Veterans Committee August 2022

Lakeland Lodge 1291 never ceases to amaze! The Veterans Flag Sale Fundraiser started off slow but finished with a bang just before the 4th of July deadline. The $1000.00 goal was met!! Our members are truly the best!

The 4th of July was a great success! Steve Masterton, PER cooked and ran the kitchen along with Scott Lewis and Anne Marie Wendel. Marla Sale cooked and donated the potato salad, Vickie Crosby made and donated the coleslaw and the corn was donated by Shannon Benzel and Char. A special thank you goes to them and a few others who volunteered at the event. Penny Deig, Kristen Francks, Len and Pauline Craighead, Sandy Fuschetti, Carrie Howard and Hank Cobb. I cannot say it enough…volunteers are the key to our functions. Thank you again! In total the event raised just over $2,900.00.

While they are still on restrictions from visiting the lodge we are reminding the Medical Foster Veterans that Lakeland Elks are thinking of them. Penny Deig crafted a therapy tool/toy for them and we sent it along with a short note to Kathryn for her to distribute to the veterans. We also granted a wish of one patient to be able to go to the movies by providing a $50 gift card to the movie theater. I am sharing Kathryn’s email:


“TEAM…. The Lakeland Elks continue to spread the ❤, joy, and connection to their brothers/sisters in arms. We were able to send this little bit of “community connection” to all of our Lakeland Medical Foster Veterans for the upcoming Holiday. So sweet to have this camaraderie albeit from a distance from such a giving organization.

REC Therapy uses these gifts in treatment for cognitive and, if the Veteran is able, for fine motor skills to write you notes. Great opportunities for discussing positive experiences in our lives. We ALL can use a little bit of such sweetness. Happy 4th everyone! ❤ Kathryn”



Remember to SAVE THE DATE for our Annual Veteran Silent Auction & Dinner which will be on Friday 11/11/22. We are actively working on donations, both auction items and monetary. Please contact Char or Kristen if you can help with a donation or if you want to assist with the event.

“So long as there are veterans, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks will never forget them.”

Char and Kristen

Fundraiser results…

December 2021 Fundraiser

We are very excited about our recent fundraiser that was held on Friday November 12th. We sold out of tickets and served 130 meals that evening.

We’d like to thank Bob and Cindy Peabody who did an amazing job on the BBQ ribs! They were definitely award winning ribs. Thank you to Steve Masterton, PER and Phil Lawson for all of their hard work in the kitchen and with the side dishes. Dessert was compliments of Anne-Marie Wendel. Raffle baskets were a big hit. We need to thank Anne-Marie Wendel and her friend Margaret Carter who went above and beyond and donated 12 raffle baskets. Sandy Fuschetti, Cathy Swann and Alice Murray also need to be thanked for their basket donations. Penny Deig and Hank Cobb took charge of the 50/50, and you couldn’t miss them in their festive hats with flashing lights.

Due to generous donations from our members and event volunteers, we had numerous silent auction items. A special thank you and shout out to Vicki Wolf for taking the lead with the auction. Her dedication, drive and determination was behind raising the most funds possible. We also want to thank all volunteers that helped with this event. There are too many to list, but you know who you are. We have the best team ever and this was all made possible by everyone working together.

We are extremely excited to announce that for this event weekend, the total of auction items, raffles, 50/50, member donations, corporate donations and additional donations we have raised $22,117.00. This has been our largest amount raised for veterans in lodge history. This could not have happened without the support of everyone involved, all volunteers and of course, our wonderful lodge members!

We are now able to continue our work as Elks and assist veterans. Thank you to everyone at 1291 for all of your support, assistance and generosity.
Char and Kristen

Committee Report May, 2021

We are just beginning to get started. Saturday May 15th, was our Armed Forces Day event, and what a fantastic event. The meal was catered by Carrabbas, and the entertainment was provided by our own Mark Hussey. Mark did an outstanding and amazing job. He provided interesting and fun facts on some “big name” veterans throughout the evening and his music kept the crowd moving all night long. He donated his tips for the evening back to our veterans fund. THANK YOU Mark, for a wonderful evening and for all that you do!

The kitchen volunteers, Steve Masterton, Anne Marie Wendel, Johnny Francks, Patty Strickland, Karen Hervey, Ryann Sands, and Cathy Swann plated and served flawlessly. A special thank you goes to them and a few other volunteers from the evening, Alice Murray, Vicki Baker, Justin Troller, Ann Murray, Scott Lewis, Kristen Francks and Christy Frady. Volunteers are the key to our functions and this group did a spectacular job at this event. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

As the deadline for this article is due, we are still waiting to confirm a final number, but it appears that after expenses, our first fundraiser brought in $2,065.00! So, again, a huge thank you, to you, the members for making this possible. Lakeland Lodge has the best members that continue to amaze with their support and generosity!!

Our next veteran event will be a Fourth of July picnic. See our flyer for details.

“So long as there are veterans, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, will never forget them.”
Here’s to another great year,

Char and Kristen

Committee Report February 2021

Lakeland Veteran Center Beverage Donation  

On February 16, 2021 the Lakeland Elks Lodge donated just over $700.00 of drinks and accessories to the Lakeland Veteran Center, that included 15 cases of soda, 10 cases of Gatorade, 8 cases of water, 1 case of Splenda, 1 case of sugar, 6 boxes of liquid creamer cups and 10 boxes of 100 count K-cup coffee pods. 

The drinks provide a necessary comfort item for the veterans to use during their meetings and therapy sessions and alleviates the need for the veteran to provide their own as the center does not have a budget for these items.

