In its ongoing support of veterans, Deep Creek Elks Lodge #2763 members Peggie Sue Dygert, who is also a member of the Charlotte County Veterans Council; Kay Neilley, PDD; and Cheryl Usowicz recently used funds from the $3,000 Elks National Foundation Freedom Grant to shop for needed items requested by residents at the Douglas T. Jacobson State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Port Charlotte, Florida.
On March 5, Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Lodge hosted the Southwest District Army of Hope fundraiser. Each of the seven lodges contributed food for a night of dinner and dancing. Together they raised $4,666.
Pictured are members Chuck and Phyllis Stolteben, who donated their music for entertainment for the evening.
On March 3, Cape Coral Elks Lodge #2596 presented 12 much-needed wheelchairs to the Lee County Healthcare Center in Cape Coral, Florida. The lodge raised $1,200 to purchase the chairs.
Pictured are Mike Byrne, Esquire; member Patricia Kampf; Bonnie Marshall, Exalted Ruler; John Nugent, Loyal Knight; Chuck Ellis, lodge member; Mike Murphy, Leading Knight; Janet Murphy, chaplain; and member Ted David, seated in front. Taking pictures were members Beverly Nugent and Richard Kampf, PER.
On Feb. 17, Fort Pierce Lodge Veterans Co-chairs, Rod Dally, PER and Bev Dally, delivered a cart filled with snacks, candy and hygiene items to the Ardie R. Copas Veterans Nursing Home in an effort to bring the patients out of their rooms to participate in various activities to win funny money to purchase these items. Lodge members donated the funds for the items.
Pictured are Sherika Ayer, nursing home activities chair, and Rod and Bev Dally, Lodge Veterans Co-chairs.
The Zephyrhills Lodge Veterans Committee furnished four more homes for veterans who recently moved in to their new homes. On March 7, Army veteran Rueben Philloura moved in to his Zephyrhills home, close to family and friends.On March 11, Thomas Weatherspoon’s Tampa home was furnished, including with new bedroom furniture donated by American Furniture Warehouse. On March 13, Army veteran Courtney Pendeton moved in to his south Tampa home and Claude Hall, an Air Force veteran, moved in to his Tampa home. Both residences were furnished by the lodge using Elks Welcome Home Kits.
Picture 1: Volunteer Nick Stritzinger, veteran Thomas Weatherspoon and member Don Falaas
Picture 2: Member Larry Decena, veteran Courtney Pendeton and member Don Falass
Picture 3: Veteran Claude Hall
On Feb. 26, more than a dozen members of Sebastian Elks Lodge #2714 were at Riverview Park in Sebastian, Florida, for the unveiling of the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action monument. The lodge donated $500 to the Sebastian Squad 189 of Sons of the American Legion for the monument. The brass stars on the monument are made from the grommets of American flags retrieved after they were retired, therefore showing that the flag never dies. Since World War II, more than 82,000 Americans are still unaccounted for from wars and conflicts.
Pictured is the monument.
Punta Gorda Elks Lodge #2606 participated in the South Southwest District Army of Hope picnic held Feb. 19 at Bonita Springs-Estero Elks Lodge #2753, where a total of $23,659.39 was raised to provide assistance to the families of deceased, disabled and deployed members of the military. The lodge was represented by Tom Shoecraft, Exalted Ruler; Diana Beamenderfer, Esquire; Walter LaCombe, PER; Eric Rolston, PER; and Daleen Hendrickson, PER. The lodge made a $5,000 donation, donated six items for the silent auction, and provided and served 100 sausage with peppers and onions meals.
On Dec. 19, Punta Gorda Lodge #2606 presented a check for $1,000 to the Douglas Jacobson State Veterans Home recreation fund, which provides veterans with items not provided by the home, such as socks, toiletries and pajamas. Major Douglas Jacobson was a congressional Medal of Honor recipient for his heroic actions at Iwo Jima.
Pictured are Ambrose Yelovich, PER, Chaplain; Karen Fanstill, assistant director of activities; veteran Richard Sqzio; and Bob Hahn, PER, Elks National Foundation Fundraising Chair.
On Feb. 1, St. Augustine Elks Lodge #829 donated $2,000 from its Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant along with $2,000 of its matching funds from the Florida State Elks Association to Hope4Veterans, an organization that provides support to woman veterans in ways that impact their daily lives with the goal to prevent isolation, suicide and homelessness.
Pictured are A. Joseph Smith Sr., Exalted Ruler; Lynn Geiser, president/CEO of Hope4Veterans; and Elizabeth Bastedo, lodge grant coordinator.
On Feb. 23, Navy veteran Tonya Dinkins and her sister moved in to their new home in Brandon, Florida, with support from the Zephyrhills Lodge Veterans Committee. She is the 228th veteran to have their home furnished by the Elks.
Pictured are member Don Falaas, veteran Tonya Dinkins and volunteer Howard Lundsford.
From Feb. 13 to Feb. 16 for the National Salute to Veteran Patients, Frank Sellers, PDD, Elks VAVS representative to West Palm Beach VAMC, used funds from his veterans’ account to purchase juices and water to be served to the veterans. This event was supported by nine members from West Palm Beach Lodge #1352, Delray Beach Lodge #1770 and Pompano Beach Lodge #1898. On Feb. 16, Army veteran David Poole introduced himself and shared his story that more than 60 years ago, he was a patient at the Harry-Anna Hospital. He was born with his legs wrapped around his brother and he was cared for by the hospital staff for more than 10 years. He is now so happy to hear of the Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services and they are hopeful that he will become a member.
Pictured are Charlotte Burrie, PDD, Pompano Beach #1898; David Poole, retired veteran; Diane Caroll, West Palm Beach #1352; and Cindy Howard, Delray Beach #1770.
On Feb. 15, Fort Pierce Elks Lodge #1520 donated $4,000 from its Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant to Dedicated Devoted Solutions for Veterans (DDS4Vets). Pictured is JJ Johnson, PDD, Lodge Advisor, presenting a check to Walter Evans, director of DDS4Vets. The lodge previously donated $5,000 to this organization Jan. 13 that it raised from a golf tournament held Nov. 5 at the Indian Hills Golf Course in Fort Pierce.