It is very appropriate that we take a few minutes from our busy schedules to pause and consider the many opportunities we have had over the past year to promote our very successful Florida State Elks Association. Our Florida Elks Youth Camp Director, Nick Miller, reports that we completed the most successful summer camp to date with 2,335 campers enjoying our first-class camp. Our Florida Elks Children's Therapy Services continues to grow and expand under the guidance of Colleen Gallant, and we have just hired our 28th therapist who began Jan. 1. Our Harry-Anna Investment Fund continues its unprecedented growth under the direction of PSP Mike Phillips and our dedicated trustees. There can be no doubt that the Florida State Elks Association is the finest, most active and dedicated in the country. Please take a minute to congratulate yourselves for being a part of this; it is a source of pride that the Florida Elks do so much for so many.
I’d like to take just a minute to discuss a new program of Florida Elks’ monthly giving. Our Elks Association is promoting a program to assist in making a recurring monthly charitable donation to our major projects without the necessity of sitting down to write a check or donate at your lodge. Once you have signed up, your monthly gift will be automatically debited from your credit or debit card of choice. The monthly gifting will be automatic, and as they say, “just set it and forget it.” Any amount you can give is appreciated and of course is used for all our charitable endeavors through the Harry-Anna Trust Fund, and you can have the pride of participating without having to deal with it throughout the year. You will feel great knowing you are doing your part to help your Elks Association grow and prosper and help those who need our assistance, including the many children who depend on us for their healthy quality of life. For detailed information, please visit our website at floridaelks.org.
In February, we will have the honor of having our Grand Exalted Ruler and First Lady, Mike and Barbara Luhr, visit the Sunshine State and our many enthusiastic Florida Elks. Our distinguished visitors will be met by the official party at the Jacksonville Airport Wed., Feb. 6, and after showing off our world-famous ancient city, St. Augustine, they will arrive at the Florida Elks Youth Camp Thursday afternoon. On Friday night, we will be entertained by the great performers of Re-Creation, and on Saturday morning, we will enjoy a special message by GER Mike. Please be sure to greet Mike and Barb; they are down-to-earth folks from Alaska who are doing a wonderful job of spreading the message of Elkdom: Elks Care – Elks Share. You will be impressed with them, and I know they will be impressed with us!
Mike and Sandra, Bob, and Claudia and I wish for each of you a happy and healthy 2019. As always, thank you for your enthusiasm, dedication and assistance in the Florida Elks’ many ongoing charitable projects.
C. Valentine Bates, PGER
Florida State Elks Association