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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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       2714 egg 1 2714 egg 2

2714 egg 3

On April 8, Sebastian Elks Lodge #2714 supported a community Easter egg hunt at the South Mainland Community Center in Micco, Florida. The Drug Awareness trailer was on-site and children were able to take a break from the fun and color. Drug Awareness bags containing coloring books and red ribbons were given to approximately 50 children. The bags were also used in the Easter egg hunt. More than 500 plastic eggs filled with candy and prizes were donated by Dan Talbott, Exalted Ruler, and Michael Schodlbauer, PDD. Information was provided about the Florida Elks Youth Camp and Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services.

Pictured are guests coloring.

Under the Elks tent are Pauline Talbott, Lodge Drug Awareness Chair; Dan Talbott, Exalted Ruler; Mary Ducharme, Ladies Treasurer; and Michael Schodlbauer, PDD.

Elroy the Elk (Michael Schodlbauer) hunts for Easter eggs with the help of Mary Ducharme.


2817 ant 2817 ant 2

On Feb. 11, Viera Elks Lodge #2817 held a steak dinner, at which the lodge’s Antlers members served and helped clean up. In addition, they gave each lady in attendance a red rose that they purchased from their own budget. On March 25, Viera Lodge held a joint installation ceremony for lodge officers, followed by Antlers lodge officers. “It was the most well-attended installation ceremony I have seen in 47 years of Elkdom. These youngsters are truly the future of our order,” said Jerry Harrington, Exalted Ruler.

Pictured are three of the members who helped serve the February dinner — Jake Vargas, Ronald Adlin and Janey Vargas. Also pictured are the 2023-2024 Viera Antlers new officers.


2714 tunn

On Feb. 26, Sebastian Lodge held an event with more than 100 members in attendance for a presentation of $12,500 to Tunnels to Towers Foundation, a nonprofit charity committed to honoring the sacrifices made by first responders and military personnel who have been killed or injured in the line of duty. This donation was made possible by the dedication and hard work of lodge members for the lodge golf tournament and other fundraisers under the organization of co-chairs Benny and Susan Colson. Additional funds raised that day brought the total donation to $13,205.

Pictured are first responders from Indian River County Fire Rescue; Susan Colson, fundraising co-chair; Chuck Marchetti, Exalted Ruler; a representative from Tunnels to Towers; Benny Colson, fundraising co-chair; Fred Jones, Sebastian mayor; and Dan Acosta, police chief.  


2714 school

On Jan. 13, the El-Does, the ladies auxiliary of Sebastian Elks Lodge #2714, donated $1,200 to Sebastian Elementary to cover the cost of school uniforms for those in need. The money was raised over the course of the third quarter with a dance in October and a chance raffle.

Mary Ducharme, El-Does Treasurer, presented the check to the administrative assistant. 


2714 lotto lad

Sebastian Lodge’s ladies auxiliary, the El-Does, did a lottery board raffle of a $50 bill and $105 worth of scratch-off tickets to fund Sebastian Police Department’s Shop-with-a-Cop. The raffle generated $1,590 for the shopping trip held Dec. 14, where 150 children in Indian River County were given $100 to shop with a cop.

Pictured with the Sebastian Police Department COPE Unit are Diane Lemire, Elk and El-Doe; Pauline Talbott, Elk and El-Does co-director; and Mary Ducharme, El-Does Treasurer.


2714 totc

On Nov. 1, Sebastian Lodge took part in Toys for Tots by placing collection boxes in the lodge social quarters and hall. The boxes had to be emptied several times. A dinner dance hosted by the El-Does Ladies auxiliary Dec. 10 brought in even more toys. On Dec. 15, all toys and bicycles valued at more than $7,500 and a monetary donation of $710 were delivered to Toys for Tots of Indian River County.

Pictured are Tony Vitale; Audrey Huddy, Elk and El-Doe; Debbie Lawerence; Pam Saracene, Elk and El-Does co-director; Dan Talbott, Leading Knight; Pauline Talbott, Elk and El-Does co-director; Mary Fox, El-Doe; Carol Vitale, Elk and El-Doe, seated; Mary Ducharme, El-Does Treasurer; and Michael Schodlbauer, PDD.


