Happy 2021, Florida State Elks Association (FSEA), and welcome to a great year! We all have had our challenges in 2020 at many levels and I think it is safe to say many of our “opportunities” were stressful. That being said, we as Elks will continue to show resilience and set the bench mark for other fraternal and civic organizations. We must seize the moment to make a difference in people’s lives by showing positive progress with positive attitudes. Who could better serve your communities and help move forward than our members? Now more than ever, it is time to Be Loud, Proud and Visible.
As we navigate our way through the perils of the coronavirus pandemic, your FSEA and affiliates have adjusted and delivered. Your therapists, under Colleen Gallant’s supervision, have resumed in-home visits to treat their patients after many months of virtual visits. What a great day it is for our children under treatment to have their friend and therapist back personally. Our Florida Elks Youth Camp, under Nick Miller’s direction, spent the time upgrading your facility and completing some maintenance items that were needed while waiting on the children to resume camp visits. While our FSEA office is still making the transition to being on campus from remote worksites, they have been totally functional with the oversight of Carl Seibert, COO/State Secretary. What a fine group we have watching our association and major projects. Please take the time when you see them to show your appreciation. They exemplify flexible planning and execute it successfully.
We were able to have our midyear convention in Tampa, Florida, in mid-November without incident. Our Grand Lodge Public Relations & Membership Manager, Rick Gathen, attended and made a presentation on our new option of dues payments which will save your lodge time and money at no cost to you. Check out the details on elks.org. We practiced the safety guidelines and had a fantastic convention. Those who could attend had the opportunity to enjoy some fellowship and education. We missed many who could not attend and hope everyone makes plans to attend our February quarterly. Our Grand Exalted Ruler/National President, Paul Ryan, and his wife, Stacey, will be our honored guests. Come join us and welcome our first family.
2021 will present many positive opportunities, not to mention the vaccine, and we should welcome the opportunities. In my opinion, many people will be looking for a purpose to help and to find friends after being in a shut-down mode for many months. This is the time we can grow our order and help people in one easy process. Let people know who we are and what we do and that we need and want their help. Growing membership will be a major challenge to our order and we need your support more than ever. Be resilient and progressive.
Bob Grafton, PNP, FSEA Co-sponsor; Sandra and I hope all of you and your families had a happy holiday season and we look forward to spending a great year with you. Be safe and be well!
Michael F. Smith, PNP
Florida State Elks Association