Utilizing the Elks National Foundation Impact Grant, Holley-Navarre Elks Lodge #2787 has been working with the local Veterans Affairs office to provide home kits for veterans who are moving into an apartment. On Feb. 20, the lodge made its second contribution (five kits). Their donations now total 15 kits at $3,000. Kits include an 83-piece kitchen essentials set (pots, pans, storage, plates, eating and cooking utensils, etc.) along with a vacuum, cleaning supplies and coffee maker. Boxes also include a listing of all Elks lodges in the district. Pictured loading the boxes are Thomas "TJ" Carey, Charles Mussari and Ben Gray.
On Jan. 24, Zephyrhills Lodge presented 45 blankets to the veterans at Baldomero Lopez State Veterans Nursing Home made by the lodge’s group known as the Happy Hookers. Yarn is donated to the Veterans Committee and the women spend hours making these quilts. Pictured are Dee Mauro, lodge member; Joanna Snee, Baldomero Lopez State Veterans Nursing Home Activities Director; and Ken Fabiani, PER, Veterans Chairman.
Zephyrhills Lodge helped its 31st veteran, Joseph Booker, Jan. 20 as he begins life in his own home. He was given a television, microwave, dining table and chairs, dresser, lamps, coffee maker, coffee, pots, pans, dishes, cups, glasses, silverware, bath towels, kitchen towels, linens, pillows, blankets, and two recliners. Pictured are Bryan Fox, volunteer; Steve Czerneski, member; Booker; and Ken Fabiani, PER, Veterans Chairman.
St. Petersburg Elks Lodge #1224 donated $250 to Marine Corps League Detachment 57. The lodge was one of the sponsors of the MCLD 57 annual West Coast National Veterans Salute Benefit car and truck show that was held Nov. 23 at the St. Petersburg College Seminole Campus. The car show was open to all makes and models. Judging began at 11 a.m. and awards were presented at 2 p.m. There were two best of show awards in 39 classes plus 25 overall best of shows. The Marine Corps League perpetuates the traditions and spirit of all Marines and Navy FMF Corpsmen. Detachment 57 provides short-term financial assistance on an emergency “as needed” basis to veterans.
On Jan. 16, Zephyrhills Lodge gifted home furnishings to a 30th veteran, John Jackson, as he moved into his own home. They included a microwave, television, antenna, dining table with four chairs, dresser, lamps, coffee maker, pots, pans, dishes, cups, glasses, flatware, bath towels, kitchen towels, shower rod, shower curtain, sofa bed and recliner. Pictured are Mike Kelley, Tampa Crossroads veterans’ case worker; Jackson; PER Ken Fabiani, Lodge Veterans Chairman; and Tom Pete and Shirley and Richard LeClair, members.
On Jan. 8, Plant City Elks Lodge #1727 presented Adam Marasco a check for $1,500 from the Florida Elks Army of Hope program. This will help him attend a summer program that will prepare him for a career in medicine. His father is 1st Sgt. Patrick Marasco who served 23 years and did three tours in the Middle East. His mother, Deann Marasco, was a family readiness coordinator for 15 years. Pictured with Adam is Judy Wise, District Veterans Services Chairman.
On Jan. 11, Zephyrhills Elks Lodge #2731 furnished the home of Glenn Ranger, one of the many veterans moving out on their own to start a new life. He received a microwave, television, antenna, dining table, four chairs, dresser, lamps, coffee maker, coffee, pots, pans, dishes, cups, glasses, silverware, bath towels, kitchen towels, shower rod, shower curtain, linens, pillows, blankets, sofa and recliner. Pictured are Mike Hanley whose home was previously furnished by the lodge; Steve Czerneski, member; Ranger; and Ken Fabiani, PER, lodge Veterans chairman. Not pictured is Tom Pete, member.
On Jan. 3, a group of Brandon Elks, Past Exalted Rulers, Ladies of Elks and visiting Elks spent the morning with veterans of the spinal cord unit of the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital. The visit showed them that they are never forgotten. Bags of gifts were given to each veteran, and cookies and treats were left at each nurse’s station to let them know how much their service to the veterans is appreciated. The event was planned by Lodge Veterans Chairman, Robin Rutzke, right, who is retired from the Air Force, and Vice President of the Brandon Ladies of Elks, Millie Marrero, left. With them is Orion N. Geib, spinal cord injury unit administrator.
Tammy Riley, member; Sharon Hammersla, PER; Robin Rutzke, Veterans chairman; Millie Marrero, Ladies Vice President; Charlene Hart, Ladies member; Grace Weigand, Ladies member; Julie Ebert, Ladies member; Mary Lou Scribner, PER; and Richard Clark of Seattle Lodge #92
St. Petersburg Lodge donated $5,000 to Historic Programs to take veterans who have never been able to visit the national memorials in Washington, D.C., constructed to honor the service and sacrifice of their brothers and sisters in arms. Various parades and ceremonies were held during their visit which took place Nov. 7-10. Forty Elks veterans (two WWII, two Korea, 36 Vietnam) and 13 caregivers attended these events from the following districts – C, SSE, NW, SW, SSW, SEC, WC, EC, SE and NC – and lodges – Aripeka, Crestview, Kissimmee, Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota, Largo, Naples, Ocala, Punta Gorda, West Palm Beach, St. Petersburg, Stuart-Jensen, Tampa and Zephyrhills. The Elks provided a veteran speaker for each war. VPAL Rudy Masi Sr. spoke on behalf of the Florida State Elks Association. The donation paid all the expenses of three veterans including accommodations, air fare, memorial visits and meals.
As Plant City Lodge Veterans Chairman, Judy Wise is in touch with the 1st Sergeant and Commander of the Armory. The family services volunteer called to ask if the Elks would be able to serve a catered Christmas lunch to the National Guard at the Plant City Armory. Wise always uses these opportunities to also let them know about the Army of Hope. On Dec. 7, Wise along with her husband and Americanism chairman, Ed Wise, and new members Michael and Eva Butler served the meal.
Lake Okeechobee Elks Lodge #2871 used their Elks National Foundation Impact Grant for their fifth veterans’ stand down given out before Christmas to local veterans in need.
On Dec. 24, Zephyrhills Lodge furnished the home of Orlando Houston, the 27th veteran moving into independent living and starting a new life. On Dec. 28, Zephyrhills Lodge furnished the home of Delroy and Jeanene and their 2-year-old son, Jamie. Members Tom Pete and Ken Fabiani, PER, delivered the items including a microwave, television, dining table, four chairs, dresser, lamps, coffee table, end tables, coffee maker, coffee, pots, pans, dishes, cups, glasses, silverware, bath towels, kitchen towels, shower rod, shower curtain, linens, pillow and blankets.