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 Nov. 18, 12 Parrish Elks Lodge #2889 members participated in the Old Cars/Old Trains event at the Florida Railroad Museum in Parrish by grilling and serving food. They were the only food vendor for the approximately 200 attendees, other than an ice cream truck. Despite the short notice, members sold breakfast egg sandwiches (with or without Canadian ham), muffins, coffee and tea. At 11 a.m., they began grilling and serving hamburgers and hot dogs with various produce, condiments, chips, soda and water, as well as mini veggie trays and cookies. Perhaps not knowing that Parrish is a new lodge, guests wondered where they had been at previous events and hoped they are at future events. Members LeeAnn Mitchell, Chris O'Hare, Sandee D'Abbraccio, Ken Knight and Anthony D'Abbraccio helped plan for the event. Steve Carruthers, PDD, Lodge Advisor, had purchased and donated a new griddle for their lodge, which was put to good use. The profits of $847.84 from the food sales will be split among the Harry-Anna Trust Fund, Elks National Foundation, Hoop Shoot, Veterans Services and the lodge building fund, as they are still searching for a lodge building.

Pictured are members serving attendees at the event from their booth.


2714 paint

On Nov. 4, members of Sebastian Lodge #2714 painted two apartments at the Veterans Transitional Facility in Melbourne, Florida. The VTF has 10 apartments providing temporary housing for veterans and their immediate families, while assisting them in securing permanent housing. Paint was donated by Richard's Paint Mfg Co. in Rockledge, Florida. The lodge currently supplies fresh start kits to the residents upon arrival to the facility. The lodge members plan to return at a later date to paint the remaining eight apartments. Other improvement projects to the facility are also being explored.

Pictured in the front row are Lida Heydinger, PER; Herman Heydinger, PDD; Pauline Talbott, lodge and ladies member and FLOE President; and Mirissa Napolitano, VTF Director. In the back row are a VTF resident; Louie Reyes, Loyal Knight; Lorraine Signorelli; Mary Ducharme, Ladies Treasurer; Dan Talbott, Exalted Ruler; Michael Schodlbauer, PDD, Lodge Veterans Chair; and Chuck Marchetti, PER.


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On Nov. 11, Change of Pace, a nonprofit adult day care center, held its annual Walk for Memories fundraiser. Pictured is member Brenda Richards presenting a sponsor check of $500 from the lodge to Cora Schwingel, Change of Pace administrator, Oct. 17. Also pictured in the back row are members who walked in the fundraiser — Sheryl Teachout, Marty Bowers, Brenda Richards and Buddy Richards. In the front row are Ed Kwasnick and Tim Quarqanta, members who attended the Elks table.


On Nov. 2, Orlando Elks Lodge Drug Awareness Education Chair, Master Deputy Carmen Rivera, held an award ceremony for the third, fourth and fifth graders from Waterford Elementary for participating in the Drug Awareness poster contest. This year’s theme was Be Kind to Your Mind — Live Drug-Free.

Students ages 8 to 11 worked closely with art teacher Donna Lindsay and Rivera. They watched a video on drug awareness, and Lindsay and Rivera talked to them about how drugs are harmful and can cause serious illness. Many students participated, but the top 13 students’ artwork captured their unique thought process and messages through art.


The first place winner, Elsie Hibbard, received $100. She said, “I wanted others to see how black and gray your life can turn when you don’t have a mind of your own.” Then she said that she wanted to make something better for her life. She shows how pretty light and color can bring love of self and those around her. 


The second place winner, Jagger Bohne, received $75. Jagger made a creative drawing, showing how unhappy a person could be with drugs and how wonderful life can be without drugs.


The third place winner, Britney Villafana, received $50. She drew a picture of Jesus with a replica of her dog with a sign saying not to do drugs. Her message was that drugs lead to death and she shows how sad her dog would be without her. Rivera spoke to her mother, Dariana Cruz, who was so surprised and proud of her artwork. She said that when her daughter mentioned the project, she didn’t think twice about it. Then when she saw the artwork on display in the ceremony, she was brought to tears. She hopes that her daughter and all the children remember this contest for the rest of their lives. She thanked the Elks for this project and for making children’s future a priority to keep the country clear of drugs for a better tomorrow.

Rivera shared that “the students enjoyed the presentation and submitted wonderful messages. I had students who expressed how alcohol and drugs were affecting their lives. The staff and I were able to work together and connect them with our school counselors. It’s sad to see these kids so young having to suffer without a parent or knowing someone who died from drug overdose. My message to them as a deputy is to stay away from drugs/alcohol and don’t listen or hang out with friends who will steer you in the wrong direction. Follow the right road and you will succeed and make a beautiful life for yourself and our country.”

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Pictured in the front row are Emily Hamilton, Jullian Rivera, Phoenix Swonger, Rosie Hibbard, Elsie Hibbard, Jagger Bohne, Britney Villafana, Graham Roberts, Mariana Green and Victoria Zambrano. In the second row are Master Deputy Carmen Rivera, Lodge Drug Awareness Education Chair; Donna Lindsay, art teacher; Tiara Chimen-Chavez; Alexia Baptiste; Danielle Arbelaez-Willis, principal; and Nylela English.


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Members of the Jacksonville Elks Lodge #221 Americanism Committee volunteered with the Parent Teacher Association of Waterleaf Elementary Oct. 25 for the Student of the Month awards ceremony. Safety patrol members began the day by raising the American flag. Volunteers passed out “Honor our Flag” decals, children’s guides to the Pledge of Allegiance, and Drug Awareness red ribbons to children and parents in the morning car line. They set up snacks for the Star Students, hand painting and decorating. Elroy the Elk celebrated Red Ribbon Week by providing Drug Awareness literature. Fang, the Jacksonville Icemen’s mascot, also attended. The event included the Pledge of Allegiance, a moment of silence and the national anthem, sung by the Waterleaf Wolves chorus.

Pictured are students raising the flag; future Elk Eli Smith passing out red ribbons; safety patrol members; and Elroy, a Star Student and Fang.


2714 golf

On Oct. 14, Sebastian Elks Lodge #2714 supported the Sebastian Police Department COPE Unit’s third annual golf tournament with a $1,200 donation and registering two teams to play. Lodge members also ran the 50/50 and chance auction. 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.

Pictured are Pauline Talbott, FLOE President; Mary Ducharme, Sebastian Ladies Treasurer; Dan Talbott, Exalted Ruler; Officer Donald Hart; and Lesa Darnell.