction proceeds were $5,692, and along with the Beacon Grant, the total donated to the Largo Police Department Seniors Program was $9,692.
Pictured are Marcia Lowe, bar manager; Officer Quattlebaum; Gloria Todd, Exalted Ruler; Officer Bowling; Officer Soto; and Jeanne Reinhart, PDD.
During the weekend of Oct. 8, the Northeast District Elks lodges, with the support of their communities and members, collected approximately 3,000 pounds of much-needed supplies to assist southwest Florida after Hurricane Ian. The collection drive was organized by Green Cove Springs Lodge Exalted Ruler, Al Williams, and his wife, Elenore. PER Ed Weston and member Steve Rigdon drove the supplies to Fort Myers, where they assisted members of the Brotherhood Ride as well as the Cajun Navy, an organization that provides support during natural disasters, in distributing the supplies.
Pictured are Elenore Williams, Green Cove Springs Lodge volunteer; Deb Reedy, Jacksonville Lodge Secretary; Brent Reedy, Jacksonville Lodge Lecturing Knight; Al Williams, Green Cove Springs Lodge Exalted Ruler; David Graham, Jacksonville Exalted Ruler; Shannon Graham, Jacksonville House Committee member; and Ed Weston, Green Cove Springs Lodge Past Exalted Ruler.
Also pictured are Ed Weston, PER; Tucker Mendoza, Cajun Navy representative; and member Steve Rigdon, as well as a trailer of supplies.
On Oct. 4, Stephen “Clay” Perdue, house manager of the Gainesville Fisher House, accepted $1,000 from its Elks National Foundation Freedom Grant from Jerry Sartain of Gainesville Elks Lodge #990. The donation will assist the Fisher House in a water filtration system. The Fisher House supports America’s military members in their time of need. For members of the armed forces, retirees, veterans and their families, the Fisher House program offers shelter and support during a medical crisis, including wounded service members. They offer a comforting home away from home while a loved one is receiving care in an unfamiliar environment.
On Oct. 3, Holley-Navarre Elks Lodge #2787 donated $1,500 to Holley-Navarre Elementary/Primary School, which will provide more than 270 students in grades kindergarten to second grade with take-home meals. This was a very important need due to the socioeconomic status of the student population. The lodge is also working with local business leaders to create partnerships that will gain additional contributors for this program.
Pictured are Thomas (TJ) Carey, Exalted Ruler; Ben Balsavichis, principal; and Libby Blackwood, lodge club manager.
On Aug. 27, Fort Walton Lodge members presented $1,200 worth of therapy items to Elizabeth Maina, Northwest District occupational therapist with Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services (FECTS). Some of the items were handmade by lodge sewing experts Jamie Clemons, Secretary, and longtime member Lily Hill. They made 14 sensory tunnels and 23 beanbags. The rest of the donation included 11 compression vests and seven weighted blankets. Maina was able to give most of the items to her patients’ families so the children in therapy can use the items throughout the week, not just during their weekly therapy visits.
Pictured are Paul Eubanks, PER; member Lily Hill; Elizabeth Maina, OTR/L; Jamie Clemons, Secretary; Kevin Clemons, PDD, Northwest District Leader and FECTS board president; and Michael “Taz” WrightReynolds, PER, Exalted Ruler.
Deep Creek Elks Lodge #2763 hosted its second annual Tunnel to Towers (T2T) charity benefit Sept. 11. Generous donations were received from National Merchants, local businesses and individuals. Two silent auctions were held, one for a 20-person wine tasting from Total Wine & More and another for a painting created by lodge member Karen French of the T2T mirror pool memorial and observatory. Free meals were given to all active and retired first responders and military members. The event generated $2,141 in donations through food, gifts, raffles and the silent auctions. The lodge agreed to match these donations using its charity account. As an additional donation, the lodge also agreed to match the cost of the donated food, which totaled $413.45. The T2T foundation was formed after 9/11 to assist America’s heroes by providing mortgage-free homes to Gold Star families and families of fallen first responders with young children and by building custom-designed smart homes for catastrophically injured veterans and first responders. They are also committed to eradicating veteran homelessness and aiding the victims of major U.S. disasters.
Pictured are Scott Phillips, Exalted Ruler; Jack Upton, event chair; and members Darryl Martin and Chuck Paulson preparing meals in the kitchen.
Also shown is the painting from the silent auction.