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our military and veterans

Live Oak Lodge Hosts Free Dinner for Active Duty Military Members and Families

The seventh annual Live Oak Elks Lodge #1165 and Garrison Farms salute to veterans event was held Nov. 11 at the lodge. All veterans and active duty military members and family members were invited to a free meal of smoked chicken, baked beans, coleslaw, bread and a drink. The event fed 230 veterans from all conflicts ranging from World War II to the current War on Terror. Everything was donated for the event, leaving the lodge without any expenses. 


Zephyrhills Lodge Assists More Veterans with Home Furnishings

On Nov. 3, Tom Hudson was in shock when Zephyrhills Elks showed up at his door to help furnish his home. He is the 15th veteran helped by the lodge. Hudson received all he needs to get started in his new place from a coffee pot and coffee to a recliner that he fell asleep in the first night. Lodge members Tom Pete, Dave Crotty and PER Ken Fabiani helped in this endeavor.

On Oct. 25, Raymond McDilda is the 17th veteran whose home has been furnished by Zephyrhills Lodge. He was so surprised with all the furnishings they delivered – love seat, chair, pots and pans, dish set, cups, glasses, silverware, microwave, shower rod and curtains, cooking utensils, end tables, lamps, nightstand, clock, linens, and towels – all but a bed. PER Ken Fabiani told McDilda that as soon as he had a bed for him, they’d deliver it. As Fabiani, Tom Pete and Dave Crotty drove home from Tampa, Fabiani received a call about an available bed. After dropping off Pete and Crotty, he drove to Southport Springs to pick up a bed and frame plus a pillow, sheets and blankets. Soon thereafter, McDilda received his bed with a big smile on his face while thanking the Elks for all they had done.

On Nov. 17, Mike Hanley was wide awake after his time on the bus at 5:30 a.m. to arrive at his new home in Zephyrhills, Fla. He is Zephyrhills Lodge’s 18th veteran to receive furnishings for his new home. Hanley could not believe all the furnishings that Dave Crotty and PER Ken Fabiani delivered: coffee, coffee maker, pots, pans, crock pot, utensils, bowls, dishes, pillow sheets and blankets, personal hygiene items, storage containers, shower rod, shower curtains and hooks, lamps, and end table.

Mike Hanley paid it forward by assisting Tom Pete and Ken Fabiani deliver furnishings to Zephyrhills Lodge’s 19th veteran, Greg Dorset, Nov. 18. Dorset received clothes, kitchen and bath towels, pots, pans, microwave, dining table with two chairs, two bar stools, sheets, blankets, dishes, silverware, lamps, two recliners, and coffee maker and coffee.

Early on Nov. 19, Bob Lewis became the 20th veteran whose home was furnished by Zephyrhills Lodge. Dave Crotty and Mike Hanley made the delivery. Lewis was so surprised when he saw the sofa, chair, dining table and two chairs, pots, pans, dishes, towels, lamps, two end tables, coffee maker, shower curtain and hooks, kitchen utensils, pillows, blankets, shirts, pants, and a kitchen storage container set. He had a smile from ear to ear and was so thankful for what the elks have done for him.

David Clark is the 21st veteran to move into his new home with the support from Zephyrhills Lodge. He received a sofa, recliner, two end tables, two lamps, a full-size bed with sheets and blanket, coffee maker, coffee, microwave, pots, pans, 32’’ flat-screen TV, shower rod, shower hooks, shower curtain, laundry detergent, fabric softener, dining table, two chairs, bath towels, kitchen towels, dishes, silverware, and kitchen utensils. Members Tom Pete, Steve Czerneski and PER Ken Fabiani delivered these gifts.

Brian Cade is the 22nd veteran whose home was furnished with help from Zephyrhills Lodge. These items included a dining table, two chairs, two large recliners, a queen-size bed, end tables, shower rod, shower curtains, shower hooks, pots, pans, plates, silverware, kitchen utensils, bed sheets, pillow, lamps, coffee maker, coffee, and kitchen containers.


Food for Vets Receives Support from Holley-Navarre Lodge

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On Nov. 15, Holley-Navarre Lodge presented a check for $1,200 to Food for Vets whose mission is to provide food and essentials to veterans and military members in need of assistance. The lodge raised the money primarily from their Friday night charity bingo game. Food for Vets recently moved from Navarre, Fla., to Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

Food for Vets representative, Samantha Peace, is presented a check for $1,200 from Holley-Navarre Lodge board president, Ben Gray.


Fort Myers Lodge Veterans Participate in Local Veterans Day Parade

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On Nov. 10, several veterans who are members of Fort Myers Elks Lodge #1288 rode in the Fort Myers Veterans Day Parade in two cars and a truck that pulled an Elks drug trailer. Pictured are Al Roehr; Dan Birt; Jack Hoagland, PER; Dick Conley, District Deputy; and Kawelo Makaneole, PER.


Palm Coast Lodge Raises Funds for Gary Sinise Foundation

Palm Coast Elks Lodge #2709 held a dinner dance fundraiser Nov. 9 for the Gary Sinise Foundation during the lodge’s weekend open house. A total of 76 lodge members and members of the public attended the event which raised $5,000. The foundation honors defenders, veterans, first responders, their families and those in need.


Punta Gorda Lodge Holds Veterans Day Parade

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On Nov. 9, Punta Gorda Elks Lodge #2606 held its annual Veterans Day parade which ran through downtown Punta Gorda, Fla. Several high school bands and many civic organizations were involved. The parade garnered over 1,000 spectators and more than 150 Elks were involved.

Anna Wojtalik, 97, a Navy veteran from a local veterans’ nursing home, acts as grand marshal of Punta Gorda Lodge’s Veterans Day parade.

