State President's Message
- Written by Frank Malatesta
I would like to say how proud and honored I was to be elected as your President of the Florida State Elks Association. I want to thank everyone for the confidence and trust that you have placed in me. Sally and I will never forget my nomination by Past State President Danny Tabor or the fabulous demonstration that followed on Friday. We give all the credit to Brett Davis and Sarah Wakefield for getting our year off to a running start. I was also pleased that all six of my sisters and brothers, both of our children and all five of our grandchildren were present Saturday to see me installed as your President.
This year with a new format on Saturday combining the major project luncheon and the award banquet, it gave everyone a chance to see firsthand the great work we do with our state programs. Hearing from our scholarship winners and seeing our Hoop Shoot and Soccer Shoot winners makes it a little easier to ask for donations to our Harry-Anna Trust Fund. Everyone was so proud to see and hear from the first responder winners.
My motto this year is “Make the Best Better” and as you can see, our State Secretary, Carl Seibert, and his staff have started the year off by demonstrating this with the new agenda.
We have already had two district visits. The first was the Central District where District Vice President Roger Bristol hosted a great weekend. Sally and I arrived Friday afternoon for a meet and greet at the Orlando Crown Plaza. We had a wonderful dinner at the hotel. After Saturday breakfast we toured the Morse Museum in Winter Park. The tour was very informative about the lovely collections from Louis Tiffany. Lunch was at Panera Bread and was enjoyed by all. Saturday evening dinner was held at Orlando Lodge and was served by Boy Scout Troop #823 sponsored by the lodge. All lodges in the district are working on many youth and veteran programs.
Our next visit was to the South District where we were hosted by District Vice President Helen Garcia. She was the first District Vice President from Key West in 28 years. Sally and I arrived a day early and were able to attend the Flag Day service at Key West Lodge. Past National President Mike Smith was the guest speaker at the ceremony. The service was attended by many Elks and guests including three Past State Presidents. The flags were carried by the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts who are sponsored by the lodge. Friday’s meet and greet was in the Sanctuary Lounge at the Doubletree. Prior to dinner, City Commissioner and Vice Mayor Clayton Lopez presented me with a challenge coin with the seal of the city of Key West on one side and the Conch Republic on the other side. After breakfast in the hotel we were picked up by the Conch Train and given a tour of the city. Everyone enjoyed hearing about the history of Key West. After the tour we went back to the hotel for lunch and a little free time before we were picked up for dinner at the Key West Golf Club House. We enjoyed a delicious dinner and this was well attended by the members of the lodges of the South district. The lodges of the South District are also active in veterans’ programs and youth activities. All have been busy helping with the hurricane cleanup and supporting the first responders by serving many meals to them.
Sally and I along with Tom and Joyce Ludwick are looking forward to seeing many of you as we continue our district visits around our great state. Please come out and support your lodge and district and share with us how you plan to help “Make the Best Better.”
Florida State Elks Association