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Florida Elks News Online

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District Reporter: Richard E. Bardsley, PDD

School Supplies Delivered to Local Schools by Winter Park Elks

PER Vivian Thomas, Charlie Thomas, PER Ron Goluba, Fran Hendricks and Jim Esposito shopped for hours purchasing back-to-school supplies. The supplies were delivered to Casselberry, East Brook, Winter Springs and English Estates Elementary schools. Funding for the supplies was possible through a $2,000 Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant.


Winter Park Lodge Holds FECTS Fundraiser

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Winter Park Lodge held a fundraiser for Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services. Jane Russo, FECTS physical therapist, and Diane Norton, FECTS occupational therapist, are two of the 28 therapists who provide in-home therapy to over 500 Florida children each week. Russo shared her wonderfully moving success story of a young child she has been working with. This truly reminded everyone in attendance of the importance for all Florida Elks to continue to financially support the Harry-Anna Trust Fund.

Pictured are PER Vivian Thomas, fundraiser chairman; therapist Diane Norton; Ellie Dier, Branden’s mother; therapist Jane Russo; PDD Colleen Gallant, Therapy Services Director; Steve Dier, Branden’s father; and Branden Dier, a recipient of FECTS therapy.


Winter Park Elks Provide Dictionaries to Local Third-graders

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Winter Park Lodge’s dictionary chairman, PER Ron Goluba; member Sue Jovi and volunteers distributed over 2,700 dictionaries to third-graders at 21 elementary schools in Seminole and Orange counties. Lodge Elks and Does turned out to help put bookmarks and drug-free red ribbons in each dictionary. The Dictionary Project was founded in 1995 and the Elks joined this movement in 2004. The Elks nationwide have donated more than 1.2 million dictionaries to third-grade students. The lodge has received hundreds of handmade cards from the children and are posted on the hallway bulletin board.


Ocala Elks Support Law Enforcement Officers

Ocala Elks Lodge #286 hosted a Marion County Sheriff’s appreciation night. Sheriff Billy Woods and Exalted Ruler, Mike Miller, honored two deputies for outstanding community service. Off-duty K-9 Deputy Jeremie Nix was flagged down by the mother of an unresponsive three-month-old baby. He performed several lifesaving measures and then rushed him to the hospital, and the baby, Kingston, made a full recovery. Corp. Jim Long responded to and took control of the school shooting at Forest High after a student brought a sawed-off shotgun in a guitar case. Thankfully, there was only one student injured.

Recently, Deputy Ryan Owens was involved in a serious accident after a truck crossed the center line and hit his patrol car head on. After several surgeries, he faces many months of rehab before he can return to duty. Ocala Exalted Ruler, Mike Miller, encouraged members to donate money to help Deputy Owens, and in one night, the lodge raised $2,500.


Inverness Elks Use Anniversary Grant to Help Supplies 4 Success

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Inverness Lodge used their Elks National Foundation Anniversary Grant to help fund a new project for the Citrus County Education Foundation, Supplies 4 Success. This program is designed to provide a central location for county teachers to pick up school and special project supplies for their students. The $1,500 grant was presented to the CCEF at their new facility located at the Withlacoochee Technical College in Inverness.

Pictured are Anthony Kopka, Inverness Lodge board chairman; Paula Pombier, lodge grant coordinator; Richard Grosnick, Leading Knight; Shaunda Burdett, CCEF Executive Director; and Susan Franmpton, CCEF Associate Director.


Eustis Lodge and Anna Miller Ladies Support Community

Eustis Lodge hosted a breakfast the Saturday before school started to honor 40 teachers and principals from nine area elementary schools. The lodge used the Anniversary Grant to provide 750 lbs. of school supplies to the schools. Lake County Sheriff, Peyton Grinnell, was the keynote speaker. Mark Cunningham made their drug awareness table available, and Trustee Ron Locke and Exalted Ruler, Patsy Despain, made presentations to the group. The lodge also cooks dinner to feed the Eustis High School junior varsity football team and their coaches before each game.

The Eustis Anna Miller Ladies donated $2,000 to Florida Elks Children's Therapy Services and donated $500 in school supplies to a local school.


Eustis Elks Donate to Tri-City Ballers

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On Aug. 4, Eustis Lodge Exalted Ruler, Patsy Despain, presented the Tri-City Ballers with a check for $1,500. Leader/Coach Walt Canady accepted the check and in turn gave the lodge a beautiful thank-you trophy.

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Eustis Anna Miller and Elks Pack Donations for The Haven

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Ten Eustis Anna Miller members and seven Eustis Elks met Sunday, Sept. 23, to pack $5,619-worth of donations for The Haven of Lake and Sumter Counties. This included 332 welcome kits of travel-sized toiletries, 10 birthday cake kits, a child's bike, children's books, toys, children’s and adult clothes, and many more items. This trip filled three SUVs. This collection put their combined contributions to The Haven at over $66,000.  

Domestic violence is a serious problem.  It affects millions of people and their children every year. The Haven of Lake and Sumter Counties has served 3,070 survivors/children in 2017-2018 via shelter and hotline services. The Eustis Anna Miller members are honored to continue to be of service to them.


Inverness Elks Donate Life Vests for YMCA Water-Safety Expo

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Inverness Lodge’s simple project to fund swimming lessons and donate water-safety equipment to their local YMCA transformed into a half-day water-safety expo. In unison with other organizations, the lodge provided 120 Coast Guard-approved life vests and water-safety advice. In addition, the lodge gave the opening address and manned an Elk information booth which featured the Dragon Boat Festival.

A YMCA staff member fits a child with a life vest donated by Inverness Elks Lodge.


Inverness Elks Provide Backpacks to Foster Children and Area Schools

Inverness Lodge provided 85 backpacks loaded with school supplies to foster children served by the Citrus County Foster Parent Association and 75 backpacks to 14 area schools. The program is funded by the Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant.

2522 CCFPAPictured are Elk Jan Belland, project co-chairman; Elba Jiminez, Citrus County Foster Parent Association board member; volunteer Skye Worrell; Lynn Kanawall, CCFPA advisor; Richard Grosnick, ENF lodge chairman; and Elk Judy Horton, lodge trustee, at the donation presentation of 85 school-supply filled backpacks for the foster children.

2522 Dunnellon Dunnellon Middle School principal, Delbert Smallridge, left, accepts a donation of backpacks from Inverness Lodge presented by Exalted Ruler, Bill Mc Avay and his wife, Fern. Smallridge was very grateful; the need in Marion County is almost desperate as 30% of the children there live well below the poverty line.

2522 Forest Ridge w Guidance deptJan Belland and Richard Grosnick, second and third from left, present backpacks to Inverness Middle School’s social workers staff Christi Wilson and Diane Buie. Eighth-grader Cassidy Bacon is pictured at left.


Inverness Elks Support Organization that Finds Missing Persons

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Inverness Elks Lodge #2522 donated $500 to Find-M’ Friends, a local nonprofit organization pursuing ways to find every person who is missing. The lodge donation will be used to assemble 250 scent kits to help make children and elderly safer. The organization trains bloodhounds to track a scent using the kits.

Pictured are Inverness Lodge Secretary, Mike Pombier; Find-M’ Friends volunteer, Ron Kornatowski; and Lodge Treasurer, Randy Rouch.


Ocala Elks Celebrate National Police Week

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In honor of National Police Week, Ocala Elks Lodge #286 showed the community that Elks care and Elks share by providing lunch for Marion County Sheriff’s deputies as well as Ocala police officers. A group of volunteers delivered fried chicken, baked beans and potato salad to their respective headquarters.


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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