Greetings, Florida Elks.
Reflecting on 2020, we continue to see much that is cause for negativity. VPAL, Suzi Simonelli, and I conducted a Zoom meeting in July and another in September with our District Vice Presidents (DVPs). In these meetings, your DVPs have provided us with valuable information on what is taking place in their respective districts. These details have caused me to take a deeper dive into 2020. Below are details on Elk actions taking place that inspire me with hope, positive thoughts and great anticipation for our short- and long-term future.
Despite the majority of our lodges being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, our members were creative and came up with many ways to show that “Elks Care — Elks Share.” Here are a few examples of how lodges around the state are contributing to shine a light of hope and good by helping others.
— Conducting food and supply drives and donating to those in need.
— Recognizing and honoring first responders with meals and gifts.
— Making and delivering masks.
— Providing school supplies to schools and students.
— Awarding student scholarships.
— Adopting and cleaning litter from highways.
— Providing personal hygiene and food to homeless veterans.
— Providing nutritional and other services to the elderly.
— Continuing to find a need and fill it (e.g., providing external defibrillator and television for a school)
Our lodges are back open and adhering to safety and health guidelines and beginning to see members return. I am excited and filled with hope, eagerly looking forward to seeing and sharing even more good news of our members living this year’s motto, Florida Elks – Warm, Friendly and Active! Every Florida Elk should be proud and know they make me proud to be part of the best benevolent organization in the world.
Hats off to the great Northwest District for hosting a safe, fun and relaxing state president visitation. We really enjoyed the Q&A concerns during your District Deputy clinic. I enjoyed listening and responding to your concerns. Dolly and I appreciate the care and understanding you provided to me as I continue to recover from my illness. I thank everyone who contributed to the success of this, our first visitation.
Congratulations go to the Florida Elks Ladies of Elks (FLOE) for presenting the FLOE’s Angel Award. This award provides the recipient with a free weekend with all expenses paid to Walt Disney World. Last year’s Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services (FECTS) CHAMP of the Year, JJ D’Angelo, and his family were selected as recipients. This honor was chosen by Colleen Gallant, FECTS Director. Please join me in thanking 2019-2020 FLOE President, Adella Ashton, and her husband, Richard, for overcoming COVID-19-related obstacles and leading this wonderful organization to much success! Your motto of Be an Angel in the Life of a Child inspired us to help many children. Dolly and I very much enjoyed attending the 2020 FLOE convention. Best wishes are sent for continued success to 2020-2021 FLOE President, Linda Rittenhouse. We love your patriotic symbols of our great American flag and look forward to supporting your motto, Help Children to Soar.
In the summer issue of Florida Elks Magazine, I shared our 2020-2021 District Vice President’s culture statement advising that VPAL, Suzi Simonelli; our DVPs and I had made a pledge to practice the principles in our daily lives. We advised you to hold us accountable to live it. I am listing the culture statement below as a reminder for each of us to do our best to apply it in our personal and Elk lives. You are also asked to review it and join us.
We as District Vice Presidents are successful because we:
— Know it’s amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t worry about who gets the credit.
— Communicate effectively and frequently.
— Have fun.
— Never forget to say thank you.
— Continue to give praise and show appreciation.
— Always remember we represent the Elks and our actions speak volumes.
— Work together as a TEAM – Together Everyone Accomplishes More.
— Accept constructive criticism and be willing to change.
— We promptly make amends and move on when wrong.
— Stay on task, we keep calm and we move forward.
— Delegate, trust and advise.
— Be innovative and provide good leadership.
— Lead by example, being “Warm, Friendly and Active.”
Many members are working hard in our lodges helping to reopen. Each of us needs to take time to practice DVP culture principle No. 5 and show them your appreciation.
State Membership Chair, Rod O’Connor, and Vice Chair, Rick Wright, are collaborating with our District Membership Chairs in contacting lapsed members. Now is a good time to make a phone call and personally reach out to lapsed members asking for their help and support in planning social and service opportunities.
Our list of major projects sustaining donor members continues to grow as our enrolled donors are now on par with California. Thank you!
Throughout the history of our order, Elks have suffered, survived and continued to thrive due to the resiliency of our members. I’ve read that “the past is your lesson, the present is your gift and the future is your motivation.” My prayer for each of us is that we learn from our past, take time to live in the present and enjoy every golden moment as we grow the Florida State Elks Association for an even more promising future — TOGETHER!
Dolly, Suzi, Joey and I very much appreciate the opportunity to represent Florida Elks. We look forward to seeing and sharing with everyone in our travels! We wish each of you a blessed and happy Thanksgiving! May God smile and bless our FSEA.
Rudy J. Masi Sr., PDD
Florida State Elks Association