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Rachael King
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Florida State Elks Association Inc.
P.O. Box 49
Umatilla, FL 32784-0049

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Gallant Colleen 2018 for web

Welcome to fall!

I hope this finds everyone doing well. It has surely been a trying 2020.

As we all know, the therapists had not been able to go into homes since we shut down for the coronavirus pandemic. We had planned for the therapists to go back into homes when we entered Phase 3. In the meantime, schools opened and Florida’s numbers improved so we decided to start seeing children in their homes after Labor Day.

We have obviously lost some of our patients because they do not want anyone in their homes and some families have moved. So, we will start working on our waitlist. Our therapists are so happy to be back in the homes and treating patients in person rather than by Zoom.

Our therapists have worked very hard over the last six months, not only on treatment plans for their patients but helping families work through the many issues associated with parents not working and trying to home-school their children and help their children with therapy. I am so proud of the way that each therapist worked with all of their families. We all appreciate that the therapists were able to work with their patients in this way over the past six months.

As expected, our numbers dropped slightly due to the pandemic. We continued to treat approximately 476 children, and about 25 children were treated by our contract therapists.

Our therapists also used the time to take their continuing education credits and are ready to be back with the patients so they can use what they have been learning over the last six months.

I am so proud of our therapists and the way they have handled their own families and the families of our patients. It takes a special type of person to do what they do every day. You know when you talk with them how much they love working with our patients and especially for FECTS.

Our regional coordinators, Yvette Lambert (lead clinical coordinator),Tressy Guadagno and Val Edmands, have done an amazing job staying in contact with all the therapists and helping them with any concerns they may have.

On Oct. 9, long-time therapist Margot Baker retired. Margot was hired in 1999 when we first started Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services. She treated patients in the South Southwest and Southwest districts. In addition to being an incredible therapist, Margot always loved speaking at all the lodges in her area as much as they loved having her at the lodges. Due to COVID restrictions, we will celebrate Margot’s retirement at our annual meeting in March.

Each year we offer family camp to our patients and families. This is where our therapists can invite the families they are treating for a weekend at the Florida Elks Youth Camp. Our therapists along with their own families and many volunteers from the OT/PT schools in Florida spend the weekend helping our patients and their siblings have an amazing weekend. We were incredibly disappointed that we had to cancel our family camp this year but hopefully we will be back at camp next year and it will be better than ever.

We were at the FLOE conference at Lido Beach Resort in Sarasota, Florida, Sept. 24-26. These ladies put on a fine conference and it was my pleasure to be able to visit with them as well as honor some of their lodges for their amazing contributions. Since our inception in 1999, FLOE has donated $1,630,355 to the Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services. For 2019-2020, FLOE donated $37,169. The top three lodges for donations are Fort Pierce #1520, $6,000; Punta Gorda #2606, $5,250; and Palm Coast #2709, $4,784. Fort Pierce Lodge not only donated the largest amount of money to Therapy Services but also had the largest per capita at $88.24.

We are so very blessed to have not only the Elks of Florida but the many ladies organizations that continue to be incredibly generous when it comes to Therapy Services.

A very special thank you goes to Adella Ashton and Becky Long who came up with an incredible idea to give a Disney vacation to one of our patients’ families. They had a reverse draw at their conference and the first-place winner was PSP Carl Gerace who graciously donated half of it to FLOE. FLOE asked the therapists to decide the family to receive their incredible gift of four days and three nights at Disney World with other gifts to go along with their trip. JJ D’Angelo and his family will be going to Disney when they feel things are safer for the children. They are so grateful to all the members of FLOE and all those who purchased tickets to make this trip possible.

On behalf of all of us at Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services, thank  you, everyone, for your help and support.

Please take care and stay safe.

Colleen Gallant
Florida Elks Children's Therapy Services