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Florida Elks News Online

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District Reporter: Linda Witt

FECTS' Champ of the Year Introduced at Merritt Island Lodge

2650 Jackson

Merritt Island Lodge hosted a dinner in honor of State President Carl Gerace March 10. Gerace delivered an inspiring message and described how proud he was of the members of the Florida Elks, Florida Ladies of Elks, and the outstanding Florida Elks Youth Camp and Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services. The highlight of the evening was the introduction of this year’s CHAMP (Child Having Achieved Magnificent Progress), Jackson.

Mike Phillips, PSP-PGESQ poses with Jackson, FECTS CHAMP; his therapist Nikki McAnary; and her son, Chase.


Merritt Island Lodge Volunteer Presents Matching Time Check to Lodge

2650 Griffin

Chris Griffin presented a check for $500 to Merritt Island Lodge Exalted Ruler, Kermit Forbes. Griffin’s application for a matching time grant for his volunteer service was approved by the ULA (United Launch Alliance). He is a great volunteer for the lodge.


Antlers are Tremendous Addition to Merritt Island Lodge

2650 Antlers

The members of the Merritt Island Elks Antlers are always there to support the lodge. At the recent state president’s dinner, they helped serve and clean up. They are a tremendous asset and the future of the lodge and the order.


Splash Day at DeLand Lodge has Great Turnout

Splash Day at DeLand Lodge has become an annual event for the neighborhood children and is made possible through grants pursued by grant coordinator, Rachel Sieg, and is free to the children. This year the event was held Saturday morning, March 24, with a fantastic turnout. The children from DeLand and surrounding towns enjoyed the slippery slides while their parents took aim at hitting the target of the dunk tank as many city notables splashed into the water. Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services therapists and their two canine therapy dogs were also on hand.

1463 Splash volunteers

Volunteers who helped out on Splash Day at DeLand Lodge were David McCranie; ER-elect, Tony Buckner; Jim Shipman; Rachel Sieg, ER; Phil Watercutter, PDD; and Jody Emmons-Wyatt. Not pictured were Tom Hopp, Dan Dragonetti and Linda Witt.

1463 Splash therapy

Beth Thiers, therapist, and her therapy dog along with her husband joined DeLand Lodge’s Splash Day festivities.


DeLand Elks Take Part in City Easter Egg Hunt

1463 Hot dogs

The city of DeLand held their annual Kids’ Easter egg hunt at Spec Martin Stadium Friday evening, March 28. Each year DeLand Lodge donates their time and 300-400 hot dogs and drinks to feed the neighborhood children and their families. This year was no exception. The weather was perfect and the Easter Bunny handed out gift baskets to the kids who found an egg with a prize inside.

Children line up to receive their complimentary hot dog and drink from DeLand Elks ER-elect, Tony Buckner; PER Tom Hopp; and Secretary, Linda Witt.


DeLand Elks Participate in ME STRONG Run Again

1463 Run

The annual ME STRONG Linda’s Run for the Dream was a huge success with over 1,000 participants. The funds raised from the event went toward assisting community members battling cancer and to cancer research. This was the third year the DeLand Elks formed a team and participated in the run which was held Feb. 3.

DeLand Lodge participants included Paulette Hand, Davina Jones, Linda Witt (standing), Stephanie Negrete, Debi Dunn, Barbara Thompson, David Caskey and Anita Fritzer.


East Central District Hoop Shoot Winners Receive Trophies

1463 Hoop Shoot111

The East Central District Hoop Shoot was held Saturday, Jan. 13, at DeLand Middle School. The event began at 8:30 a.m. Phil Watercutter has run this event for the last 27 years. Afterward, all participants and their families were invited for a free lunch at DeLand Lodge where they received their trophies. There were participants representing all the lodges in the East Central District and the first-place winners from this competition moved on to the Central regional competition.


1463 Hoop dignitaries

There were many Elks dignitaries in the bleachers at the East Central District Hoop Shoot including Bob Swink, DDGER; Larry Skates, PDD; Tom Brand, PDD; Angelo Cretella, PDVP-EC; Vic McClellan, PSP; and Jeff Rumler, PER, Hoop Shoot State Chairman.