Pictured from Lakeland Veteran Center (from left) are: Yolanda Crosby, Greg Phipps and Sherri’ Pritchett Veterans Outreach Specialist


Donation to James A Haley VA Hospital

Lakeland Elks Lodge 1291 worked with the James A Haley VA Hospital to assist them with some of their most recent needs.  The lodge donated just over $5,000.00 of much needed items on February 25, 2021.  The Voluntary Services Department, which includes permanent, long term patients, and homeless veterans was provided with 66 pair of reading glasses, 46 pair of M&W’s (men’s and women’s)slide sandals; 60 pair M&W’s sweatpants; 58 pair M&W’s sweatshirts; 76 pair M&W’s shorts; 106 M&W’s t-shirts; 34 laundry bags.

The Recreational Therapy Department, which includes poly trauma, spinal cord injury, dementia and Alzheimer’s patients was provided with blue tooth speakers; laser tag games; 24 packs of 24 colored pencils; 8 Fidget/Memory loss blankets; 26 large print coloring books; 13 Alzheimer memory activities; 8 board games; 6 Wii games; 40 large print crossword and word search books; 14 paint with water books and paint brushes; 14 large piece wooden puzzles. 

All of these items will assist hundreds of veterans in their care and treatment.

Pictured from left, Shelby Schoenborn of Voluntary Services, Steve Masterton, PER Lakeland Elks, Geoff Hopkins of Recreational Therapy Services and John McArthur Lakeland Elks

Committee Report December 2020

Christmas Donation to James A Haley Veteran Hospital Foster Veteran Program.

On December 9, 2020 we donated just over $1,200.00 to the James A Haley VA Hospital Medical Foster Home Program.  This included a $50 gift card and an oversized throw/blanket for 18 Foster veterans that are in this program. 

The gifts were truly appreciated, as quoted from Kathryn Bryant, CTRS, CBIS, their program director  “Thank you  ALL so much for your generous gifts; the blankets will be sure to keep us warm and cozy and the money will give us independence to spread some of our own Holiday cheer or give an opportunity to purchase a much needed item or two.   Thank you Thank you Thank YOU Lakeland Elks ❤  We know we are remembered and much appreciate our continued support from YOU ALL.  Have a very special Holiday season!  Love, the VA Home Based Primary Care Medical Foster Veterans 😊 “

Foster Veterans Gifts

(l-R) Kathryn Bryant, CTRS, CBIS of James A Haley Hospital and Char Fisher, Lakeland Elks Veterans Committee Chair


Lunch Provided For Patients at James A Haley Veterans Hospital

On Friday December 18, 2020, we delivered a Christmas lunch to the Spinal Cord Injury Department at James A Haley VA Hospital.  We worked with Geoff Hopkins the Supervisor of Recreation Therapy & Creative Arts Therapy and followed their COVID restrictions to feed 80 patients a Chick-Fil-A lunch.  We also sent signed Christmas cards and candy canes to be distributed with each meal to give the veterans some holiday cheer.

Chick Fil A Lunch

Standing Lakeland Elks Steve Masterton, PER and Char Fisher Veteran Committee Chair, with Geoff Hopkins Supervisor of Recreation Therapy & Creative Arts Therapy at James A Haley Hospital


Update July 31

Vet update 7 31

Committee Update Feb 2020

Happy New Year from the Veterans Committee. At the December 11th spaghetti dinner, we were able to present to Kathryn and the James A Haley Foster Veterans a donation of a $1,100.00 in gift cards. Each patient in the program received a $50.00 gift card. Penny Deig made a Christmas Elf cardholder for each gift card. Each patient also received a personal care package of toiletries, socks, candy, and puzzles donated and put together by Dan Wait and the Sandpiper Community. All of the patients in the program were truly surprised and appreciative of the gifts

The Sandpiper Community put together 97 care packages. We will be donating the extras directly to the hospital for their homeless veteran programs.

We were also able to donate to the Lakeland Veterans Center. We provided $500.00 in gift cards and addi­tional gifts totaling $117.00, all going to veterans who were struggling for the holidays. Elks helping local veterans in need is truly rewarding.

The James A Haley Foster Care Veteran Program is looking for volunteers to visit with the shut in veterans in their program. Volunteers would determine how often they would visit. All volunteers must participate in the hospital’s approval process. Please contact Char, if you are interested in volunteering.

We would like to thank all of you for your help and support.

Char and Kristen

Veterans Committee update May 2019

Veterans Committee
As we write this, our celebration of Armed Forces Day is approaching, and it will be past,
by the time this article is printed. We would like to thank the McCoy Team, their helpers
and all the volunteers who helped with this event. A big thank you, to everyone who at-tended and supported. Our Lodge never ceases to amaze and impress.

Our next event is a Fourth of July picnic. See our flier for details.

Flight to Honor Mission #5 was April 30. Our Foster Veteran, Joe, and our members Pat
and Thelma Mahanna were able to attend. A special thanks to the Elk Riders, Duke and
Martha Schneider, and Penny Deigs for helping to welcome them back from their flight at
Lakeland Linder Airport.

The spaghetti meal on the second Wednesday each month has become a regularity with
our Foster Veterans from James A Haley Hospital. We would like to thank everyone who
over the months have taken time to assist them in and out of the lodge, and with serving
them. It is truly an example of Elks caring. Anyone who wants to assist them, please con-tact Char. We want to give a special thanks to John Read for donating dessert to them on
numerous occasions, Penny Deig for cards and crafts for them and to Steve Masterton for
all the extra that he does at these visits. These veterans truly enjoy their short visits with
us and it means a lot to them. We continue to encourage members to sit with them, social-ize, and get to know them. A few minutes leaves a lasting impression.

“So long as there are veterans, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, will never for-get them.”

Char and Kristen