John T. Gifford moved to the area now known as Vero Beach in the late 1800’s. Gifford obtained permission from the U. S. Postal Service to establish a post office here and named the community after his wife, Vero. It lies in Indian River County.
Years passed and the Vero Beach Community grew, along with the state of Florida, the U.S., and the world in general. The Florida State Elks Association, Inc. was founded as a non-profit corporation in 1904. Thereafter, communities in Florida started establishing lodges which became members of the State Association.
The Vero Beach Elks Lodge #1774 was established as the 49th lodge in Florida on March 23, 1949. Original officers were installed on April 27, 1949, with H. L. Wasson as its first Exalted Ruler and 66 Charter Members. The Lodge is located in the city of Vero Beach in Indian River County and is within the Southeast Central District of the Florida Elks Association.
During its 66 years in existence, the Vero Beach Lodge has been a leader in charitable and service endeavors in the Vero Beach community. Annually, the Lodge holds numerous civic and community-benefit events/activities. Some are…
- Annual Hoop Shoot
- Annual Christmas Party for underprivileged children of Wabasso School. This special education school serves children with physical and emotional disabilities throughout the county.
- Annual “Toys for Tots Drive,” including fundraising dinner/dance.
- Annual multiple fundraising events for the “St. Patrick’s Day Parade.”
- Annual Harry-Anna Valentine’s Ball to raise funds for the Florida Children’s Therapy Services.
- Annual Scholarships to deserving local high school students.
- Annual donations to the “Army of Hope,” which supports local Vets and their families.
- Annual fund drive to provide school supplies to underprivileged children in the area.
- Monthly shipments of cookies to U.S. soldiers overseas.
- In 2014 the Vero Beach Lodge inaugurated its “Annual Autism Camp” by sending one autistic child and one of his/her parents to the Elks Youth Camp for five days.
- Elks Love Kids Of Character Program at Vero Beach Elementary School.
After being severely damaged by Category 4 Hurricanes Frances and Charley (the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since Hurricane Andrew) and Hurricane Jeanne (the 12th deadliest storm in the Atlantic hurricane history ever and the 13th costliest hurricane in U.S. history) within six weeks of each other in 2004, lodge membership dropped to around 300 members. Since then, thanks to the incredible efforts of our members, our membership has grown to over 900 members. This strong steady growth has earned us, for the 9th year in a row, the award for “Continuous Positive Growth in Lodge Membership – 2006-2015″ presented at the State Convention in May, 2015.
Yes, Vero Beach may be a small town, but the Vero Beach Elks Lodge is a BIG contributor to the community and its citizens. We are proud!
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