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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1727 windspirit

In May, Judy Wise, Plant City Elks Lodge member and District Veterans Services Chair, was contacted by the local National Guard which is aware of the Elks support of and dedication to veterans. The National Guard was asking for help through the Elks Army of Hope for veteran Sergeant Danial Windspirit. Ironically, they were requesting financial support for one of the soldiers previously in Plant City Lodge’s adopted unit that was commissioned to Afghanistan two years ago. Sergeant Windspirit returned home safely from Afghanistan and was successful in starting an excavation business in Ruskin, Florida, and was living a great life with his wife, Rebecca, and their three children. On May 16, he was in an accident while driving home on his motorcycle. An uninsured motorist pulled out in front of him, causing him to lose his left leg. He has since gone through seven operations. Fortunately their bills were current; however, June was going to be a challenge. Nancy Lay, Military and Family Readiness Specialist for the Florida National Guard Family Programs, contacted the lodge asking for financial help on the family’s behalf. They needed $2,948.34 to cover their June living expenses and bills. Wise, who was just presented the Veterans Volunteer of the Year award at the Florida Elks state convention, jumped in and prepared all the necessary paperwork, as this is what the Army of Hope is all about – supporting veterans in financial times of need. Wise requested and received approval for $3,500 to cover other expenses. In the interest of time and so that the check could be deposited immediately to their account to cover their automatic withdrawals for June, Wise presented the check to Rebecca in the parking lot of their credit union in Ruskin, Florida, June 3. Sergeant Windspirit had previously purchased an insurance policy through the National Guard that will also help take care of the family, but the required paperwork and delays due to the pandemic presented a real problem and time was of the essence. Sergeant Windspirit is home and receiving outpatient rehabilitation every day, and they are very thankful for the Florida Elks’ assistance.