Florida Elks News Editor:
Rachael King
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Florida State Elks Association Inc.
P.O. Box 49
Umatilla, FL 32784-0049

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2787 prim

On Feb. 8, Holley-Navarre Lodge donated $1,500 to support the Holley-Navarre Primary School’s weekend backpack food program. The program feeds more than 100 children considered food-insecure, meaning they often do not know where their next meals will come from. Children living in such families may worry about school breaks because they rely on the meals they receive in school for their daily sustenance. This backpack food program provides meals during the weekend breaks.

Pictured are Krista Robinson, Leading Knight; TJ Carey, Exalted Ruler; Tonya Lancieri, assistant principal; and Libby Blackwood, lodge manager.


497 bank

On Feb. 21, Pensacola Beach Lodge donated $5,000 from its charity account to the Manna Food Bank in Pensacola, Florida. The donation will provide 3,000 nutritious meals to local families.
Pictured are Dan Smith, PER, lodge trustee, and DeDe Flounlacker, executive director of Manna Food Bank.

497 sa

On Feb. 17, Pensacola Beach Elks Lodge #497 donated $5,000 to the Northwest Florida Salvation Army from the lodge's charity account.

Pictured are Cap Pratt, PDD, trustee, and Mattie Broxton, Salvation Army social services coordinator in Milton, Florida.


1795 track

On Feb. 25, Fort Walton Elks Lodge #1795 presented a $500 donation to the award-winning Choctawhatchee High School track team, as they continue their winning season with the goal of returning to the Florida High School Sports Association (FHSAA) finals.

Pictured are athletes Wynter Downs, Ariana Gonzalez and Cole Tabb; Coach Courtland Fuller; Kathy Pacheco, lodge trustee; and athletes Kaleb Hollins and Owen Burks.


497 walk

Pensacola Beach Lodge donated $3,000 from its charity account to Pensacola Beach Elementary School to help pay for rebuilding the school’s elevated walkways.

Pictured are Dan Smith, lodge trustee, and Susan McLeod, school principal.


497 GB

On Oct. 24, a $2,000 Elks National Foundation Spotlight Grant was awarded by Pensacola Beach Lodge to the Gulf Breeze Weekend Food Program. The grant will provide two weeks of weekend food packages for 135 school kids in need in Santa Rosa County, Florida.

Pictured are Mike Stahl, lodge member and program director; Dan Smith, PER, trustee; and lodge members Ron Steiner and Henry Lambert.


1795 dons

On Oct. 22, Fort Walton Elks Lodge #1795 presented Florida Elks State President, Danny Tabor, with two checks for the Harry-Anna Trust Fund in the amount of $908 each. One was for the Harry-Anna Trust Fund general fund and one was earmarked for the Northwest Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services (FECTS) district therapist, Elizabeth Mania, for equipment, gear and tools to conduct therapy with the assigned therapy clients. Funds totaling $1,816 were raised at the lodge’s first and very successful Oktoberfest Sept. 24.

Pictured are Danny Tabor, State President; Jamie Clemons, Lodge Secretary; Michael “Taz” WrightReynolds, PER, Exalted Ruler; Collen Gallant, FECTS Director; and Kevin Clemons, PDD, Northwest District Leader.


1795 pawsss

On Oct. 26, Fort Walton Elks Lodge #1795 presented the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) with a check for $500 to use for making major changes both internally and externally to improve operations and general animal welfare and to increase community services. The donation has gone toward construction improvement projects, including adding power lines throughout the facility and providing needed safety lighting and increased air conditioning to all canine-occupied kennels. A major renovation is underway to tear down and replace the canine kennels on the campus that have been worn and torn over the decades-long tenure and thousands of animals housed. The Okaloosa County PAWS has taken in more than 2,000 lost, abandoned, abused and neglected pets in 2022. Of these, 281 of those dogs and cats were reunited with their owners. There have been 1,024 dogs and cats re-homed to responsible pet owners through the PAWS adoption program. Okaloosa County also has a large number of PAWS rescue partners who took in more than 450 pets to be adopted through their programs which allows for the additional space at PAWS to save more lives.

