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Florida Elks News Editor:
Rachael King
 
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Florida State Elks Association Inc.
P.O. Box 49
Umatilla, FL 32784-0049
352-669-9443

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Suzi Simonelli

What a great time we had at the Tampa Bay Rays game. The only downfall was the Rays lost to some team out of New York. I had real concerns about being able to throw out the first pitch. However, for those of you who attended, you saw it knocked Raymond the mascot backward. It took me a long time to get back to my seat after signing so many autographs and being held up by the Rays management wanting to recruit me. Actually, we had a fun time, as my two sons and two grandsons were there along with one of my daughters-in-law and of course my lovely wife, Rachel. Thank you, Steve Harmon, PDD, for a great job organizing the Elks Day at the Rays, and thank you to the 980 Elks and guests who purchased tickets.

My motto this year is “Unity and Dedication Create Success,” and that is what we are finding when we are making our visits. Our first visit that we were able to attend was in the Southeast District, where District Vice President Cindy Eldred and the entire district gave us an awesome weekend. It started Friday night with a visit to West Palm Beach Lodge. They had a “Welcome Back” banner and the theme was Hoop Shoot. We enjoyed my favorite, chicken wings, and ice cream for dessert. Saturday, we attended Busch Wildlife Sanctuary where we got to do some painting with a very large and beautiful mountain lion. Then it was off to the beautiful Dubois Park where we were served lunch by the Boy Scout troop that Jupiter Lodge supports. We were also thrilled to have Uncle Johnathan and Therapy Services CHAMP Jasper meet us for lunch. Our evening was topped off with a great dinner at Jupiter Lodge. They did a fantastic job getting the lodge presentable after the lodge had a terrible flood.

Our next visit was to the South District, where District Vice President Barry Wake and the members showed us a wonderful time. We visited South Miami/Coral Gables Lodge Friday evening, where we were entertained with a magic show by Rick Del Vecchio, PER and a mentalist performance by new member Alex Teixiera; both were amazing. On Saturday at the lodge, we were entertained by the Japanese Garden crew with some martial arts demonstrations, and side tables were set up to teach origami, sushi and how to write your name in Japanese. The lodge then awarded the group with some grant money. Saturday evening at Miami Lodge was very nice, and what a beautiful lodge it is. If you have not been there, you need to go see the lodge, especially the lodge room. 

Next, we visited the South Southeast District, where District Vice President Jerry Carter and the members made sure we had a good time. On Friday evening at Hollywood West Lodge, we had a nice dinner and met one of our scholarship winners, Grace Murphy. What a delightful young lady she is. Saturday morning, we went to breakfast at Oakland Park Lodge. What a turnaround this lodge has made with the building and, most importantly, working in the community. After breakfast we visited the Boca Raton Historical Museum, which was interesting and informative. Our Saturday dinner was at the new Pompano Beach Lodge. This was my first time seeing this beautiful facility and they also had a Hoop Shoot theme along with a very nice dinner.

Our visit to the wonderful West Central District was hosted by District Vice President Sonja Lopez and a lot of great volunteers. On Friday evening we went to Holiday Isles Lodge, where we had a great dinner of a roasted pig, which was on the spit most of the day and tasted great. We were served dessert by the Seminole Middle School students and their parents. We were not sure if we could make it home because we had one of those Florida storms that almost flooded the streets. Saturday didn’t start off so good, as I fell out of the shower, breaking the toilet seat but luckily just bruising my back and leg. We did make it to the Pinellas Safe Harbor for those who are homeless. They really have it together there and are helping a lot of people get their own place and employment. Saturday evening at Largo Lodge, we had a great meal and visited with a lot of great Elks.

At all our visits, we talk about the good things the lodges are doing for our veterans, our youth and our communities wherever they can. We are able to award each district with a presidential grant in the amount of $2,000, which has been divided between lodges. This is very hard to choose, as most every lodge does an awful lot of good things.

In the next couple of months, we have our lodge Soccer Shoots and Hoop Shoots and some grant deadlines, and November is Veterans Remembrance Month. We have a lot to do and to get prepared for. Remember that September and October were our Grand Exalted Ruler’s initiation class. Please send pictures to rickg@elks.org and the new members will receive a golden frame of their class.

Florida was hit by the devastating Hurricane Ian and several of our members lost everything and some of our lodges have been unable to open. This is the time to show compassion to each other. Remember our motto, “Elks Care — Elks Share.” Let’s keep them all in our thoughts and prayers.

We have several district visits left and look forward to seeing some old friends and making some new ones. We will see all of you at the midyear convention in November, being held in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Always remember, a lot of people depend on us, so let’s not let them down. Work together, stick to it and it will be a success.

 

Danny E. Tabor, State President

Florida State Elks Association