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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On Oct. 23, Sebastian Elks Lodge #2714 was a silver sponsor of the Sebastian Police Department COPE (Community Oriented Policing Endeavor) Unit’s inaugural Unity Cup Golf Tournament with a $1000 donation. The mission of the COPE Unit is to create partnerships between the community and the Sebastian Police Department, to develop and employ proactive crime prevention strategies, and to promote the department’s resources to the community. The COPE Unit hosts events throughout the city where members meet with citizens, distribute crime prevention materials and build relationships to create a lasting environment of cooperation between the police and the citizens of Sebastian. Pauline Talbott, Southeast Central District and Lodge Drug Awareness Chair, and Mary Ducharme, president of the EL-DOEs, the lodge’s ladies organization, had a display at the 12th hole kicking off Red Ribbon Week promoting the Elks Drug Awareness program. They also shared information on the many projects supported by the Elks such as Florida Elks Youth Camp, Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services, Army of Hope, and college scholarships as well as local community charities such as Little Birthday Angels, Sebastian Elementary Backpack Buddies, and the Ecumenical Food Pantry of Sebastian. Several lodge members participated in the tournament, too.

Pictured are Pauline Talbott and Mary Ducharme and multiple banners.


Viera Elks Lodge #2817 continued its support of Genesis House, a facility that provides transitional shelter for women and their children experiencing homelessness, long-term housing for student mothers and their children, and shelter for pregnant women and their children who are homeless. Member Gail Miller shopped for back-to-school outfits for 18 children Sept. 9 and presented them to the families at Genesis House.


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On Sept. 18, Viera Elks Lodge #2817 welcomed Southeast Central District Vice President, Paul Diaz, and his wife, Donna, for dinner. There were more than 140 members and guests present and the theme was “Support your Team.” As a part of the festivities, Diaz assisted Jerry Harrington, Exalted Ruler, in presenting two donations to local organizations. A check for $3,500 from the lodge’s Elks National Foundation Gratitude and Beacon grants was presented to Tara Pagliarini, executive director of Family Promise of Brevard. Family Promise of Brevard works to end family homelessness in Brevard County by collaborating with the community to provide families with support and resources they need to put themselves on a path toward long-term housing stability. The second check presentation was for $2,000 ($1,500 from the lodge’s Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant and $500 from the lodge’s charity account) to Brevard Schools Foundation, a nonprofit organization designed to match community resources with the needs of public schools. It is funded and supported by local businesses and charitable organizations.

Pictured are Kyle Nylander, Brevard Schools Foundation board member; Janice Keyshawn, Brevard Schools Foundation president; Jerry Harrington, Exalted Ruler; Paul Diaz, District Vice President; and Bill Orblych, PDD, Lodge Secretary.


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Fort Pierce Elks Lodge #1520 used a $2,000 Elks National Foundation grant along with members’ donations to purchase new backpacks, school supplies, food and much needed socks and underwear to Lakewood Park Elementary School in Fort Pierce. The school has 100 students who are homeless. The lodge’s backpack program also donated $500 to buy footwear for students in need.

Pictured Sept. 22 outside the school are backpack program lodge volunteers and the school principal: Ron Chuba; Lenny Smallacombe, PDD; Barb Smallacombe, PDD; Kerri Walukiewicz, principal; Betty Foster; Cindy Williams; Bobbie Freeling; Bob Citto; Dave Bragg; Carol Chuba; and Ann Smith.



Sebastian Elks Lodge #2714 and its ladies auxiliary, the EL-DOEs, hosted a school supply drive from Aug. 1 through Sept. 10 to support Sebastian Elementary and Little Birthday Angels. Little Birthday Angels is a nonprofit organization in Vero Beach, Florida, serving the Treasure Coast and provides duffel bags filled with various items for the birthdays of community children experiencing homelessness. This year they plan to assist more than 200 children in the county. Pictured with a sample of the donated supplies are Billy Shallies, Exalted Ruler; Audrey Huddy, Elk and EL-DOE; Mary Ducharme, EL-DOEs president; Doreen Marchetti, Lecturing Knight; Pauline Talbott, House Committee chair and EL-DOEs vice president; Pam Saracene, Elk; and Dan Talbott, Leading Knight. Little Birthday Angels picked up their donations Sept. 13 and the school’s supplies will be delivered Sept. 23 as an appointment was required to enter the school due to COVID restrictions.