Welcome, New Officers and Committee Members, and Thank You, Outgoing Officers and Committee Members
What a fantastic year the Florida State Elks Association experienced. As members, we all need to give a special thanks to the outgoing officers and committee members who helped achieve outstanding results. Congratulations, PSP Suzi Simonelli, and your awesome team for taking the Florida State Elks Association (FSEA) to a new level of excellence! Certainly our new State President, Dan Tabor, and his wife, Rachel, along with our Vice President at Large, Phil Gersbach, and his wife, Susan, and the officers and committee members have their plates full taking us to the next level. I feel confident they are up to the challenge. We all need to help as we continue to raise the expectations of the FSEA. There is no doubt we have the momentum to accomplish historic growth and achievements.
Consider our support staff and thank them as you see them. Our COO/State Secretary, Carl Seibert, and his competent staff continue to give the backup support in managing our accomplishments. Our major projects continue to be a bench mark for other Elks associations. Colleen Gallant, Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services Director, has our therapists treating over 600 children per week. Nick Miller, Youth Camp Director, has our camp filled with happy children expanding and helping develop their lives. Shannan Wilburn and Jen Scott are promoting numerous activities in the Smith Center. Dan Masi, Development Director, hosted a world-class gala for our work in autism and Laz Suarez makes sure everyone knows about our good deeds and promotes the FSEA statewide. What an extraordinary association we have. BE LOUD.
Membership was challenged in the past few years by the pandemic. Well, we put that behind us not only on our state level but also on the national level. What a resilient organization this is to be a member of. Florida had the third largest gain in membership in the country! We ranked No. 16 in percentage gained at 4.9%! Imagine what we can achieve this year with a little more effort and the momentum we are riding. We are already off to a record-setting pace. Let’s make another huge positive move and become the target for all states to aim to achieve. BE PROUD.
We had another great state convention in Orlando, Florida, and those who attended hopefully enjoyed themselves and became further involved in our order. Thank you, Carl Seibert and staff. Our national convention was held in Atlanta, Georgia, where I had the honor of sponsoring, and I was not only proud of the Georgia Elks Association for the excellent convention but also for the fact that many of our FSEA members volunteered to assist. BE VISIBLE.
I encourage you to remember our State President’s message — “Unity and Dedication Create Success.”
In closing, remember, Elks are never forgotten and never forsaken. Keep the families of PSP Ben Brown Jr. and PSP Larry Henley in your thoughts and prayers.
Bob Grafton, Sandra and I wish all of you health and happiness. God bless all of us!
Michael F. Smith, PNP
Florida State Elks Association