State President's Message
- Written by Frank Malatesta
Once again, we have enjoyed all our visits since my last message. We started by traveling to the South Southwest District. We were greeted by DVP Dick Conley and his wife, Dianne. Friday night we went to Cape Coral Lodge’s beautiful new building and enjoyed a great meal and their warm hospitality. On Saturday we toured one of Fort Myers’ treasures, the Edison Ford Museum. It was very informative and was enjoyed by all who attended. We traveled to Fort Myers Lodge for a delicious and relaxing lunch. Saturday evening’s wonderful dinner was at Bonita Springs-Estero Lodge.
Our next visit was to the Northwest District where our hosts were DVP Annie Moore and Gary Pelham. Friday evening dinner at Crestview Lodge was awesome. The baseball theme at the dinner was fun with great decorations that were a nice touch. After a fabulous breakfast at Twin Cities Lodge, we were treated to a very educational and informative tour of the Air Force Armament Museum. Saturday evening’s dinner at Fort Walton Lodge was delightful. I will always treasure my personalized baseball bat. It was great to have PSP Jimmy Coggins and Sonja join us for dinner.
Next we attended the East Central District where we were greeted by DVP Jeff Rumler and Cristin and a host of district members. We went to Edgewater-New Smyrna Beach Lodge for dinner Friday night where we celebrated my birthday in style. After breakfast Saturday morning, we went to the DeLand Naval Air Museum for a guided tour and then we went to the Stockyard for a wonderful lunch. Saturday evening’s dinner at Sanford Lodge was terrific. We were pleased to have our daughter, Kim Chapman, and grandchildren, Michael and Alexis, attend this evening.
Our midyear convention at Plantation on Crystal River brought us up to date with reports from all our state committees. Also at our convention, the Past State Presidents endorsed Tom Ludwick and Joyce as President and First Lady for 2019-2020, and Rudy Masi and Dolly were endorsed as the VPAL and Second Lady. Congratulations to both couples!
The final state visit for this message was to the Southeast Central District where our host was DVP Michael Schodlbauer and Mary. Friday night dinner was hosted by Vero Beach Lodge. The meal was great, and the baseball theme and decorations were over-the-top fabulous. On Saturday, our guided tour of Historic Dodgertown was a pleasant surprise. I didn’t know it even existed. We then went to the Walking Tree Brewery for a delicious lunch with homemade desserts. Saturday evening dinner was wonderful at Sebastian Lodge.
Sally and I were invited guests to the Mississippi State Elks Association mid-winter conference where they hosted our Grand Exalted Ruler, Michael T. Luhr, and his wife, Barbara, on his official visit to Mississippi. The southern hospitality and warm greetings of the officers and members were kind and appreciated. We had an interesting tour of Keesler Air Force Base and learned about the hurricane hunters’ flights during storms.
Through our visits, it is evident that the lodges are working to “Make the Best Better.” I want to continue to encourage everyone to grow your membership, involve new members, make your Harry-Anna Trust Fund goal, apply for and receive all grants, and participate in community activities and projects.
Again, it is a privilege and honor to represent you as the president of the Florida State Elks Association. Thank you for your support and the kindness shown to us.
Sally and I are looking forward to seeing all of you at the February quarterly in Umatilla, Fla., at the Florida Elks Youth Camp. May God bless our troops, the Florida State Elks Association and America.
Florida State Elks Association