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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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2165 church

When several members of Winter Garden Elks Lodge #2165 attended church at Starke Lake Baptist Church in Ocoee, Florida, they noticed the church’s deteriorating flagpole that needed to be replaced and have a light kit added. Wally Hatch, PER; Ronnie Bradshaw, Byrd Severance, PER, District Vice President; Mark Wallick, PER; Scott Moore and Rusty Johnson used their own money to purchase the flagpole and light kit for approximately $800. In the early morning on July 29, they installed it without the church pastor knowing. Carolyn Robbins, Exalted Ruler, said the pastor “was amazed, he talked about the flag pole every Sunday after they installed it. How proud he was to have members that cared so deeply about their Country and the Church. He is always talking about the Elks, he visits us on our steak night in Winter Garden 2165. The pastor tells the church members what a great group and how we are always ready to help. He talks about our great partnership with the community and how we have reached out to members in his church when in need. He has told me himself the Elks have great members and what great teamwork we have.”

Pictured in front of the church is the new flagpole lit up by the light kit.


2522 scout

On May 8, the Inverness Elks Lodge bingo committee presented a $500 check to Inverness Boy Scout Troop 302. The troop is using the donation for transportation to summer scout camp. The troop is involved with helping the community whenever they receive a request and is very active in helping the lodge with functions and care of the facilities.

Bingo committee members pictured are Tom Richards, Jack Trafalski, John Colasanti and Tim Hughes; Steve Epple, scoutmaster; and Carl Gutekunst bingo committee member. Not pictured are John Miller, Jim Bell and Jim Lawler.


                1578 hav 1 1578 hav 2

1578 hav 3

On April 25, members of the Eustis Anna Miller Circle 1578 met to pack items for The Haven of Lake and Sumter Counties, valued at $3,198.90. The donation included 100 children's welcome kits and 100 women’s welcome kits, containing travel-size health care items for their immediate needs, as well as birthday cake and frosting kits so children can have a birthday cake baked by their mom on their birthday. This was all valued at $2,050. Also included was $572.90 worth of full-size items, such as deodorant, toothpaste, aspirin, dental floss, hand soap, hand sanitizer, family packages of toothbrushes, toilet paper and many wellness items to stock the safe house and The Haven's ongoing programs to support women who have been abused and their children. Additionally, they donated $576 worth of items needed to assist rape survivors immediately following their assault exam. At The Haven's request, the assault support items include sweatpants, T-shirts, flip-flops, new underwear, water, Gatorade, snack packages, small soaps, lotion  and other items to replace the clothes they must give up following the nurse’s exam.

Pictured are Beverly Dufresne, Anna Miller Circle President; Guelda Danesky, The Haven Project team member; Mary Ann Cerney, The Haven Project coordinator; Jean Witt, The Haven Project team member; Jennifer Ross, visiting volunteer; Judy Eaton, Anna Miller member; and Butch Danesky, lodge member.

Pictured packing the kits are Mary Ann Cerney; Judy Eaton; Jean Witt, Guelda Danesky and Butch Danesky.

Also shown are some of the assault support items.


1578 drug 2 1578 drug 1 1578 drug 3

On April 8, Eustis Elks Lodge #1578 held its annual Easter party for members’ children and the families of Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services. Approximately 50 children attended, including 26 therapy patients. More than 100 children and their parents and grandparents enjoyed a catered lunch provided by Eustis Elks. Jane Russo, FECTS physical therapist, was also in attendance. Outside in the lodge’s front yard, more than 500 plastic eggs filled with money were placed for the youth in three age groups to find and keep the change inside. Afterward, the Easter Bunny (Mike Schwellinger, Esquire) arrived. Easter baskets filled with toys and more were given to the children. There was face painting and a person making balloon animals. The lodge spent $2,100 on the party.

Pictured are children playing the Drug Awareness basketball game and showing off their Eustis Elks Drug Awareness T-shirts, provided by the lodge Drug Awareness Committee, at a cost of $300.


                      1578 auction2 1578 auction

The Eustis Anna Miller Circle held its annual auction fundraiser from March 19 to March 26. Funds raised totaled $1,919 and will be used to send local children in need to the Florida Elks Youth Camp for summer camp and will also be used for other worthy causes. Donations were accepted starting one month before the auction. New items or very gently used items, antique items and gift certificates were solicited from members, friends and the community. Cindy Bennett, chair, and her committee, Joyce Denzer and Chris Getchell, prepared themed gift baskets with the donated items. The auction had 35 gift baskets, 25 single items and two gift cards. More than 100 volunteer hours were worked by the Circle members. The lodge allowed them to sell tickets at every event held at the lodge that week.

Pictured are items on display. Beverly Dufresne, Anna Miller President; Cindy Bennett, event chairperson; and Maryann Cerney, Anna Miller member, are pictured drawing the winners.


