On March 11, the St. Petersburg Ladies of Elks Auxiliary made a $1,000 donation to the Southeastern Guide Dogs walkathon and the lodge added an additional $250. The walkathon is the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year and is relied upon to bring in more than $1 million annually to fund their mission. The organization does not accept government funding and depends on private donations and grants to provide its life-changing guide and service dogs to the people who need them at no charge. Pictured are Jan Giallourakis, St. Petersburg Ladies of Elks Auxiliary Vice President, and Tracy Horrell, PER, a member of Tampa Elks Lodge who is representing Southeastern Guide Dogs. She raises puppies and Sandy, pictured with Horrell, is under her charge right now being trained. She teaches puppies the basics including house manners and basic obedience, and they then go on for further training.
On Feb. 28, St. Petersburg Lodge donated $1,500 to Northwest Youth Baseball (NWYB) in St. Petersburg, Florida, to sponsor youth baseball teams. NWYB does not receive any funding from the city and relies strictly on donations they receive from their sponsors. The donations allow NWYB to operate their park, make necessary purchases such as new equipment and uniforms, and finance other park expenses including field maintenance and field lights. In addition, because of sponsors’ generosity, NWYB can maintain affordable registration costs.
On March 7-8, St. Petersburg Lodge sponsored member Chris Boland in Bike MS: The Citrus Tour 2020 with a donation of $1,000. Bike MS is the fundraising cycling series of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and raises more money than any other cycling event for any other cause. Their mission is to end MS. Routes included 23, 50, 75 and 100 miles.
On Feb. 29, St. Petersburg Lodge donated $700 to the Dixie Hollins baseball team to thank the team members for assisting during a lodge event. The money will be used for baseball equipment and help with travel expenses. Pictured are head coach, Ralph Rogers; assistant coach, Dave Neverline; and team members.
New Port Richey Lodge Exalted Ruler, Dave Marcinkowski, throws the first pitch at a West Pasco Little League game Feb. 22, 2020. The lodge sponsors the West Pasco Mets Juniors.
On Feb. 1, St. Petersburg Elks Lodge #1224 recognized 14 first responders at their annual law and order awards event. Three additional responders who could not be present were recognized Feb. 29. In attendance at the first event were 151 officers with their families and 71 Elks and guests. The lodge provided a free dinner to the first responders and their families. The awards recognize the outstanding contributions of top law enforcement, firefighting, and emergency medical personnel. Honorees are nominated by their peers and represent departments throughout Pinellas County. “We remain indebted to the men and women first responders who work every day to keep the people of our community safe,” stated Toni Goodrich, PDD, Lodge Secretary. After the ceremony, the lodge presented Pinellas Park High School JRROTC a check for $1,000 in support of the school’s four-year high school magnet program with emphasis on law education to Cassandra C. Bogatz, program director for the Criminal Justice Academy. The JRROTC served the dinner to all 222 in attendance. After the check presentation, the St. Petersburg Police K-9 unit presented a demonstration by Officer Dixon & Officer Herring with K-9s Johnny and Blaze. Officers selected to become K-9 handlers must complete a 16-week school with their K-9 partners. K-9 activities include building, article and tracking searches. Demonstrations included obedience exercises, mock drug searches, simulated criminal apprehension and an agility test. Pictured are Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sgt. Rich Trump who presented awards to Deputy Bryan Beeler, Deputy Colin Roper, Deputy Jayson Young and Deputy Rita Bison (not pictured).