On May 3, Tampa Elks donated more than $500 worth of shampoo, T-shirts, underwear, combs and brushes to James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital for the veterans who have very little and are in need of help. Edie Hanley, lodge member and Elks Deputy Representative to the hospital, had been given a shopping list of requested items by Angela Reinhart, voluntary services coordinator the hospital, and made the purchases.
Pictured are Edie Hanley and Angela Reinhart.
In honor of Women's History Month, Jacksonville Lodge collected 109 nonperishable food items and two $50 grocery gift cards in March and April for the Northeast Florida Women Veterans Inc. Their Operation HandUP program distributes nonperishable food and personal hygiene items to women veterans who are homeless or sleeping in their cars.
Pictured May 1 are Amy and Natalie, staff members; Karen Tracy, Esquire and Lodge Veterans Chair; and Carole Shapley, PER, chaplain.
On March 30, Jacksonville Elks Lodge #221 delivered a Welcome Home Kit to veteran Mike, who was transitioning into his new home. He had been living in his truck while completing the Five Star Veterans Center program. The kit included small appliances and household essentials as well as donated furniture from the lodge, lodge members and a local ministry.
Pictured are David Graham, PER, Exalted Ruler; veteran Mike; and Karen Tracy, Esquire and Lodge Veterans Chair.
Army veteran Ezonlain Gohan and his family moved in to their new home in Tampa, Florida, April 28 with help from Saint Vincent de Paul, the Elks National Foundation and the Zephyrhills Lodge Veterans Committee.
Pictured are the Gohan family and volunteer Howard Lundsford.
Veteran Danny Vickers moved in to his new home in Tampa, Florida, May 1. It was fully furnished with help from the Elks National Foundation Welcome Home Kit and the Zephyrhills Lodge Veterans Committee as well as St. Vincent de Paul. Pictured with Vickers is volunteer Howard Lundsford.
On April 12, VAVS representative Marge Smith and deputy representative Marilee Mills, PER played bingo with 16 veterans residing at Baldomero Lopez State Veterans' Nursing Home. They also donated a $100 a VA stipend to the canteen in the facility so the residents could purchase personal items.
On May 3, St. Petersburg Lodge donated $1,500 worth of baby monitors, playpens, nursing pillows, bottles, onesies and burping cloths to the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System Military Mommies Baby Shower. Lodge members also donated knitted blankets, pacifiers, socks, hats and other items.
Pictured with items purchased using a $1,500 Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant are Heidi Green, Exalted Ruler; Edgardo Solivan, Bay Pines volunteer services specialist; and Johnny Miller, Elks Bay Pines VA representative.
Pictured with items donated by lodge members are Brian Haverfield, Leading Knight, and Heidi Green.
On April 21, Veterans Committee members from Largo Elks Lodge #2159 delivered Welcome Home Kit No. 100 to Bay Pines VA in St. Petersburg, Florida. The veteran who received the kit, her HUD VASH social worker and staff from Voluntary Services were present to accept the delivery from lodge members. Jeanne Reinhart, PDD has worked on this project for several years; Ola Joseph is now assisting her. This project is supported by Elks National Veterans Service Commission.
Pictured are Georgia Greene; Bob Behm, Lodge Veterans Committee Chair; Sandy Behm; Ronald Messer, Bay Pines Voluntary Services assistant chief; Jeanne Reinhart, PDD; Carrie, veteran; Kim Treanor, LCSW; Sonja Lopez, PER, District Vice President; and Ola Joseph. Not pictured is Frank Jones, Voluntary Services chief.
On April 15, Naples Elks Lodge #2010 partnered with Wounded Warriors of Collier County to host 12 veterans in appreciation of their service. The day started with a dockside breakfast before departing from Tin City Dock in Naples, Florida, on Pure Florida’s 43’ Sea Flight. After a day of catching fish and sharing stories, everyone enjoyed lunch, which was provided by the lodge. Geidy Lopez, veterans case manager, assisted in gathering the crew and joined the fishing trip. She also caught the first fish. Funds for this outing were obtained from the $650 that was raised from the sale of Elks shirts and personal donations from Mike Adamski, Antlers coordinator, and Brian Kamp, lodge grants coordinator.
The veterans are pictured on the boat with Geidy Lopez, veterans case manager, front left.
Three veterans from two West Central District lodges assisted 10-year-old Easton Thompson, grandson of St. Petersburg Elks Lodge #1224 members Tippy and Cindy Thompson, with his school project of interviewing local veterans about their experiences. Past State President Rudy Masi Sr. of St. Petersburg Lodge coordinated the lunch event for Easton and the veterans to discuss their time in the military. Easton was thrilled to hear their first-hand stories. World War II veteran Manny Maldonado from Tampa Lodge was a paratrooper serving in the Pacific Theatre. After the war, he was stationed in Japan. World War II veteran Malen Griep from Tampa Lodge was infantry serving in the European Theatre. His unit freed Dachau Concentration Camp. Tripp Baldwin of Holiday Isles Elks #1912 is 82 Airborne serving in Iraq and Afghanistan as a combat medic.
Pictured April 27 are Maldonado, Masi, Easton, Griep and Baldwin.
On April 21, DeLand Elks Lodge #1463 donated more than $700 in support to Wreaths Across America. The event included dinner for more than 50 people from the community, music and a war memorabilia presentation by veterans. The Volusia Young Marines served the meal. Members of the Young Marines are between the ages of 8 and 18. They learn the importance of self-confidence, academic achievement, honoring veterans, good citizenship, community service, and being healthy and drug-free. The organization promotes the mental, moral and physical development of its members. The program focuses on character building and leadership and promotes a lifestyle that is conducive to being productive members of society.
On April 4, Nicolis Yancey moved in to his new home in Clearwater, Florida, after living on the street for more than three years. He was able to get housing, and with support from the Zephyrhills Elks Lodge Veterans Committee and the Welcome Home Kit, he was able to make his home much more comfortable.
Pictured are Yancey and lodge member Allen Turner.
Elias Granda, a Marine veteran, is the 242nd veteran to have their home furnished by the Zephyrhills Lodge Veterans Committee. He moved in to his new home in Brandon, Florida, April 5, with help from lodge members Larry Decena and Ken Fabiani, PER.
On March 31, the St. Petersburg Ladies of Elks Auxiliary (LOEA) supported local veterans with three donations. They gave $2,000 to Bay Pines VA Hospital, $1,000 to the Army of Hope in memory of Peter Lopez, and $1000 to Heaven on Earth for Veterans, an organization that builds and provides housing for veterans.
Pictured are Farrah Pileggi, LOEA Vice President; Carol Barkalow, HOEV founder and Lodge Esquire; Virginia Warfield, LOEA President; and Marlene Evans, LOEA Treasurer.