1520 toys

On Dec. 9, Jean Citto, Lecturing Knight, and Bob Citto, Loyal Knight, of Fort Pierce Elks Lodge #1520 presented the Fort Pierce Police Department chief and officers with thousands of dollars’ worth of toys for local children in need, along with an additional $1,500 in cash and gift cards. Lodge members as well as residents in Harbor Isle East and West and members of the Shrine Club and Pioneers were generous in their donations.

In mid-December, Fort Pierce Lodge’s Jean Citto, Lecturing Knight; Bob Citto, Loyal Knight; and Beverly Dally delivered $3,200 worth of shirts and snacks to Chester A. Moore Elementary School, Lakewood Park School and White City School as requested. These were purchased with funds from the lodge’s backpack program, along with donations from bar games and personal donations.

Pictured with members of the Fort Pierce Police Department are Jean Citto, Lecturing Knight; Bobbie Freeling, Treasurer; and Ginny Young, Secretary.


2817 fam

At the annual Exalted Ruler’s eggnog party Dec. 17, Viera Lodge made donations to three local charities. Genesis House, a facility that provides transitional shelter for homeless women and their children, long-term housing for student mothers and their children, and shelter for homeless pregnant women and their children, was given $2,000 from the lodge’s Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant. Brevard School Foundation, a direct support nonprofit organization designed to match community resources with the needs of public schools, was given $2,000. The lodge’s Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant provided $1,750 and $250 was used from the lodge’s unencumbered charity account. Family Promise of Brevard, an organization whose mission is to end family homelessness in Brevard County by collaborating with the community to provide families the support and resources they need to put themselves on a path toward long-term housing stability, was given $4,000. The lodge’s Beacon Grant provided $2,000, the lodge’s Gratitude Grant provided $1,750 and the lodge’s unencumbered charity account provided $250. 

Pictured are Jim Cerianni of Family Promise of Brevard; William Orblych, PDD; and Jerry Harrington, PDD, Exalted Ruler.


2817 angel tree

For the last three years, Viera Elks Lodge #2817 has participated in the Angel Tree project. This year, they had one tree for senior citizens who have no family support in the area and another tree for children. The senior citizen tree project is sponsored by the local Brevard County TRIAD Inc., a nonprofit partnership between the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, local law enforcement agencies and the state attorney’s office. TRIAD and its many organizations and business partners work together to develop programs that address the issues of the growing senior population, such as personal safety, health concerns and transportation needs. The children’s tree was dedicated to Brevard Family Partnership, an organization whose mission is to protect children, strengthen families and prevent child abuse. They operate and manage a comprehensive, integrated, community-based system of care for abused, abandoned and neglected children and their families. They are heavily involved in the child fostering program in Brevard County. Lodge members delivered 58 gifts to One Senior Place for TRIAD’s program and 43 gifts to Brevard Family Partnership. All gifts were donated by lodge members.

Pictured delivering gifts are Heidi Vargas, Becky Wills and Lynn Del Pozo.


1774 rec

Vero Beach Elks Lodge #1774 was recognized by the Indian River County School District at their annual Community Bright Spot Awards Dec. 7 for being an outstanding community partner of the school district in maximizing the full potential of all students. The lodge utilizes the funds from its Elks National Foundation Impact Grant to fund a school store where students purchase goods with digital coins they receive for good behavior, finishing assignments on time and respecting their teachers.

Pictured are lodge members Lorraine Cappelin, Linda Colontrelle, Don Guidry, Karen Guidry, Gail Boatwright, and Deb Stuller and Lyndsey Matheny, principal of Vero Beach Elementary School.


1774 toys

Vero Beach Elks Lodge #1774 held its 35th annual Toys for Tots dinner Dec. 10. Toys have been collected every year for 35 years, and lodge members have donated more than 350 bicycles and helmets of all sizes over the years. Various children’s toys are also collected.

Pictured are Rich Miller, PER; Victor Diaz, retired Marine; Paul Diaz, District Deputy; and Joe Palowich, Exalted Ruler.


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On Oct. 22, Sebastian Lodge held its annual golf tournament with lunch at the lodge afterward. A record-breaking total of more than $18,000 was raised to support the various charities supported by the lodge. The lodge also received several applications for membership as a result of the golf tournament.

Pictured with the sponsor banner are Bennie Colson, tournament chair, right, and his wife, Susan. Also pictured are the many chance raffle donations that were donated.