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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1224 rest

On June 17, St. Petersburg Lodge was given seven sets of bedding from the REST initiative of P.E.S.T. Relief International (Professionals Empowering, Sustaining and Transforming), a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2013 by Andrea Hancock. The bedding was donated to Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services to be distributed by the therapists to patients who need it most. The value of the bedding was $735. Each set included new pillowcases and sheets, a luxury baby blanket, and mattress encasements to provide a safe and sanitary place to sleep. The REST initiative entails providing clean bedding and pest control to shelters and orphanages. In 2004, Hancock started Mattress Safe Inc., a company that manufactures mattress covers. Pictured are Toni Goodrich, PDD, Lodge Secretary, and Hancock.



New Port Richey Elks Lodge #2284 celebrated Flag Day June 14 with a flag presentation, followed by a light lunch. Pictured are Barbara Rodgers, Exalted Ruler; Becky Soto, Secretary; Margaret Smith, Loyal Knight; Gloria Tyler, treasurer; and Lainey Krachtus, trustee.


1224 camper

St. Petersburg Lodge covered the $180 cost for 12 year-old Samuel Ramirez to attend the first week of summer camp at the Florida Elks Youth Camp. It was his second year of being sponsored by the lodge and was very excited to be attending again. He really enjoyed his time there and is already looking forward to going back next year. On June 20, Elks VAVS representative and lodge member, Johnny Miller, and his wife, Lucelly, drove Samuel, who happens to be Johnny’s nephew, to the camp. The Millers often transport campers, usually if they are their neighbors’ children, if the family doesn't have a car or if the parents are working. Lucelly Miller, Samuel Ramirez and VAVS Representative and lodge member Johnny Miller who drove Samuel Ramirez to FEYC.


1224 eagles

St. Petersburg Lodge donated the use of its lodge June 12 for an Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony and celebration afterward for Jonathan and Sean Kirley, 19-year-old twin brothers. They are members of Troop 413 in Clearwater, Florida, who have been serving the youth of the greater Countryside area. They achieved their Eagle status under previous Scoutmaster David Hamilton Sr. The scouts began their scouting journey together, moving forward through the ranks and supported and encouraged each other. Each earned at least 21 merit badges or more and successfully completed a community, church or synagogue-related service project to earn his Eagle merit badges required for the Eagle Scout rank. They also demonstrated scout spirit and leadership within their troop. Jon built four collaboration tables for Leila G. Davis Elementary School, and Sean relocated and rebuilt Ms. Wooly’s memorial at Leila G. Davis Elementary School. The Eagle Scout obligations were presented by Jared Kirley (their brother, Eagle Scout 2018) and Jonathan Basye (Eagle Scout 2014). In attendance were the troop’s scouts and their families, members of the local district and council, public officials, troop alumni, and adults who have had an impact on brothers’ lives. A reception followed the ceremony. Pictured are Jared, Sean and Jonathan Kirley and Scoutmaster Hamilton.


708 finn

Andrew Finn is an International Baccalaureate (IB) student at Robinson High School. According to the school’s website, https://robinsonhighib.com/learn-about-ib/, “Robinson High’s Magnet IB uses the IB Diploma Programme to develop students who have excellent breadth and depth of knowledge—students who flourish physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically. The IB Diploma Programme curriculum is a rigorous, pre-university course for the highly motivated student. It offers a comprehensive and integrated academic program and provides the student an opportunity to earn college credits while in high school.” Finn has been to the Florida Elks Youth Camp three times as a camper, and this year he was hired to work as a counselor-in-training. Prior to his employment, he started a project for the camp of collecting toiletry items that were especially important to him when the camp provided him with what he had forgotten to bring. He called his campaign the “Happy Camper Hero.” It was a very personal mission, and when he had not reached his goal after soliciting his friends and family to contribute through a designated Amazon account, he reached out to the Tampa Lodge Secretary, Rick Schneider, to see if his wish list could be distributed to the Tampa Elks Lodge members. Schneider decided that it would be more expeditious to just give him the cash to shop for the items locally. He made the motion at a lodge meeting to donate $250 from charity funds towards this mission. The motion passed, and Andrew received the check from Schneider (left) and Paul DeLand, Exalted Ruler, May 16. To the members’ surprise June 8, Schneider received another email from Andrew, this time asking how to give them a refund since he had met his goal and had money left over. He was instructed to donate it to the camp. This is the kind of character that spending time at the Florida Elks Youth Camp instills in children.


1224 bus

Diane Mercer, blood bank chair of St. Petersburg Lodge, arranged for OneBlood to park their Big Red Bus® at the lodge May 31 during the Memorial Day pool party. Fourteen units were collected from lodge members.