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Rachael King
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Florida State Elks Association Inc.
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Umatilla, FL 32784-0049

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On May 31, Brooksville Elks Lodge donated $1,000 from its Elks National Foundation Freedom Grant to K9 Partners for Patriots. This organization's mission is to prevent veteran suicide and save homeless dogs by partnering the dogs to be trained as veterans’ service dogs. Hope, healing and perseverance are the founding values of the organization. Pictured are Dana Cutlip, lodge grants coordinator; Mike Hughson, Lecturing Knight; Nora Hughson, trustee; Sherry Mackeil, Treasurer; Jane Hussey, Inner Guard; Carr Hussey, Exalted Ruler; and Gregg Laskoski and Mary Peter from K9 Partners for Patriots.


1892 fish

On May 6, 18 members and volunteers of Green Cove Springs Elks Lodge #1892 used a portion of the Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant to host a fishing day for veterans from Clyde E. Lassen State Veterans’ Nursing Home. Twelve veterans, 22 family members and four staff members enjoyed a day fishing from the dock, enjoying the view and having a delicious lunch. The event was coordinated by Rick Kunze, PER.

Pictured are some of the volunteers.


1241 air

On June 26, Sanford Lodge donated five air fryers at a total cost of $500 to Lake Baldwin VA HUD-VASH. The air fryers will be given to veterans who are living in transitional housing prior to permanent housing. This will allow them to have a means of cooking when moved to permanent housing.

Pictured are David Madeux, voluntary service specialist at the VA, and Donald Soderblom, Lodge Veterans Services Chair.


1165 dom

Several members of Live Oak Elks Lodge #1165 made a visit to the Robert H. Jenkins Jr. State Veterans’ Domiciliary Home in Lake City, Florida. They delivered a $1,000 donation from the Elks National Foundation Freedom Grant and also visited with several of the residents who live at the domiciliary. The funds will be used for a social outing day trip for the residents, who have requested to go to the antique car museum. Ed DaSilva, director, said the last trip there was seven years ago and the residents loved it. The veterans were grateful to have the funding to now go again! According to their estimate, they will have enough money left to take a local day trip to Cinema 90 for a second outing.

Pictured are Andy Hillhouse, Exalted Ruler; Bobby Cason, member; Lori Watson, grants coordinator; Ed DaSilva, domiciliary director; two veterans; Donald Watson, PDD; Jamie Pardee, Esquire; and another veteran. 


937 bfast

Using an Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant, Tallahassee Elks Lodge #937 helped fund the cost of breakfast and lunch for a Veterans Stand Down May 20.

Pictured in purple and red shirts are lodge members John Bozeman, Lee Fish, Darlene Dunwoody and Tom Walden. Others pictured are the catering group.


1288 hhs

On June 20, Fort Myers Elks Lodge #1288 awarded $11,500 to Hearts & Homes for Veterans, Inc. The donation came from the Elks National Foundation $1,000 Freedom Grant, $2,500 Gratitude Grant and $4,000 Beacon Grant and the $4,000 matching Beacon Grant from the Florida State Elks Association. The mission of Hearts and Homes is to end homelessness and assist low-income veterans in Southwest Florida.

Pictured at the check presentation are Roger Spencer, PER; Bob Weinberg, Leading Knight; Tom Donoghue, Hearts & Homes president; John Beckett, Exalted Ruler; and David Santini, Hearts & Homes vice president.



On May 29, a Memorial Day tribute was held at Riverview Park in Sebastian, Florida, hosted by VFW Post 10210. Members of Sebastian Elks Lodge and the Ladies auxiliary (EL-DOEs) placed wreaths, which were made by member Carol Vitale, in memory of those who lost their lives. At least 12 lodge members attended. Following the ceremony the members returned to the lodge for a special Memorial Day remembrance and indoor picnic. 

Pictured are Mary Ducharme, Ladies Treasurer; Dan Talbott, Exalted Ruler; and Michael Schodlbauer PDD, Lodge Veterans Chair. 



On May 7, Hollywood West Elks Lodge #2365 hosted the South Southeast District’s Army of Hope picnic, as they have the largest facility and grounds to accommodate many people. This event raised $1,101 to benefit active-duty military personnel and their families. The five lodges in the district joined together to sponsor the picnic, which was open to Elks members. Lodge members donated the food and worked the grill. 

At the day’s check presentation are Paula Slavinski, Delray Beach Lodge trustee; Ron Locke, PDD, Army of Hope State Chair; Charlie Winter, Delray Beach Lodge Army of Hope Chair; Les Nelson, Delray Beach Lodge Exalted Ruler; Gina Albright, Hollywood West Lodge Exalted Ruler; and Jim Blanchard, PDD, Hollywood West Lodge.


1241 pool

On June 12, Sanford Lodge donated an Olhausen regulation-size pool table for the domiciliary at the Lake Nona VA facility. This facility did not have a pool table but now the many veterans residing there will be able to enjoy it! The table, which was donated by a lodge member, was delivered June 12 to the Lake Baldwin VA for transfer to the Lake Nona facility.

Pictured is the pool table being delivered.


1241 leather

Utilizing an Elks National Veterans Service Commission program at no cost to the lodge, Sanford Elks Lodge #1241 donated 200 square feet of bulk leather hide, valued at $4.50 per square foot, and 78 therapeutic craft kits containing leather moccasin craft kits and various wood craft kits, retailed at $2,235, to the Lake Baldwin VA Domiciliary. The veterans plan to create belts with the bulk leather hide and use the various kits to assist in their therapeutic treatment for PTSD. The bulk leather was delivered May 1 and the craft kits were delivered May 16.

Pictured are Mike Weaver, head of Lake Baldwin VA Domiciliary; Fred Holmes, VA volunteer and currently the oldest VA volunteer there; and Donald Soderblom, Lodge Veterans Services Chair.


          2159 Safe Harbor 2 2159 Safe Harbor 3

On June 13, Largo Lodge members went shopping for nonperishable food for Pinellas Safe Harbor, a homeless shelter for veterans and others in Pinellas County. Members spent the lodge’s $2,500 Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant to purchase individually packaged fruit, snacks, water, juices and other nonperishable food.

Pictured are one of the three flats of food. Also pictured are Bob Behm, retired LTC, Lodge Veterans Chair, and Diane Sharp, Exalted Ruler, at the store.


2284 pin

On June 12, New Port Richey Lodge members donated 150 veteran's creed cards, American flag pins and stars cut from retired American flags mounted to thank you cards for a public veterans' pinning ceremony, which was held at a local funeral home. These were given to all the veterans attending the ceremony, and the remaining items were distributed to veterans in local long-term care facilities. The lodge was the only organization besides the funeral home to donate something and was publicly acknowledged for the contribution. Many veterans and members of the public attended. Veterans received a certificate of honor and two pins. The Young Marines presented the colors and government and military dignitaries made speeches. It ended with the playing of taps and was followed by a catered lunch.

Pictured are Elizabeth Groves, lodge member; veteran Victor Pence; and Fred Spages, PER. All are Air Force veterans.