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Florida Elks News Editor:
Rachael King
Entire contents copyright 2021 by the
Florida State Elks Association Inc.
P.O. Box 49
Umatilla, FL 32784-0049

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1853 Espinoza

Clewiston Lodge hosted their annual community and Elks awards ceremony; this year’s Citizen of the Year was awarded to member Marty Espinoza who has been actively involved with various youth groups for over 30 years. His first project was building a reputable wrestling program in the community. Along the way he has helped mentor youth in baseball and basketball, and this year he helped run the local Hoop Shoot. His latest passion is soccer; he helps prepare the children for the local, district, state and tri-state regional shoots. Clewiston has more than a dozen state champions, and when the kids make these trips, he is usually traveling with them, often at his own expense, making the kids feel more secure and confident.

Clewiston Lodge member Marty Espinoza receives the Citizen of the Year award from Linda Allen, Exalted Ruler.


Lake Okeechobee Elks Lodge #2871 utilized an Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant to purchase new equipment for the Brahman Battalion JROTC including mannequins to display proper attire and decorations of a cadet, new flag equipment for the Honor Guard, a new canopy for shade, a new ruck sack and a length of special rope called a kernmantle.

Using the Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant, Lake Okeechobee Lodge provided each student in second grade at all five elementary schools in the district the beautifully illustrated book “B is for Buckaroo.” Each letter of the alphabet portrays an informational subject about cowboys and the western way of life. The Elks attended the presentation with the court of the Miss Rodeo Okeechobee queens. This ties into the 78th annual speckled perch festival and spring rodeo. The Elks returned in a few weeks and rewarded each child who read the book and took the accelerated reader quiz with an ice cream social and talked about the book.


2469 soccer rodriguez

Katheryn Rodriguez from Tequesta, Fla., represented Jupiter Elks Lodge #2469 in this year's Elks Soccer Shoot. She won the local contest at Jupiter Farms Park, the district and regional contests at Sugarland Park in Clewiston, and the state championship held at the Florida Elks Youth Camp in Umatilla. She then moved on to the southeast regional contest, also held at the Florida Elks Youth Camp, Jan. 20.


2469 angel

Jupiter Lodge made 75 children’s Christmases a little extra special with their annual Angel Tree project. From the tremendous support and generosity of members and the community, children received gifts such as bicycles, scooters, roller skates, fishing poles, dolls, remote-control cars and so much more. Pictured is Jerry Thomas Elementary School principal Jeff Eassa with the gift recipients.


1352 santa

West Palm Beach Elks Lodge #1352 hosted its annual breakfast with Santa for children who are underprivileged from three schools that the lodge supports – Wynnebrook Elementary, Greenacres Elementary and Royal Palm Beach Elementary. There were 55 children and parents in attendance. Reindeer (Patriot Guard Riders and the Eagle Riders) assisted at the event as well.


2871 Ray

From Dec. 4-7, the Elks’ drug awareness program speaker, Ray Lazano, presented facts of drugs like nicotine and other addictions to local students and their parents. He visited five elementary schools, two middle schools, one freshman campus, the high school and the Okeechobee Achievement Academy. His message reached 3,206 students, 230 adults and 52 Elks members.


2871 hay

Lake Okeechobee Lodge used their Elks National Foundation Promise Grant and Anniversary Grant to host their first Halloween extravaganza. Partnering with other nonprofits, local businesses, first responders and the county commissioners, they hosted 2,238 people at the Agri-Civic Center on Halloween night! There were costume contests, a photo booth, games to play, a hay ride and of course candy! The families enjoyed a safe, fun atmosphere complete with a haunted walk. 

PDD Gary Casperson gives hayrides at Lake Okeechobee’s Halloween extravaganza at the Agri-Civic Center Oct. 31.


Jupiter Elks Lodge #2469 hosted their annual Halloween haunted lodge that drew nearly 1,000 public spectators. They gave 13 local student groups and nonprofit organizations more than $2,000 for staging, decorating and acting out the fright scenes.

With the generosity of the members along with support from the local community, the Jupiter Elks supplied 108 local families with turkey dinners for Thanksgiving.

Jupiter Lodge made lots of children’s Christmas a little extra special with their annual Angel Tree project. Children who are less fortunate received a new outfit and toys.


The Clewiston Chamber of Commerce recently recognized Clewiston Elks Lodge as their Nonprofit Organization of the Year. This was a new award for the chamber and the Clewiston Elks are the first local nonprofit to be recognized. This award is in recognition of the many community activities that are supported by the Elks.


1853 Hendry

Clewiston Elks Lodge #1853 held a fundraiser to help support the local Hendry County Sheriff’s Office with their annual shopping-with-the-sheriff program which aims to ensure that kids who are underprivileged have a memorable Christmas. A member of the sheriff’s department is paired with a selected child who takes them shopping for their Christmas wish list.   

Clewiston Lodge Exalted Ruler, Linda Allen, presents a check for $1,000 to Hendry County Deputy, Jeff Nunemaker, for their shopping-with-the-sheriff program.


SE Hoop

The 2018 Southeast District Hoop Shoot took place at the Local Boys and Girls Club with participation from all four district lodges. Pictured are District Vice President, George Zocchi; first-place winner for boys ages 8-9, Briyce Wright, from West Palm Beach Lodge #1352; second-place winner, Wyatt Phillip, from Okeechobee Lodge #2871, ages 8-9 winner, Judson Phillip, from Okeechobee Lodge #2871; second-place winner, Isaiah McElroy, from Jupiter Lodge #2469; ages 12-13 winner, Nicholas Mitaro (second row), from Jupiter Lodge #2469; second-place winner, Sadler Soles, from Clewiston Lodge #1853; West Palm Beach Lodge Hoop Shoot director, Brien Morel; girls ages 8-9 winner, Anna Belle Damiano, from Jupiter Lodge #2469; girls ages 12-13 winner, Rylie Tucker, from Okeechobee Lodge #2871; and District Hoop Shoot director, PER Luis B. Oms, from West Palm Beach Lodge.


Jupiter Elks Lodge members recently played in the Tony Boisclair golf invitational in memory of one of Jupiter’s dedicated members who passed unexpectedly earlier this year. A portion of the event proceeds will help fund scholarships for local high school students.

2469 schools

Jupiter Elks donated more than $2,000-worth of school supplies to local schools for their classrooms. Representatives from Jupiter Farms Elementary, Jupiter Elementary, Jerry Thomas Elementary and Limestone Creek Elementary recently attended a lodge meeting to pick up the supplies.