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Florida Elks News Online

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District Reporter: Courtney Weil, PER

Gibbs HS JROTC Assists St. Petersburg Lodge with Flag Day Ceremony

On Sunday, June 10, St. Petersburg Lodge held its 107th Flag Day service and was open to the public; all ages were encouraged to attend. The program was held with the direction of Exalted Ruler, Cathy Shriver, and the lodge officers. Gibbs High School JROTC, whose mission is to motivate young people to become better citizens, performed the presentation of colors. Boy Scout Troop #334 were the flag bearers during the reading of the history of flags by H. Tom Shriver, PDD.

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Gibbs High School JROTC members Uhlman, Redding, Stakee and Smith presented the colors during St. Petersburg Lodge’s Flag Day ceremony.

 

St. Petersburg Elks Celebrate Mother's Day and Father's Day

The annual St. Petersburg Lodge Mother’s Day ceremony was held May 13 and was a moving tribute to the roles that mothers play in our lives. Members present received one of two flowers, a red flower in honor of the mother who still lives or a white flower in honor of the mother who had passed. Five gift certificates were given away after the ceremony and games were played. A free lunch was provided to all mothers in attendance.

On Sunday, June 17, Exalted Ruler Cathy Shriver started a 20-minute remembrance service poolside honoring all fathers present, those who have passed, future fathers and those men who although are not fathers take us under their wing and guide us as fathers. Shriver spoke of the importance of honoring our fathers and reflecting on how they have shaped our lives. After the service, fathers received a free lunch.

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St. Petersburg Leading Knight, Dawn Elaine Lieber, read from the writings of Ragini during the Father’s Day celebration. Pictured on the left is Exalted Ruler, Cathy Shriver.

 

Scholarship Recipients Recognized at St. Petersburg Lodge

On May 8 before the opening of the St. Petersburg Lodge meeting, two scholarship winners were awarded $1,500 each and congratulatory cards. Their families were on hand for this occasion. The seniors receiving scholarships were Sophia Augyst-Laulette, age 18, a senior at Boca Ciega High School who will pursue a degree in nursing in the fall at State College of Florida, and Tyler Grohn, age 18, a senior at Osceola High School who will pursue a degree in marine biology at Florida International University. Scholarship Chairman Joan Vignoul, PLP, is a retired teacher and reviewed and evaluated the scholarship applications.

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St. Petersburg Lodge Scholarship Chairman, Joan Vignoul, PLP, and PER Bonnie Barnes presented scholarships to Sophia Augyst-Laulette and Tyler Grohn.

 

St. Petersburg Lodge Honors Eagle Scout

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Matthew Beal, son of Robert and Jennifer Beal of St. Petersburg, Fla., has achieved the Boy Scouts’ highest rank, Eagle Scout. His award was based on his accomplishments as a scout and his service to the community. Beal, 18, is a member of Boy Scout Troop 337 and has held numerous leadership positions including Quartermaster, Troop Guide, Senior Patrol Leader, Patrol Leader and Assistant Patrol Leader. For his journey to attain the rank of Eagle Scout, Beal earned 41 merit badges, served a minimum of 16 months in a leadership position, went camping for a minimum of 24 nights, attended a minimum of seven Scoutmaster conferences, and attained five boards of reviews as well as proposing, planning, and carrying out an Eagle project.

Beal received many congratulatory letters not only from the state of Florida but also letters from throughout the U.S. Those letters included congratulations from all U.S. military branches, Florida State Senator Bill Nelson, United States Submarine Veterans and Pinellas County Sheriff, Bob Gualtieri. Included in the audience and presenting awards were Pinellas Park Mayor, Sandra Bradbury; Edwin Dewitt from the Korean War Veterans Chapter 14; St. Petersburg Lodge Exalted Ruler, Cathy Shriver, who read and presented Beal with a congratulatory letter from Grand Exalted Ruler Malcolm J. McPherson Jr.; and West Central District Deputy, H. Tom Shriver, who read and presented Beal with a Grand Exalted Ruler certificate of merit and a pin.

Matthew Beal reached his goal of Eagle Scout in December 2017 and received his Eagle badge during a Court of Honor ceremony held at St. Petersburg Lodge April 28. Master of Ceremonies was Scout Master Jeff Mills.

 

St. Petersburg Elks Support YPFP

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On Saturday, March 31, young ladies members of the Pinellas Park Youth Park Fast Pitch (YPFP) softball league were the meal servers after St. Petersburg Lodge #1224 held its installation of the new 2018-2019 officers. The young ladies also assisted with the cleanup after the meal. A donation of $220 was presented to Coach Theresa Sims by newly installed Exalted Ruler, Cathy Shriver, for their fast and courteous service. Coach Sims was grateful for the donation and explained that the money will be used to pay umpire fees and to purchase equipment and softballs. The YPFP softball league had been dismantled in 2016 since the city seemed to be going in a different direction with what they wanted to do with the property. However, Coach Sims and others worked very hard for these young ladies to be able to participate once again in the team sport they love. St. Petersburg Lodge is happy to assist the Youth Park Fast Pitch softball league achieve their goal. Softball is a great sport for our community’s youth since it promotes sportsmanship, develops individual skills, encourages friendships, and provides leadership opportunities via a fun and positive athletic experience.

