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Rachael King
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Umatilla, FL 32784-0049

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On May 17, in honor of National Police Week, New Port Richey Lodge members presented the staff of the New Port Richey Police Department with a tray of cookies and a thank you card.

Pictured are Elizabeth Groves, Inner Guard and American Chair; Operation Lt. Chris Mellecker; and Pauline Moreno, lodge member.


708 4 Ms Morman school sponsor 708 4 Club President Jordon 708 4 Club Vice President Miah 708 4 Public relations officer Markeria 708 4 April Volunteers

On April 15, seven Tampa Elks were at Robinson High School for the final Club Chivalry meeting of the school year. They served pizza from Blackjacks and gave certificates to the sponsor and club officers and a special award for great attendance. Club members indicated that if given the option, they would join again next year. Some of their favorite things were the food, teambuilding exercises and they making friends. They finished the meeting with drawings for two gift cards.

Rita Smith, PER, project manager, presents certificates to Ms. Morman, sponsor; Jordon, club president; Miah, vice president; Markeria, public relations; and volunteers Betty Orcutt, Patricia Volpe, Shelagh Gombarcik, Bonnie Atwood, Tommy Moore, and Carolyn Miller.


708 egg 1 708 egg 2 708 egg Lucas Bonnie and the raffle winner

At the Tampa Lodge’s March 25 Club Chivalry meeting, Edie Hanley, Loyal Knight, spoke about the Drug Awareness program. When the students were asked if they knew someone who had overdosed, at least 2/3 of them raised their hands. This was a topic they needed to hear more about, and Hanley’s experience working for the sheriff’s department was helpful. She also provided them with a Drug Awareness program bag with some information and a red ribbon. Also at the meeting was Elks National Foundation Legacy Scholar Lucas Dye, as scholars are required to do community service with a lodge at least once a year. He is a sophomore at the University of Tampa. He and PER Shelagh Gombarcik, Bonnie Atwood, Carolyn Miller and Patty Volpe hid 305 Easter eggs outside, though most were in plain sight. Ten golden eggs had a special prize of either a $10 gift card or an extra bag of candy.

Pictured are volunteers filling eggs; students listening to Edie Hanley’s Drug Awareness talk; and Lucas Dye, Bonnie Atwood, and a raffle winner.


708 boys

On Feb. 1, Max Chowning was one of seven high school juniors to receive their delegate package for Boys State, the American Legion program for high school juniors entering their senior year. In June, the Legion buses them to Tallahassee to stay at the Florida State University campus and participate in a weeklong intensive citizenship training, in which they are each elected to a roll in government for a mythical state. They go to the state capitol and debate legislation they create. They cover all three branches — executive (governor), legislative (House and Senate) and judicial (a supreme court). Elk member Frank Smith is the Boys State Chair for American Legion Post 5. Tampa Lodge sponsored Chowning, paying for his $400 room and board. He has participated in many Elks service Projects, as some of his family members are lodge members.

Pictured at the American Legion Post 5 are Frank Smith; Rita Smith, PER; Max Chowning; and Wendy Hall, Exalted Ruler.


708 se guide dogs check

On Jan. 30, Tampa Lodge donated $500 to Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto Beach. Tampa Elks have been involved with this charity since at least 2012, when Tracy Horrell, PER, Leading Knight, then the Exalted Ruler, wrote a $2,000 Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant for their Paws for Patriots program. Guide dogs are now trained on campus and then provided to people who are blind or disabled or who are in law enforcement. Since the lodge’s involvement, the campus has grown from a one-building office with outdoor kennels to a state-of-the-art facility, with separate buildings for breeding, administration, guest quarters for those who are disabled who come to train with their guide dog, puppies under 3 months old, guide dogs in training, and a canine infirmary with full-time staff. Tampa Elks have been recognized in more than one location as the facility has grown. Horrell has volunteered as a puppy trainer for several dogs, taking them into her home when they are 3 months old and socializing them until they are a year old and ready for more specific training.

Pictured are Laura Senkow, Southeastern Guide Dogs volunteer; Tracy Horrell, PER, Leading Knight; Wendy Hall, Exalted Ruler; and Rita Smith, PER. Also pictured is Noah, a goodwill ambassador.


708 gar

On Jan. 20, Tampa Elks Lodge #708 donated $500 from the Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant to the SOGarden for the community garden, known as the Garden of Eatin’, which in addition to the members’ individually owned gardens, has about a dozen community beds planted in the hopes of donating fresh produce to local food pantries. 

Pictured are gardeners Elise Valdez and Sandi Thompson with Kim VanWalker, Lecturing Knight, and Shelagh Gombarcik, PER.