Community matters. For James McCants, community always matters. Recently, his tireless volunteer service to the community was recognized by the South Miami/Coral Gables Elks Lodge as “Distinguished Civilian of the Year 2014-2015.”
The award was presented to McCants in acknowledgement of his “outstanding and meritorious service to humanity” at the Lodge’s induction of new officers at their location at 6304 S.W. 78 Street, South Miami. The lodge’s new “Exalted Leader” is Philip Bell who took over the duties of office from Richard Del Vecchio.
Following the example of McCants’ mentor, community leader Reverend Green of St. John AME Church, James McCants said, “I decided to do my part as a community resident and take responsibility for the well-being and improvement of our community and to make a profound contribution.”
McCants is the Programs Coordinator for Community Outreach for the City of South Miami. A resident of South Miami since mid-1990, the Richmond Heights native served in the U.S. Air Force and was employed by Miami Dade County, Florida Power and Light, and the Miami Herald.
Realizing that participation in community organizations is one way to make a difference, McCants has brought his expertise and caring to groups focused on issues such as youth development, economic growth, substance abuse, crime, the environment, and healthcare. Among the many groups he continues to work with: Habitat for Humanity, South Miami Alliance for Youth, Rebuilding Together (Senior citizens), Concerned Clergy and Citizens Coalition, Community Action Committee, and Dade County Issues Committee.
The Elks is first and foremost, a community service organization that invests in communities through programs that help children grow up healthy and drug-free, by undertaking projects that address unmet need, and by honoring the service and sacrifice of our veterans. They bestow scholarships with the distinction that they are the second largest donor of youth scholarships in the nation. The Elks provide the number one youth camp in the state of Florida; operate service vans that travel to children in need of therapy; and work with veterans and Scouts.
“We worked with James McCants on several projects and were impressed with him and the way in which our missions meshed,” said Annie Goodrich-Sorgie, executive director of Lodge #1676.
The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks is a fraternal organization that was established over 140 years ago, with over one million members, and 2,000 lodges nation-wide.
Philip Bell, Exalted Leader, said, “The fundamental purpose of the Elks is to provide care and comfort to all members of the community. Lodge #1676 was built in 1951 and is as Goodrich-Sorgie says, a “hidden jewel” in South Miami. The community is encouraged to learn more about the good works performed by the Elk Lodge at <http://elks1676.com> or contact them at (305) 668-1676.
“We are doing good for the community,” said Goodrich-Sorgie.
And so is James McCants, South Miami’s “Distinguished Civilian of the Year.”