 

Club Chivalry News

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Carolyn Miller, Elma Kelly and Bert Newbill attended the last meeting of Club Chivalry for the school year April 9 and handled the refreshments and raffles. Elk Courtney Weil and her daughter Capriana Sanchez, and son, Taylor Taylor, attended as guest speakers. The meeting was very successful with the students in the club particularly relating to the younger Elks’ message about bullying and domestic violence. That awesome Elk family trio, often accompanied by daughter Christina, have been making the rounds of high schools and their speeches are impacting young lives across Tampa Bay.

On April 10, Club Chivalry had what may have been the best field trip yet. After making sure all the club attendees had breakfast, they loaded the bus at 8 a.m. and headed downtown to the Straz Center for Performing Arts. Billed as the 2018 Build Tampa Bay Event, this initiative is in its third year and getting bigger and better. More than 1,000 students from across Tampa Bay had the chance for one-on-one meetings with employers ready to hire the students directly from high school and offer them full four-year scholarships. The students would work full time and attend classes two nights a week. They would begin as laborers but in four years they would be journeymen or experts in their field. There were also some amazing motivational speakers. John Ratzenberger, the actor from Cheers, spoke about how he was a carpenter and had peace of mind because he could always fall back on that skill if his acting career fizzled out. Sally C. Harris, local school board member, spoke about how she was penniless when she started out in early education but she just kept learning and earning. One of the speakers pointed out all the teachers in the audience and told the students that in four years they could be earning more than their teacher. The teachers did not disagree.

Amazingly, the event sponsors paid for the club students’ lunch and the bus! That is a big savings for the club. The volunteer chaperones, Tommy Moore, Laura Jones and Antonio Cruz, were very impressed and hope to repeat this trip next year since it is a perfect fit for the club demographic.

Club Chivalry’s final club event of the 2017-2018 school year was participating in the Relay for Life of Tampa April 20. The relay is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and is held on the track at Robinson High School. It is a popular event for schools in south Tampa. Club sponsor and lodge member Kristina Chowning was the event lead and lodge member Rita Smith was team captain.

One of the stipulations of the Impact Grant is that grant money cannot be donated to the American Cancer Society so they used the funds to purchase items needed to participate. The club sold luminary bags for $10 each. Thanks to the help from Tampa Lodge, they surpassed their goal of $1,000 and raised $1,610, placing 23rd among the 96 participating clubs. They sold so many luminary bags that they had to change the normal procedure and place theirs across the track against the fence! The lodge also voted to become a signature sponsor, so they had signs around the track as people walked. All seniors at the school who participated and raised $150 for the American Cancer Society were awarded a purple honor cord to wear at graduation. Even though some signed up just days before the event, several lodge members donated on their behalf.

Patty Jankiewicz, Elma Kelly, Joe LoCicero, Christien Elkins, and Robert Bordonaro with his daughter and granddaughter all spent time helping with French fries and soda sales at their tent. Other event helpers included Tommy and Sue Moore, Bonnie Atwood, and Logan Matthews and his friend Darby. The students did the track walking since there is supposed to be somebody from each team on the track at all times. At night there was a very impressive remembrance walk; the luminaries were all lit, the stadium lights were turned off, the music was hushed and the word HOPE was displayed in giant letters on the bleachers. Day or night, there was plenty to see and do. Most of the 96 teams had fundraising going on such as food, drinks, games and crafts.

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Tampa Lodge’s Patricia Jankiewicz and Elma Kelly took charge of sales while Joe LoCicero cooked the fries for Club Chivalry’s participation in Relay for Life.

 

Two Seniors Receive Scholarships from St. Petersburg Lodge

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On May 8 before the opening of the St. Petersburg Lodge meeting, two scholarship winners were awarded $1,500 each and congratulatory cards. Their families were on hand for this occasion. The seniors receiving scholarships were Sophia Augyst-Laulette, age 18, a senior at Boca Ciega High School who will pursue a degree in nursing in the fall at State College of Florida, and Tyler Grohn, age 18, a senior at Osceola High School who will pursue a degree in marine biology at Florida International University. Scholarship Chairman Joan Vignoul, PLP, is a retired teacher and reviewed and evaluated the scholarship applications.

St. Petersburg Lodge Scholarship Chairman, Joan Vignoul, PLP, and PER Bonnie Barnes presented scholarships to Sophia Augyst-Laulette and Tyler Grohn.

