Fort Walton Elks Lodge #1795 presented a $1,500 Elks National Foundation Anniversary Grant to Emerald Coast Autism Center to help with much needed school supplies. Michelle Knowles; Tom Knowles, PER; Jamie Clemons, Lodge Secretary; Kevin Clemons, PDD; Lauren Cooper, ECAC Community Relations Coordinator; Colette Willey, Chaplain; and Paul Willey, Exalted Ruler, take part in the check presentation Oct. 18.
The 2018 Northwest District Past Exalted Ruler Golf Tournament was held Sept. 9 at Regatta Bay Golf and Country Club and was a great success. This district event had 21 teams from all seven district lodges and their local communities and raised over $6,098. In addition, local community leaders, businesses, the PER Association, district lodges and individual Elks provided 26 hole sponsorships that raised $4,600 for a total of $10,698. Tournament staff included Ann Moore (District VP), Scott Turner, Caroleen Swanson, Gary Pelham, Patti McAndrew, Tammy Kuhn, PER Kim Sayer, Jerri Jones, Marilyn Roach, Kim Cauley, Linda Turner, Debra Wolfenden, Paul Palmer, David Cagle and Jim Wright.
The annual Northwest District Kids on the Water event was held at Fort Walton Beach Elks Lodge #1795 for the fifth consecutive year. Pensacola Beach, Destin, Crestview, Warrington and Twin Cities lodges participated as well. Members Danny and Karen Bilger donated the pontoon boats that toured Choctawhatchee Bay. Entertainment was provided by Reid Soria and Captain Davy the Pirate. Face painting, rock art, gifts for all and food made for an enjoyable day. There were 64 volunteers, 169 guests and 86 military guests for a total of 319 participants.
On Sept. 21, Destin Elks Lodge distributed 334 dictionaries to Destin Elementary using funds from a Gratitude Grant from Elks National Foundation.
Warrington Elks Lodge #2108 held another Tools for Teachers event July 10 at the lodge for teachers to come and select school supplies needed for their classrooms. The lodge members had been amazed by the willingness of teachers to reach into their own pockets to purchase additional supplies for their students and wanted to help. Grant Chairman, Linda Erickson, submitted a request for and received a $2,000 Gratitude Grant from the Elks National Foundation. The membership also approved spending an additional $2,000 from the charity account to support the project. Becky Stokes led the effort as chairman and filled her house with all the supplies she was able to purchase. Stokes’ helpers were Rick Wright, Exalted Ruler; Dot Penton, Leading Knight; Pat Prendergast, Loyal Knight; Ann Lewis; Dave Pierce, Trustee; Paul Palmer, PDD; Toni Palmer, PER; and Barbara Steward, Treasurer.
Teachers from kindergarten through fifth grade at Navy Point, Myrtle Grove, Montclair and Bellview schools attended. The four schools were given a certain amount of supplies to split between all the teachers, and then they went to the tables and picked up what they needed for their particular grades. A wide variety of items were available including pencils and bookbags to snacks and basketballs. The teachers truly appreciated everything, and it was a rewarding experience for the lodge knowing they were able to help their community.
Members of Destin Elks Lodge #2688 donated supplies to Destin Elementary School using an Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant for children whose families cannot afford their school supplies.
On June 9, Crestview Lodge held its annual Foster Children's Day which was attended by dozens of children and their families. The event was run by 24 volunteers who helped make it a fun day for all with a waterslide, bounce house, Captain Davy the Pirate, face-painting and food for all.
On May 12, Crestview Elks Lodge #2624 held its fifth annual Exceptional Children’s Day for children with special needs and their family as well as the public to celebrate children overcoming adversity. They used a $2,000 Beacon Grant along with $500 in donations. Nineteen volunteer Elks hosted 125 visitors. The Captain Davy Show and Reid Soria of Autism Sings performed for the guests. Children enjoyed a waterslide, bounce house, Lego table and face-painting. Food, drinks and snacks were provided as well.