Lodge #1557 Honors First Responders

1557 Flag

The Past Exalted Rulers of Edgewater-New Smyrna Beach Elks Lodge #1557 hosted an appreciation luncheon in honor of the area’s first responders. Over 35 responders attended as did Edgewater mayor Mike Ignasiak and Chief David Arcieri. PDD Larry Skates presented a Thin Blue Line flag to the police department and a Thin Red Line flag to the fire department. These flags honor those men and women who bravely serve and for all first responders who have been injured or fallen.


Port Orange Lodge Raises Money for Breast Cancer Awareness

2723 Breast Cancer

Port Orange Elks Lodge #2723 held a fundraiser to support breast cancer awareness. A check for $1,700 was presented. Pictured are Chairman, Ann Hurst; Co-chairmen, Dee Peterson, Mickey Rauch and Elaine Kuczkowski; ER Dan Theodore; and Community Manager of the American Cancer Society for the Florida Division, Cheryl Sullivan.


It's Never Too Late to Join the Elks

2650 Initiation

Merritt Island Lodge’s initiation held Nov. 28 was extra notable because among the initiates was Sam Bovalino, a 101-year-old first-time Elk. Seated are Michael Fagan, Versiellen Driver, Samuel Bovalino, Barbara Bowman and Amantha Murphy. Standing are DDGER Robert Swink, ER Kermit Forbes, and VP Rod O’Connor.


Daytona Beach Elks Lodge Opens at New Location

1141 Lodge

After being inactive for several years, Daytona Beach Elks Lodge #1141 has reopened at their new location at 3674 W. International Speedway Blvd. The lodge purchased and refurbished the former Gene’s Steak House, a well-known fixture in the Daytona Beach area. The new lodge is open to members and guests. Lunch and dinner are served Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. with days and times subject to change. A full liquor bar is available. The lodge offers a meeting location for local clubs and a beautiful banquet facility for parties and special events for up to 150 people. For more information, please call the lodge at 386-872-6417 or email


Edgewater-NSB Elks Support Food Bank

1557 Gifts of Love

Gifts of Love, a community-sponsored food bank and local project of Edgewater-New Smyrna Beach Elks Lodge #1557, has received a $2,500 Gratitude Grant from the Elks National Foundation. ENF is supported by all the lodges of the United States. From the interest on these donations, ENF makes available $9.1 million in grants to local lodges for community investments, $4.3 million in scholarships, $1 million for the Hoop Shoot, $1.5 million for veterans programs and $750,000 for drug awareness projects. Gifts of Love, located at 820 W. Park Ave. in Edgewater, is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. -2 p.m. It feeds from 150-200 families per week. There are 13 loyal workers (eight of whom are Elks) who work many hours. While receiving donations from many local organizations, it is still difficult with the need ever increasing. Many thanks go to the Lodge Secretary, Mary Ann Bucci, and Esteemed Loyal Knight, Marci Skates, for their dedication to successfully obtaining the ENF Grant.

Marci Skates, Edgewater-New Smyrna Beach Elks ENF Grant Coordinator, center, is pictured with Gifts of Love Assistant Director, Gwen Schroeder, left, and Sammi Hartwell, Director, right.


Louisiana State Legislature Increases New Orleans Hotel Occupancy Tax

The Legislature of the State of Louisiana has acted to increase the New Orleans Hotel Occupancy Tax from 13% to 14.75% effective April 1, 2014. This will affect our convention room rates and they will go from $128.56 to $130.52 per night.

Convention Attendees With ADA Transportation Needs Urged To Contact Grand Lodge

In order for the Grand Lodge to support the transportation needs of attendees with disabilities you are urged to contact the Grand Lodge if you require special assistance. Special coaches capable of kneeling to accommodate wheel chairs will be placed along the routes for those in need. If you require assistance please contact Tina or Jessica at the Grand Lodge as follows:


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