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Florida Elks News Editor:
Rachael King
Entire contents copyright 2023 by the
Florida State Elks Association Inc.
P.O. Box 49
Umatilla, FL 32784-0049

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A charity poker run sponsored by Live Oak Elks Lodge #1165 Sept. 12 brought together Elks in the North District to raise over $900 in entry fees for the Nixon School Nurse Fund (a scholarship given by the lodge), Adopt a Veteran Fund and the Brotherhood Ride. The ride started at Live Oak Lodge with stops along the way in Lake City at Lake City Elks Lodge, The Keg Room, and American Legion Post #107 for a round trip of approximately 95 miles. Pictured are Chris Williams, PER, Lake City #893; Audie Towles, Perry #1851; John Dill, PDD, Live Oak #1165; Chuck Nicolson, Exalted Ruler, Lake City #893; Christopher Lynn, Perry #1851; Steve Rockford, Lake City #893; Susan Lynn, PDD, Perry #1851; Shelly Dill, spouse of John Dill; Cheryl Cowan, spouse of John Cowan; John Cowan, PER, Live Oak #1165; and Stanley Cox, PDD, Lake City #893. Also pictured are bikers at Lake City Lodge.


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Susan Lynn, North District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler, presided over Perry Lodge’s scholarship awards banquet held at the lodge June 24. At least 40 members including lodge officers and guests enjoyed a meal prior to the awards. Kevin Cruce, Exalted Ruler, made the scholarship presentations to high school seniors Jordan Pyke, Robert Glanton, Ansley English and Bradley LaValle. Each senior received a $500 scholarship.


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Perry Elks Lodge officers commemorated the observance of Flag Day June 14 in the large sanctuary of the Perry First Assembly of God. The event was open to the public. Performing officers were Richard Cruce, PDD, Leading Knight; Frank Hamby, Loyal Knight; Eric Hodge, Lecturing Knight; Clayton Huff, PER, Trustee; Kenny Carter; and Carol Cruce, PDD, Esquire. Flag bearers were RJ Willetts, Jenna Hodge, Chase Wallace and Seth Wallace. Huff presented the history of the nation’s flags and Hodge presented the response.


On the first weekend in March, Tallahassee Elks Lodge #937 once again was the food provider for a Civil War battle reenactment ceremony at Natural Bridge Battlefield Historical State Park. The menu included burgers, hot dogs, bratwurst and pulled pork sandwiches. This event provides community visibility for the lodge, and 25% of the proceeds from this fundraiser is shared with the Natural Bridge Historical Society (NBHS). NBHS is a nonprofit Citizen Support Organization established under the laws of Florida to preserve and promote the historical, cultural and recreational value of the Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park in cooperation with the Florida Park Service.


Perry Elks Lodge’s state Soccer Shoot winner in the under-16 category, Dominick Curfman, advanced to the southeastern state competition and won against the competitor from South Carolina. The lodge held a recognition dinner for him and his family Feb. 13.


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Tallahassee Lodge participated in the annual visit from Santa at Gretchen Everhart School Dec. 17. Santa (chaplain, Danny McElroy) brought 150 presents for the children provided by Good Shepard Catholic Church. He was assisted by Tallahassee elves Christy Ervin and Ron Brown, PDD.


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On Dec. 17, Perry Lodge gave an in-kind donation for the Special Olympics to hold their annual Christmas party. After enjoying a meal cooked and served by Elks volunteers, Santa came for a visit. There were over 100 in attendance.


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Perry Lodge hosted its 16th annual breakfast with Santa Dec. 7. It took three evenings to transform the banquet room into Candy Cane Lane and Santa’s workshop and only two hours to clear it out after the event was over. This year the event was dedicated to the memory of PDD Lee Bennett. The lodge served over 500 parents and children breakfast, entertained with a few impromptu songs, danced around the room, and sent each child home with a present that they helped build in Santa’s workshop. The community supported this event and Michael Lynn Inc., contractor; Padgett Tree Service; Advanced Refrigeration; Foley Spotting Services; Impact Collision; Ragans Ace Hardware; and Bassett’s Dairy were sponsors.

Volunteers and Taylor County Middle School students pose at Perry Lodge’s breakfast with Santa Dec. 7.


On Oct. 26, the Florida Forest Festival was held and Elroy the Elk (lodge member Paul Miller Jr.) was in the parade, much to the delight of the kids in attendance. The lodge was also pleased to host the return of the Mr. & Mrs. Tourist for the Florida Forest Festival. Mr. & Mrs. Tourist were picked from the visiting RV campers for the past year. They attended the downtown events Friday night, rode in the parade Saturday morning, received the key to the city from the mayor, and were honored guests at the Florida Forest Festival Elks ball.

Thanksgiving food baskets were prepared by Perry Lodge and distributed by Taylor County United. Seven baskets were loaded with nonperishable items and each basket included a $50 gift card for purchase of additional food. The lodge also sent six gifts to the Lake City VA Domiciliary for Thanksgiving and bought clothes and toys for 16 children in Taylor County.


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Perry Elks Lodge #1851 sponsored a Soccer Shoot Oct. 12 with eight kids from the community attending. First place winners and their parents traveled to Tavares, Fla., for the regional Soccer Shoot Dec. 14. All first place winners advanced to the state Soccer Shoot Jan. 4 at the Florida Elks Youth Camp in Umatilla, Fla. Pictured are the regional Soccer Shoot winners.


For the holiday season, Live Oak Elks Lodge #1165 partnered with the Suwannee County Economic Council to assemble Christmas baskets and chose families to receive those baskets, this year going to more elders and veterans. Lodge members donated nonperishable items.


Lake City Elks Lodge’s Hoop Shoot was held Dec. 17. Trey Hosford and Jay Swisher helped to ensure the event’s success and involved the community to show they care about youth.

On Dec. 21, Lake City Lodge delivered Christmas food baskets to help community families in need. Donations of food, both nonperishable and uncooked turkeys from members, help fund this event as well as proceeds from the lodge’s Christmas raffle tickets. A silent auction was also conducted in early December. Santa visited the lodge Dec. 24 and gave presents to all the kids from the community who attended.