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Florida Elks News Online

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District Reporter: Richard E. Bardsley, PDD

Winter Garden Ladies Auxiliary Hosts Breakfast with Easter Bunny

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The Winter Garden Ladies Auxiliary held a breakfast with the Easter Bunny. More than 30 children participated in this event.


Inverness Lodge Supports and Volunteers with Hunger-Relief Program

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Inverness Lodge used its $2,500 Elks National Foundation Promise Grant to support Citrus County Blessings, a hunger-relief program that provides food during the summer months to impoverished children and participates in local food recovery efforts. They have been battling food insecurity since 1999. The "Feed the Kids" program will provide fresh produce weekly to struggling families throughout the summer school vacation. The Elks will also provide volunteers for unloading, processing, packaging and delivering the produce to distribution sites throughout the county.

Inverness Lodge Exalted Ruler, Richard Grosnick, presents their Promise Grant to Connie Storm, executive director of Citrus County Blessing.


Inverness Lodge Awards Three Scholarships to Local Students

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Citrus High School held its senior awards ceremony May 9, and Keith Posta, Inverness Lodge Scholarship Chairman, presented Emmalee Nadler, Kaycee Nichols and Jamie Stephen each with a $500 scholarship. Pictured with Posta and the scholarship recipients is Exalted Ruler, Richard Grosnick.


Scouts Receive Eagle Award with Participation from Eustis Lodge

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On May 19, three scouts from Mt. Dora Troop 21 accepted their Eagle Scout awards from scoutmaster, Tim Furry. The troop has been chartered by Eustis Elks Lodge #1578 for about three years. PER Patsy Despain presented each scout with the Elks and scouting pins and the Elks scouting certificate signed by Grand Exalted Ruler, Michael T. Luhr. Boy Scouts of America’s Bill Hayes, Lake District Eagle Scout Board of Review Chairman, gave each scout an Eagle scarf. Boy Scouts Advisory Council member Wes Estey also participated in the program.

Pictured at the Eagle Scout award presentation May 19 are scoutmaster, Tim Furry; Eustis Lodge PER, Patsy Despain; Eagle Scouts Simon Furry, Aiden Furry, and Jackson Blythe; and assistant scoutmaster, Robert Blythe.


Inverness Lodge Raises Funds for Chorus to Attend Music Festival

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On May 6, Inverness Elks Lodge #2522 hosted the Citrus High Chorus in a fundraiser concert. The chorus was selected to represent Florida in Hawaii in June at an American Music Festival commemorating the 75th anniversary of World War II. Donations were collected at the door with all proceeds going to the chorus to help cover the cost of travel to the festival. The fundraiser collected $300 in donations and the lodge presented an additional $500.


Eustis Anna Miller Circle and Lodge Members Pack Kits for The Haven

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Nine Eustis Anna Miller Circle members and four Eustis Lodge Elks met March 29 to pack a $4,397 donation for The Haven of Lake and Sumter Counties. The donation included 277 adult welcome kits and 118 children's welcome kits. The Haven, a shelter for abused women and their children as well as teens and rape survivors, provides a welcome kit of toiletries to each new client when they arrive at the shelter. The children's kits also contain hand sanitizer, a small toy and lip balm. In addition to the kits, this packing also included 69 items for school children, 17 birthday cake packets for children who find themselves in safe housing on their birthday, and 169 full-size toiletries.


Winter Park Lodge Supports State Major Projects

Winter Park Elks Lodge #1830 is sponsoring 10 camperships at $180 each for children to attend a summer session at the Florida Elks Youth Camp. The lodge also purchased two tables at the Florida State Elks Association Harry-Anna Trust Unmasking Autism Gala of Hope at $2,500 each and was a gold sponsor for the softball tournament.


Eustis Lodge Grants Scholarship to Local LPN Student

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Patsy Despain, Eustis Lodge Exalted Ruler, presents a $500 scholarship to Bionca Young for her LPN certification earned at Lake Tech State College. Pictured with them are Bill Stomp of the Eustis Lodge scholarship committee and Kimberly Frazier, Dean of Student Services at Lake Tech.


Winter Garden Lodge holds Fundraiser for Wounded Police Officer

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On March 2, Winter Garden Elks Lodge #2165 held a fundraiser at the lodge for Orlando, Fla., police officer Kevin Valencia. He was shot in the line of duty June 18, 2018, while responding to a domestic violence call in which the suspect killed four children and then himself. Valencia had been at Good Shephard Hospital in Atlanta for treatment for his head injuries but was recently brought back home to Orlando to an undisclosed facility so he could be closer to his family. His recovery does not have a very promising future. He has a wife and two young children. The lodge fundraiser included barbecue dinners, raffles, and private donations and raised $21,000 for his family to help with the ongoing costs that they will have for a very long time.


Inverness Lodge Honors State Drug Awareness Essay Contest Winner

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Inverness Elks Lodge #2522 held their award presentation March 1 for Ava Rueck, winner of the state Drug Awareness essay contest. Ava is a sixth-grader at Lecanto Middle School. She and her family were invited to the lodge for dinner and the award presentation of a Kindle Fire, a framed certificate and a $50 check.

Pictured at the presentation at Inverness Lodge March 1 for the state Drug Awareness essay contest winner are George Sevast Jr., North Central District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler; Jim Manos, Inverness Lodge Drug Awareness Chairman; Ava Rueck, essay winner; and Bill McAvay, Exalted Ruler.


Eustis Lodge Makes Donation to Lake Hills School for Pacer Gait Trainer

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On Feb. 11, Eustis Elks Lodge #1578 donated $2,883 for Lake Hills School of Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla., to purchase a pacer gait trainer which assists in training children who are wheelchair-bound to use their legs with the possible outcome of walking. Pictured at the check presentation are Patsy Despain, Exalted Ruler; Robin Meyers, principal; Brandy Brown, school PTA; Dee and Bo Borwegen, lodge members; and a Lake Hills student.


Inverness Lodge Makes Annual Donation to C.U.B.

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Inverness Elks Lodge #2522 presented their annual $1,000 donation to Citrus United Basket Inc. (C.U.B.). Pictured are Mike Orndorf, Loyal Knight; Juanita Emerick, lodge trustee; Kelly Selph, Citrus United Basket Executive Director; and Richard Grosnick, Leading Knight. C.U.B. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization created in 1978 to assist Citrus County families facing temporary hardship.


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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