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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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1892 ranch

On Jan. 10, Green Cove Springs Lodge donated $1,000 from the Past Exalted Rulers charity bingo fund to Seamark Ranch, a working farm in Green Cove Springs that provides schooling and counseling in a family home setting to children in the foster care system or in crisis situations. The ranch has provided support to more than 100 children since opening its doors to children in need.

Pictured at the check presentation are Ed Weston, PER chair; Paul Orvosh, PDD, Lodge Treasurer; Brittany McGraw, Seamark Ranch events manager; and Al Williams, Exalted Ruler.


1892 pantry

On Jan. 6, Green Cove Springs Elks Lodge #1892 donated $1,783 of its Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant to the Food Pantry of Green Cove Springs, which has been providing support to the community for more than 30 years.

Pictured at the check presentation are Tracy Carroll, PER, lodge grants coordinator; Theresa and Ken Heselschwerdt, food pantry volunteers; and Al Williams, Exalted Ruler.


1892 schools

Green Cove Springs Lodge members and volunteers delivered more than 450 gift bags Dec. 16 to the faculty and staff members at several local schools and the local library. The bags contained donated facial products that were donated to Florida Elks Charities.

Pictured at W.E. Cherry Elementary School are Joshua Hogmire, assistant principal; Ed Weston, PER; Joy Elrod, Lecturing Knight; Michelle Solomon, school secretary; Michelle Mister, teacher; Shannon Scott, school staff member; Al Williams, Exalted Ruler; and Lester Booker, school resource officer.


1892 santa

On Dec. 3, members and volunteers from Green Cove Springs Elks Lodge #1892 partnered with the city of Green Cove Springs for the annual Christmas on Walnut Street festival. Lodge members greeted families and provided gift bags, which included books, toys and candy canes, for 350 children. Lodge volunteers helped organize and pack the items Nov. 19; they were purchased by the lodge with matching grant funds from the Florida State Elks Association. The lodge also distributed more than 400 gift bags containing facial products, obtained by Florida Elks Charities, to the parents and grandparents attending the event with their children.

Pictured are lodge volunteers awaiting the arrival of Santa and the children.


990 one crop

On Nov. 16, Gainesville Elks Lodge #990 used its Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant to donate turkeys and gift cards to One More Child for Thanksgiving dinners for 33 families with foster children. One More Child is a nonprofit organization that assists children and families in need with programs for foster care, anti-trafficking, child hunger, single mothers and family support. Pictured are Louis Mallory, Exalted Ruler; Dina Atalig, lodge Beacon Grant administrator; Glen Gardner, PDD, lodge grants coordinator; and Demetri Semper and Lois Lembke from One More Child.


1892 bingo 1 1892 bingo 2

On Sept. 20, Green Cove Springs Elks Lodge #1892 Past Exalted Rulers hosted a special bingo night in support of K9s For Warriors, an organization that trains and provides service dogs for military veterans. Thanks to the generosity of the volunteers, players and the Past Exalted Rulers Association, a donation of $4,000 was presented to Stephanie Vogt, K9s For Warriors representative, pictured in the center along with some lodge members and players as well as non-member players. 


                        fash 1 fash 2

fash 3

On Sept. 11, the Florida Ladies of Elks Eland chapter of St. Augustine Elks Lodge #829, in conjunction with Green Cove Springs Elks Lodge #1892, held a fashion show and luncheon in support of Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services and the Florida Elks Youth Camp. Lodge members modeled the fashions and helped prepare the luncheon. Linda Rittenhouse, PSP-FLOE and Judy Reyes, PSP-FLOE planned the event, which raised $778.

Pictured are Nancy Klopfenstein, member; Patsy Weston, House Committee member; Judy Reyes, PSP-FLOE; Tiffany Rupp, fashion show consultant; Shirley Orvosh, volunteer; and Barbara Thompson, Leading Knight. Also pictured are Thresa Hurley, volunteer; Lynn Elrod, Loyal Knight; Pat Buerhaus, kitchen manager; Bonnie Conti, Inner Guard; and Jeff Phillips, member, preparing lunch, along with guests enjoying lunch before the show.


221 supplies

Jacksonville Elks Lodge members donated approximately $300 in school supplies for Hogan Spring-Glen Elementary School.

Member Sarah Schllesinger, pictured in the center in blue, led the collection during the Christmas-in-July event July 30. She is pictured with other lodge members.


     829NE StAug HomeAgain 829NE StAug EmergencySevices

The St. Augustine Elks Lodge #829 Community Outreach Committee presented funds from the Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant to two deserving charities. Home Again St. Johns, which provides temporary housing, training and additional resources to those experience homelessness, received a check for $1,750, plus an additional $1,100 in lodge donations. Pictured March 16 are lodge members Kevin Walsh, Liz Bastedo, Rich Bastedo, Cathy Walsh, Rachel Fulghum (case manager) and Randy Cook, PER. Emergency Services and Homeless Coalition, which provides support to families experiencing homelessness, received a check for $1,750. Pictured March 29 are Debi Redding, director, and Kevin Walsh, trustee chair.


1892 david 1892 chief 1892 vols

On May 19, Green Cove Springs Elks Lodge #1892 hosted a  sixth grade graduation luncheon for the students at  Charles E. Bennett Elementary School This annual event is held to celebrate the students' accomplishments and wish them success as they move to middle school. The lodge was decorated in the school colors. In attendance to speak to the students and assist with the luncheon were Mary Bolla, school board chair and lodge member; John Guzman, local police chief; and Steve Kelley, city council member. Eighty students, 10 school faculty and staff members, and 20 volunteers were in attendance as well. Sixth grader David Robinson was presented with the Student of the Year award. Rick Kunze, PER attended a later event at the school to present an award to sixth grader Paisleigh Blankenship, who was unable to attend the luncheon at the lodge. Pictured are David Robinson and his parent as he is presented the Student of the Year award by Rick Kunze, PER; Al Williams, Exalted Ruler; Gene Rittenhouse, PDD; Chief Guzman; and Councilman Kelley. Also pictured are Chief Guzman addressing the students and the lodge volunteers.


NE Gainesville Noah

On March 9, Susan Senterfitt, Exalted Ruler of Gainesville Elks Lodge #990, presented a $500 check to Mackenzie Shaw, a Legacy Scholarship recipient attending the University of Florida. The donation, from the Exalted Ruler’s stipend, will support Noah’s Endeavor, a nonprofit which provides activities such as bowling and field days for those with special needs. Through her course and volunteer work at UF, Shaw and others have partnered with Noah's Endeavor to secure sponsors and donations.


990 proc

On May 5, Gainesville Elks Lodge #990 was presented with the Elks National Youth Week proclamation by the City of Gainesville City Commission.

Pictured are BJ Sullivan, chaplain; Louis Mallory, Exalted Ruler; Becky Spence, PER; and Bonnie Mott, trustee.