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Rachael King
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P.O. Box 49
Umatilla, FL 32784-0049

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Vero Beach Lodge works directly with guidance counselors to select worthy students for scholarships and tends to favorably consider those who want to pursue vocational training. On Feb. 26, the lodge held a fundraiser for these scholarships and $1,800 was raised. The event was a tribute to Dean Martin. Pictured are Felix Deneau Jr., guest artist, and Ernie Simiele, lodge member, doing a Dean Martin songfest.


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On Feb. 9, Vero Beach Elks Lodge #1774 held an awards ceremony for the winners of the Americanism essay contest; this year’s theme was “How Can Patriotism be Demonstrated?” The finalists and their families and many teachers and principals were in attendance. Pictured are this year’s winners. In the back row are Jim McFadyen, Lodge Americanism Chair; Khaola Roman, third place in Division II from Storm Grove Middle School; Elizabeth Hall, second place in Division II from Storm Grove Middle School; Paige Keen, first place in Division II from Storm Grove Middle School; Vanessa-Lopez Romanowiz, third place in Division I from Sebastian Elementary School; and Rich Miller, Exalted Ruler. In the front row are William Scott, second place in Division I from Sebastian Elementary School, and Johnathon Phan, first place in Division I from Treasure Coast Elementary School. Each received a certificate and a gift card to Walmart of varying denominations. The third place winners received a $50 card, the second place winners received a $75 card and the first place winners received a $100 card. All six finalists won at the district level and their essays were forwarded to the state for judging. For two of the last three years, the lodge has had state winners who received a check for $1,500 and they and their families were treated to a weekend in Orlando, Florida, to attend the Florida Elks state convention and read their essay at the luncheon meeting.



Melbourne Elks Lodge #1744 donated $4,500 from its Elks National Foundation Gratitude and Spotlight grants to the Melbourne Police Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization, to help purchase 100 food vouchers for precooked Christmas turkey dinners to families affected by the pandemic. Each dinner fed up to 10 people for a total meal count of 1,000 meals. The dinners consisted of a 12-15 lb. turkey, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, cranberry sauce and a marshmallow delight dessert. Pictured at the donation presentation are Officer Chris Livingston, motorcycle patrolman; Commander Charles Carafono, police operations; Nadine Smith, past president of the Melbourne Police Foundation; Joyce Madden, Exalted Ruler; and Thomas Wojnar, Lodge Esquire and Lodge Grant Writer.



The Port St. Lucie Elks Lodge Motorcycle Riders Committee members put together more than 1,500 bags of candy that were handed out by six members to children for Halloween at the Port Saint Lucie Civic Center during the pandemic. The CDC restricted children from going door to door. Pictured are Larry Kristiansen, road captain and event organizer; Denise Kristiansen; Joanne Mirenda; Tom Mirenda; Jim Devery, sergeant-at-arms; and Nelly Devery. The children really loved the bunny and everyone had a great time.


Viera Elks Lodge #2817 donated 35 Christmas gifts to the Brevard County Triad’s Senior Santa project. All of the gifts were donated by lodge members. The Senior Santa project was designed to provide the elderly in nursing homes and hospice settings with a personal gift around the holidays. It targets those residents who have little or no support in the area and would not otherwise receive a special gift. Brevard County Triad is a countywide partnership spearheaded by the sheriff’s office, local police and the state attorney office that focuses on senior issues in Brevard County.

Viera Lodge also donated $ 500 using its general charity fund to Brevard Family Partnership, an organization that focuses on child abuse prevention, foster care and support, adoption, independent living, and community outreach services to the children and families of Brevard County. The donation was to provide Christmas gifts for children in foster homes.

Viera Lodge also donated a Christmas tree to the Wuesthoff Hospice and Palliative Care Center for their residents’ room.