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Florida Elks News Editor:
Rachael King
Entire contents copyright 2022 by the
Florida State Elks Association Inc.
P.O. Box 49
Umatilla, FL 32784-0049

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2731 Merla

On June 2, the Zephyrhills Lodge Veterans Committee used grant funds from the Elks National Foundation for a “welcome home” package for veteran Merla McDaniel as she begins her life in her new home. The lodge completely furnished her home with everything from bedroom to living room to kitchen. Lodge members Larry Decena, Ron Ellison, and Ken Fabiani, PER, Veterans Chair, assisted with this project. Pictured are McDaniel and Fabiani.


1224 PEST

P.E.S.T. Relief International (Professionals Empowering, Sustaining and Transforming), a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2013 by Andrea Hancock after a mission trip to Honduras, is comprised of professionals in the pest management industry who bring comfort and relief to those experiencing homelessness through safe shelter, nutrition, education, and physical and emotional health. On June 17, P.E.S.T. donated 100 backpacks with hygiene kits to St. Petersburg Lodge which in turn distributed them to C.W. Bill Young Veterans Hospital to issue to the veterans. The kits contained essentials such as soap, washcloth, deodorant, shaving cream and razors, toothpaste and toothbrush, socks, nutritional health bars, and a face mask. Each backpack is waterproof and may be the only item a veteran has to put their belongings into while in transition. The value of the backpacks was $2,600. Pictured are Jewels Warren of P.E.S.T.; Toni Goodrich, PDD, Lodge Secretary; and Andrea Hancock, P.E.S.T. founder.


On May 15, Armed Forces Day, Palm Coast Elks Lodge #2709 conducted a picnic to fundraise for the Florida Elks’ Army of Hope and conducted a jobs-like fair to recruit volunteers in the lodge and community. In attendance were Rudy and Dolly Masi, Florida State Elks president and first lady; Vic McClellan, Army of Hope Grants Chair, and his wife, Peggie; Melissa Holland, Palm Coast mayor; and George Hanns and Greg Hansen, county commissioners. Table were set up for the Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Operations Center, Flagler Cats, and every Elks national and state major project. Also in attendance were Alexandra Perez, Florida Elks state Hoop Shoot champ, and Communications Specialist McKenzie Davis, Florida Elks’ First Responder of the Year in the Support Services category. Coastal Florida Police and Fire Pipes and Drums and the Florida Elks Drug Awareness trailer were also on hand.


1352 VA

On May 5, West Palm Beach Elks Lodge #1352 donated backpacks filled with canned goods, socks, underwear, toothpaste, toothbrush, gift coupons and other accessories to the VA hospital in West Palm Beach, Florida. These were purchased from the Elks National Foundation Focus Grant. Pictured are Mr. Jones, VA helper; Tim Hadsell, lodge member; and Minia Cain, Exalted Ruler.



On June 12, Delray Beach Elks Lodge #1770 hosted an event celebrating National Women’s Veterans Day. Two World War II veterans were given special honors, and several more deserving women joined in the ceremony. They all received a framed plaque commemorating their service to the country. The Atlantic High School Junior ROTC and the Mayor of Delray Beach participated as well, and speeches were made. A motorcycle brigade accompanied the distinguished guests. Most of the lodge’s officers attended, too. Pictured are the Atlantic High School Junior ROTC in the back and the women veterans from Delray Beach and neighboring communities.


2378 blankets

On June 15, Paul Colicci, Englewood Lodge Veterans Chair, and Joyce Sousa delivered 66 blankets that were crocheted by the Englewood Ladies of Elks for the Veterans Homeless Coalition in Port Charlotte, Florida. They were warm and colorful and they were gratefully accepted by staff member Mary Lou and another member of the staff. Pictured are Mary Lou, Colicci and Sousa.


2378 Springs of Biscayne North Port  2378 Heritage Oaks Englewood

2378 Englewood Rehab  2378 Grand Villa Englewood

2378 Brookdale Assisted Living Rotonda West  2378 Sssprings of Biscayne North Port

Paul Colicci, Englewood Elks Lodge’s Veterans Chair, and Joyce Sousa delivered 3 gallons of ice cream plus toppings for veterans at each of the area facilities on Memorial Day, May 31. Because of the pandemic, the veterans could not come to the lodge for their regular luncheons, so the activities directors and some of the veterans accepted the treats at the residences, and they were very grateful, as always. Pictured are deliveries at Sunset Village in Venice, Heritage Oaks in Englewood, Englewood Rehab, Grand Villa in Englewood, Brookdale Assisted Living in Rotonda West and Springs of Biscayne in North Port.


2672 packs

Using funds from their Elks National Foundation Freedom Grant, South Hillsborough Elks Lodge #1676 donated backpacks to the Special Operations Wounded Warrior Foundation (SOWW). Also, $1,300 was donated to the fill the backpacks. This organization is dedicated to honoring the sacrifice of Special Operations personnel of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. who have lost their lives in the line of duty or are severely wounded and hospitalized because of wounds sustained in combat. They do this to ensure that the surviving children have assistance with their education and scholarships. Pictured are Joyce Domnick Schaefer, lodge grant coordinator; Gary Aquno, director; Edith Rosenthal, scholarship director; Steve Conrad, Exalted Ruler; and Ned Letts, lodge grant project manager.


Sarasota South Elks Lodge #2495 donated 96 backpacks filled with a hat, Chapstick, flashlights, travel hygiene packs, travel first aid kits, baby wipes, toenail clippers, socks and roll blankets to Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JFCS) of the Suncoast. These backpacks were greatly appreciated by the unhoused veterans attending the Stand Down event June 26.


Between April 5 and May 31, Viera Elks Lodge #2817 provided furniture for nine veterans transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing at a total of $1,350. They also donated 30 stick vacuums and fishing poles for veterans in their new homes at a cost of $473. In addition, the lodge spilt the security deposit for a veteran’s apartment with Cocoa and Merritt Island lodges at an amount of $258.33. All funds were provided from Viera Lodge’s Elks National Foundation Focus Grant.


1872 petals

On June 20, Florida Keys Lodge hosted its annual Father’s Day event. The well-attended event raised over $500 for the lodge-sponsored Vets on the Water program. The mission of Vets on the Water is to provide an uplifting, positive experience through outdoor, environmental and healthy activities that promote the welfare and happiness of veterans. Lodge members Paulette McNamara and Brian Sayre, Inner Guard, toss petals into the bay in memory of fathers everywhere.



On March 29, Miami Elks Lodge #948 awarded a $7,000 check to Capt. Branson Rector of Veterans Ocean Adventures. A $3,500 Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant with matching grant funds from the Florida State Elks Association made the donation possible. Veterans Ocean Adventures provides veterans with disabilities the opportunity to engage in scuba diving, snorkeling, paddleboarding, kayaking and sailing while and feeling the healing power of the water. Pictured are Harold "Bill" Bang, 2021-2022 Exalted Ruler; Captain Rector; and Jeffrey Muehlfeld, PDD, 2020-2021 Exalted Ruler.