Pictured are Michael “Taz” WrightReynolds, PER, Exalted Ruler; Michelle Thorson of PAWS with Gladys from PAWS, who has since found her forever rescue home; Mark Wynn, Inner Guard; Marcia WrightReynolds, Lecturing Knight; Tom McLaughlin, Leading Knight; Rob Parks, Loyal Knight; and Ashley DeGraaf, PAWS executive director.


1795 hero

Fort Walton Elks Lodge #1795 presented a Good Smartian Citizen Award Oct. 28 to Mykel Gordon, a Chick-fil-A employee who rescued a mother and her baby from an attempted carjacking in the drive-thru line at the restaurant in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. When Gordon heard the woman scream and saw the man had taken the woman’s keys, he rushed toward the assailant and tackled him to the ground, placing him in a headlock and holding on until law enforcement could respond. Gordon prevented the carjacker from hurting the woman and her baby after he had threatened them with a stick. The lodge, in support of the community, recognized Mykel Gordon for his heroic act with a plaque. This particular Chick-fil-A was already nationally recognized a couple of months earlier for being Chick-fil-A’s best drive-thru in America.

Pictured are Mark Wynn, Inner Guard; Tom McLaughlin, Leading Knight; Jamie Clemons, Secretary; Catherine Landry, restaurant manager; Mykel Gordon; Michael ‘Taz’ WrightReynolds, PER, Exalted Ruler; and Rob Parks, Loyal Knight.


497 chs

Pensacola Beach Elks Lodge #497 made a $5,000 donation from its charity account to the Children's Home Society Oct. 6. The Society provides family counseling and adoptive services and is located in Pensacola, Florida. 

Pictured are Dan Smith, lodge trustee, and Cynthia Vick, Children’s Home Society board member.


1795 squad

Fort Walton Lodge partnered with United for a Good Cause Sept. 12 to support the Hope Squad in the county school system with the presentation of the $4,000 Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant. Hope Squad is a peer-to-peer suicide prevention program in schools. Okaloosa County has been in the top 10 Florida counties for youth suicide for many years. Most often a youth will reach out to a peer before an adult if they are thinking about suicide. Youth suicide is increasing in the country and the lodge wants to help address the mental issues students struggle with in today's environment. There are currently 15 out of 20 secondary schools in Okaloosa County with Hope Squads. The program needs to be expanded to all 20 schools. One of the suicides in the county last year was a fourth grader.

Pictured are Paul Willey, PER; Linda Mayfield, PER; Marcie Tingler, Esquire; Kathy Pacheco, 3-year trustee; Jamie Clemons, Secretary; Rob Parks, Loyal Knight; Peggy Brockman, Hope Squad executive director; Paul Eubanks, PER; Marcia WrightReynolds, Lecturing Knight; Tom Knowles, PER; Kevin Clemons, PDD, Northwest District Leader; Tom McLaughlin, Leading Knight; and Michael “Taz” WrightReynolds, PER, Exalted Ruler.


2688 food for thought

On Sept. 13, Destin Lodge presented $2,000 from the Elks National Foundation Spotlight Grant to Food for Thought of Destin, Florida. They assist in providing food to many children through their backpack program at local schools. The Food for Thought mission is to provide outreach in the community to bridge the meal gap in the lives of food-insecure children and empower them to get the most out of their education. They understand that students coming to school after missing multiple meals do not learn or develop at the same rate as their peers. The goal is to provide year-round services to take the fear, stress and illness related to childhood hunger away from students from kindergarten to 12th grade. They provide weekly access to healthy, easy-to-prepare meals.

Pictured are member Terri Griffin; Allison Chorey, Food for Thought program manager; and member Robert Griffin.