Elroy the Elk, aka Punta Gorda Lodge office manager, Dawn McIntyre, rides in the Punta Gorda Lodge Veterans Day parade.


Largo Elks Donate Welcome Home Kit to Bay Pines VA

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On Nov. 4, Largo Elks Lodge members Jeanne Reinhart, PDD and Rudy Fontane delivered the lodge's 30th Welcome Home Kit, a program sponsored by the Elks National Veterans Service, to Nathan Witt, Chief of Voluntary Service at Bay Pines VA Healthcare System in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Elks National Veterans Service will reimburse any lodge up to $300 for the purchase of household items for a veteran moving in to their own home. Usually, these veterans have nothing but the shirts on their backs. Lodge members donate many household items (no furniture) which are also incorporated into the kit. Included in the kit were kitchen utensils, a coffee maker, bed linens, kitchen and bath towels, cleaning supplies, a clock radio, a lamp, light bulbs, batteries, dishes, and much more.


Holley-Navarre Lodge Supports Students of Active-Duty Military Members

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On Nov. 4, Holley-Navarre Elks Lodge #2787, represented by Exalted Ruler, Allen VanDyk, presented a $300 check to members of the Military Family Life Counseling Program committee – teachers Tracy Fischetti, Karen Cody and Carmen Febus – at Navarre High School. The program supports service members, families and survivors with nonmedical counseling worldwide. The check was to help Navarre High School’s Military Student Support (MSS) host their inaugural military appreciation night Nov. 12 in the school cafeteria. There are 488 students at the high school who are military dependents. One of the purposes of this night was to make the active-duty members and students aware of the specific counseling support available to military families as well as to inform them that even though they live off base in Navarre, they have all the opportunities to attend and utilize on-base activities such as the youth center which received a favorable response from the military children. Parents were further introduced to for military families which allows dependents of active-duty members access to online tutoring. Overall, this was an opportunity for active-duty military families with students at Navarre High School to hear about the many opportunities that could help make their time as a Navarre Raider a great success.


16th Veteran Receives Home Furnishings from Zephyrhills Lodge

On Nov. 3, Jessie Page became the 16th veteran for which Zephyrhills Lodge furnished a new home. The lodge provided Page with a night stand and lamp, love seat, chair table and lamps, dishes, silverware, microwave oven, pots and pans, kitchen utensils, entertainment center, television, shower rod and curtains, sheets and blankets, bath towels, clothes, kitchen towels, coffee pot and coffee, and pillows. Lodge members Tom Pete, Steve Czerneski and PER Ken Fabiani assisted with these donations.


Zephyrhills Lodge Assists 14th Veteran with Housing

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With open arms, a 14th veteran received his new home furnishings from the Veterans Committee and Zephyrhills Lodge. Jeff Couchman had a smile from ear to ear as the Elks delivered his sofa, chair, ottoman, 32-inch flat screen television, coffee maker, toaster, electric can opener, personal hygiene items, dining room table and chairs, placemats, socks, dish set with four place settings, flatware, crock pot, bath towels and wash cloths, kitchen towels, and dish rags. Pictured are Dave Crotty, member; Jeff Couchman, veteran; and PER Ken Fabiani, Veterans Chairman. Not pictured is member Tom Pete.


13th Veteran Helped into New Home by Zephyrhills Elks

On Sept. 27, Zephyrhills Elks Lodge #32731 helped their 13th veteran, James Esser, move into his own place. The Elks provided him with pots, pans, a crock pot, a television, a four-piece dinner set, a large three-piece recliner sofa, a dining room table with four chairs, a coffee maker, bath towels, hand towels, dish towels, a bed pillow, sheets, blankets, 12 polo shirts, a DVD player, and personal hygiene items. Members Tom Pete, David Crotty and PER Ken Fabiani, Veterans Chairman, helped make this happen.


Veterans are Honored at St. Petersburg Lodge's Appreciation Dinner

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On Oct. 26, St. Petersburg Elks Lodge #1224 held their annual USA show and veterans appreciation dinner honoring the dedicated men and women of service of all our United States Armed Forces who served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War and beyond. The show was a full-scale patriotic event paying tribute to our military. Fred Wall, an Elk from Largo Lodge #2159, was the oldest veteran present. He is 94 years old and served both the Atlantic and the Pacific Theatre during World War II as a Seaman 1st Class in the Navy and had the honor of cutting the cake representing all military branches. Representing the youngest veteran was Amy Evans, U.S. Air Force, who is 50 years old. Proceeds from this event will benefit C.W. Bill Young VAMC. Present at this year’s event were eight veterans who participated in the National Golden Age Games held in Anchorage, Alaska, June 5-10. Proceeds from 2018’s USA show sponsored these veterans’ attendance at the games.


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Florida Elks News Editor:
Rachael King
Entire contents copyright 2018 by the
Florida State Elks Association, Inc.
P.O. Box 49
Umatilla, FL 32784-0049

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Louisiana State Legislature Increases New Orleans Hotel Occupancy Tax

The Legislature of the State of Louisiana has acted to increase the New Orleans Hotel Occupancy Tax from 13% to 14.75% effective April 1, 2014. This will affect our convention room rates and they will go from $128.56 to $130.52 per night.

Convention Attendees With ADA Transportation Needs Urged To Contact Grand Lodge

In order for the Grand Lodge to support the transportation needs of attendees with disabilities you are urged to contact the Grand Lodge if you require special assistance. Special coaches capable of kneeling to accommodate wheel chairs will be placed along the routes for those in need. If you require assistance please contact Tina or Jessica at the Grand Lodge as follows:


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