 

Eagle Scout Receives Recognition at St. Petersburg Lodge

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Matthew Beal, son of Robert and Jennifer Beal of St. Petersburg, Fla., has achieved the Boy Scouts’ highest rank, Eagle Scout. His award was based on his accomplishments as a scout and his service to the community. Beal, 18, is a member of Boy Scout Troop 337 and has held numerous leadership positions including Quartermaster, Troop Guide, Senior Patrol Leader, Patrol Leader and Assistant Patrol Leader. For his journey to attain the rank of Eagle Scout, Beal earned 41 merit badges, served a minimum of 16 months in a leadership position, went camping for a minimum of 24 nights, attended a minimum of seven Scoutmaster conferences, and attained five boards of reviews as well as proposing, planning, and carrying out an Eagle project.

Beal received many congratulatory letters not only from the state of Florida but also letters from throughout the U.S. Those letters included congratulations from all U.S. military branches, Florida State Senator Bill Nelson, United States Submarine Veterans and Pinellas County Sheriff, Bob Gualtieri. Included in the audience and presenting awards were Pinellas Park Mayor, Sandra Bradbury; Edwin Dewitt from the Korean War Veterans Chapter 14; St. Petersburg Lodge Exalted Ruler, Cathy Shriver, who read and presented Beal with a congratulatory letter from Grand Exalted Ruler Malcolm J. McPherson Jr.; and West Central District Deputy, H. Tom Shriver, who read and presented Beal with a Grand Exalted Ruler certificate of merit and a pin.

Matthew Beal reached his goal of Eagle Scout in December 2017 and received his Eagle badge during a Court of Honor ceremony held at St. Petersburg Lodge April 28. Master of Ceremonies was Scout Master Jeff Mills.

 

St. Petersburg Elk Named a Florida Volunteer of the Month

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Congratulations to St. Petersburg Lodge member Theodore “Ted” Wagner. Each year, Florida recognizes April as Florida Volunteer Month. Volunteer Florida recognized 30 volunteers in 30 days throughout the month. On April 5, Ted Wagner’s volunteer work was highlighted. He has been volunteering in the Tampa Bay community for 20 years. In 2001 he founded the nonprofit MSM Inc. and has brought outstanding leadership, passion and awareness about the need of music therapy in the Tampa Bay area. Wagner volunteers 35 to 40 hours a week and has never accepted a salary.

Proving that good things do come in small packages, MSM is currently funding and providing music therapy programs at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital Outpatient Speech Language and Pathology Department in St. Petersburg, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa, the Shriners Hospital for Children in Tampa, the PARC Cottage in St. Petersburg, and patients’ homes and volunteering in other sectors of the Tampa Bay area.

 

St. Petersburg Elks Remember Forgotten Children at Easter

On Friday, March 30, St. Petersburg Elks Lodge #1224 visited A Kid’s Place of Tampa Bay Inc. located in Brandon. Lodge member Jan Gens; Tiler, Ann Marie Bongiorno; Leading Knight, Cathy Shriver; and Exalted Ruler, Bonnie Barnes, delivered 60 Easter baskets for the kids and also presented Kid’s Place team member Mary Douser with a $500 check to assist with their Easter celebration.

A Kid’s Place of Tampa Bay is located on five acres and has five 3,200-square-foot homes on an expansive tree-lined campus that provide a safe, home-like environment in a neighborhood setting. A Kid’s Place is a haven for abused, neglected or abandoned children. The children range from newborns to kids ready to age out of the foster care system at 18.

 

St. Petersburg Lodge Assists in Softball Team Reboot

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On Saturday, March 31, young ladies members of the Pinellas Park Youth Park Fast Pitch (YPFP) softball league were the meal servers after St. Petersburg Lodge #1224 held its installation of the new 2018-2019 officers. The young ladies also assisted with the cleanup after the meal. A donation of $220 was presented to Coach Theresa Sims by newly installed Exalted Ruler, Cathy Shriver, for their fast and courteous service.

Coach Sims was grateful for the donation and explained that the money will be used to pay umpire fees and to purchase equipment and softballs. The YPFP softball league had been dismantled in 2016 since the city seemed to be going in a different direction with what they wanted to do with the property. However, Coach Sims and others worked very hard for these young ladies to be able to participate once again in the team sport they love.

St. Petersburg Lodge is happy to assist the Youth Park Fast Pitch softball league achieve their goal. Softball is a great sport for our community’s youth since it promotes sportsmanship, develops individual skills, encourages friendships, and provides leadership opportunities via a fun and positive athletic experience.

Pictured are YPFP Coach Theresa Sims and ER Cathy Shriver along with the softball league players who were the meal servers and cleanup crew for the St. Petersburg Lodge installation.

 

Tarpon Springs Lodge Holds Safety Fair

A great time was had at the Tarpon Springs Elks Lodge Safety Fair. They had tables manned by the Tarpon Springs Fire Rescue, Tarpon Springs Police, Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 11-9, member Dr. DiDonato, and district member PER Tom Mortka as Elroy the Elk for drug awareness. There was also a table for school supplies. The lodge also had a duck pond, hula hoops, coloring books and a kids’ basketball toss. Healthy snacks were provided along with soft drinks, snow cones and hot dogs.

 

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:

TinaH@elks.org

JessicaR@elks.org

 

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