                   1578 stove 1578 bunk

When the Eustis Anna Miller Circle became aware that Haven of Lake and Sumter Counties was in need of two new stoves and a replacement bunk bed for one that had broken at their safe house, the membership voted to pay for these items and to provide funds for bus passes to aid in clients’ transportation issues. The total donation was $3,025 and the donations were delivered March 25. 

Pictured March 27 with the donated items, which were put to immediate use, are Maryann Cerney, chair of the Circle’s Haven Project; Guelda Danesky, Circle Haven committee member; and Reena Wheeler, Haven donation coordinator.


1578 cakettr

On Feb. 11, the Anna Miller Circle of Eustis Elks Lodge #1578 held its annual cake auction to raise funds for the Harry-Anna Trust Fund to benefit Florida Elks Children's Therapy Services and the Florida Elks Youth Camp. More than 45 cakes, pies and other beautiful desserts were displayed for auction. Ron Locke, PDD, Exalted Ruler, was the auctioneer while Beverly Dufresne, Anna Miller board member, displayed the cakes and collected the donations. With the money raised from the auction and the willingness of Locke and Colleen Gallant, PDD, Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services Director, to take a whipped cream pie to the face for donations, a total of $3,025 was raised. 

Pictured are the dessert table and attendees.


                      1578 chair 1 1578 chair 2

Using its $3,000 Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant and $122 from the lodge charity account, Eustis Elks Lodge #1578 provided Rifton Compass Chairs and accessories to students with special needs at Lake Hills School in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida. This school serves a 100% disabled population in Lake County, Florida. The chairs increase the posture and safety of both the students and the staff who assist them to and from their mobility chairs. Pictured Feb. 14 are Dee Borwegen, lodge trustee; Robin Myers, principal; and Bo Borwegen, PER, lodge trustee.


 1578 santa

On Dec. 10 Eustis Lodge held its annual children’s Christmas party for Elks children and grandchildren as well as for Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services patients and underprivileged local children. There were nearly 100 children in attendance. Santa and Mrs. Claus (members Glen and Daisy Waterman) and their elf (member Darla Orr) were there and Santa gave gifts to all the children. There were games and crafts, too. The Drug Awareness Committee gave out Elks Drug Awareness coloring books, lodge Drug Awareness pencils and crayons, all in Elks Drug Awareness bags. Lunch was provided to everyone. The party was funded by the lodge charity account.

Pictured are three children visiting with Santa and Mrs. Claus.


1578 tri

Eustis Lodge Anna Miller Circle members packed 25 Thanksgiving gift bags Nov. 17 for Triangle Elementary students and their families. Bags included everything necessary for a full Thanksgiving dinner except the turkey. The group provided $25 gift cards so families could select the meat of their choice. Triangle Elementary selects the families who receive the meals. Items for the bags were contributed by Anna Miller Circle members and lodge members throughout November. Donations were valued at over $2,000.

Pictured Nov. 18 at the school delivery are Officer Jean; Chris Getchell, Anna Miller Circle President; students Liam, Steve and Colton; and Tiffany Dickson, school mental health liaison.


1578 hav

On Nov. 14, three Eustis Lodge Anna Miller Circle members and one lodge member met at the lodge to pack welcome kits for residents of The Haven of Lake and Sumter Counties, a shelter for rape and domestic assault survivors and their children. The welcome kits are one-quart bags containing soap, shampoo, a toothbrush, toothpaste, moisturizer, mouthwash and other travel-size items for adults. The children's welcome kits contain the same items as well as a small toy, lip balm and hand sanitizer. They packed 100 adult kits and 100 children’s kits. Also included were puzzles, toys, handmade blankets, birthday kits and 59 full-size toiletries. At the Haven's request, they also provided 14 sweatpants, 17 T-shirts, 12 pairs of flip-flops, nine sports bras, 20 pairs of underwear, one sweatshirt, six pairs of socks, 75 small soaps, 75 lotions, three cases of water, three cases of Gatorade and three boxes of crackers. All of the above items were given to the three nurses who care for rape survivors who must give up the clothes they are wearing during the exam. This donation was valued at $449.58. The total value of everything was $2,784.58.

Pictured are Ralph Cerney, lodge member; Mary Ann Cerney, chair of The Haven project; and Judy Eaton. Not pictured is Suzanne Cunningham.


                     1578 fash 1578 elvi

On Oct. 8, the Eustis Anna Miller Circle #1578 hosted its charity fashion show, featuring outfits from local boutique Fashion Labels. Each model showed three outfits. For lunch, each Anna Miller member was asked to bring their favorite salad. The event had 100 guests and eight models and helpers, with salads to spare! Proceeds of more than $1,300 will go to Florida Elks Children's Therapy Services, the Florida Elks Youth Camp and other charities that serve women and children in need. Elvis impersonator and Elk member Tom McCarroll made an appearance at the event as well.

Pictured are models Doris Stemmer, Sylvia Laramee, Anita Ring (guest from Summerset Assisted Living Center), Beverly Dufresne, Anna Boykin, Kathy Mitchell, Vicki Mercadante and Kristina Cline, along with Elvis (Tom McCarroll).