On Nov. 16, Eustis Lodge volunteers smoked, wrapped and prepared 181 turkeys for delivery to nine schools for families in need.
Students from Lecanto Middle School placed in the Inverness Lodge-sponsored drug awareness essay contest. Pictured are Lodge Drug Awareness Chairman, Jim Manos; Principal of Lecanto Middle School, Inge Frederick; first-place winner, Cassidy Struble; third-place winner, Ava Rueck; and SRD Deputy, Joseph Gentile. Not pictured is second-place winner, Christian Halle.
Eustis Elks Lodge #1578 distributed drug awareness materials to about 1,500 students at Treadway and Triangle elementary schools as part of their Red Ribbon Week program. Elks Norm Hull and his wife, Bobbie, participated in the Treadway Halloween Trunk or Treat activities handing out additional drug awareness materials in drug awareness plastic bags including coloring books and candy. Each child received a sticker to wear as well.
The Citrus Youth Educational Symphonic Orchestra (CYESO) is a program dedicated to teaching classical and symphonic music to children ages 5 to 19 in Citrus County and surrounding communities. Its focus is learning music for the development of intellect and character in children.
Inverness Elks Lodge’s Community Activities committee has chosen CYESO as its major project. The program has pledged to raise $4,000 by April 2019, and the lodge is very proud to have presented $1,500 toward that goal as of Nov. 2. Herb Yates, Community Activities chairman, is also the lodge disc jockey and donates his tips to the project. All CYESO donors receive a lapel button created by the lodge.
Inverness Lodge Community Activities chairman, Herb Yates, right, presents $500 to Executive Director of CYESO, Marty Hoffman, at the lodge.
Ocala Elks Lodge Exalted Ruler, Mike Miller; Esquire, CJ Duplechin; and PER Brian Seybert served a meal to community members who are homeless at the September meal at Interfaith. Interfaith is a local organization that helps low-income and homeless people. The lodge serves a meal there every other month, and in the months in between, they provide bags of toiletries for them to pass out.
Ocala Lodge’s PER Brian Seybert and Exalted Ruler, Mike Miller, are pictured with CJ Duplechin’s children, Byron and Amelia, as they serve a meal to community members who are homeless at Interfaith’s September meal.
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 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 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 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 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 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.
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.