Donor Event Hits Grand Slam
Through the first half, the 2019 season has been a disappointing one for the St. Louis Cardinals, but on the eve of Opening Ceremonies for the Elks National Convention, a winning team assembled in the Champion’s Club at Busch Stadium for the Elks National Foundation’s annual donor event. The star-studded lineup of donors, volunteers, program recipients, Elks leadership and staff enjoyed an unforgettable evening that knocked every expectation out of the park.

“We’ve been enjoying the ENF Donor Event for the last eight years,” shared Wes Stull, member of Casper, Wyo., Lodge No. 1353. “And we’re absolutely excited for tonight, too!”

As always, the event featured a few brief presentations. Lou Sulsberger, then-Chairman of the ENF Board of Trustees, started the rally by presenting a $10,000 donation in honor of then-Grand Exalted Ruler Mike and Barb Luhr to the BackStoppers, an organization that provides financial assistance to the spouses and dependent children of police officers, firefighters, paramedics and EMTs who lose their lives or suffer a catastrophic injury in the line of duty. The BackStoppers currently provide $1.5 million in assistance to families in the St. Louis area, helping support 80 families and 65 dependent children.

Not surprisingly—for where there is a need, you’ll find Elks—the executive director of the BackStoppers is Ron Battelle, a member of Florissant, Mo., Lodge No. 2316. Battelle couldn’t attend the event, so he sent a BackStoppers board member to receive the gift, Chief Dennis Jenkerson of the St. Louis Fire Department, who is also a member of St. Louis Lodge No. 9.

“I can’t tell you how great this donation is,” Battelle says. “From my heart and every fallen officer’s spouse, thank you very much.”

Representing the Cardinals for the evening was Al Hrabosky, a.k.a. the “Mad Hungarian,” who pitched for the Cardinals, Kansas City Royals and Atlanta Braves over a 13-year career in the Major Leagues. Hrabosky greeted guests, posed for photos, and also thanked the ENF for the donation to the BackStoppers, a program he’s involved with as well.

“You couldn’t have picked a better organization than the BackStoppers,” he continued, “You couldn’t have a better representation of St. Louis than them.”

The ENF's Alum of the Year, Sean Pringle, was also honored during the event. Sean won most a Most Valuable Student scholarship in 2010, and after learning more about the Elks, pledged to join one day. Shortly after graduation, he followed through on that promise, joining Oceano/Five Cities, Calif., Lodge No. 2504, the same Lodge that sponsored his MVS application.

Sean is now serving as the Scholarship Chair for his Lodge and District. He’s also giving back to the ENF as a member of the Fidelity Club, the ENF's monthly giving program.

Sean is excited to continue building bonds between Elks Lodges and Elks scholars and paving the way for the next generation of Elks.

“I look forward to continuing to provide service to my community, and to the Order, as an Elks scholar and an Elks member,” Sean says.

Throughout the evening, the Scholar Advisory Board, Getty Powell winner’s families, Past National Presidents, and other guests enjoyed a behind-the-scenes look at the stadium. They saw the best view in the house in the press box, sat in the dugout, and watched the sun set in the backdrop of the arch.

All good things come to an end, and so the evening closed with the fantastic one-man band playing “Free Bird” … after it was requested for the third time. The stadium emptied and the night ended, until next year when we pick it back up in Baltimore.

To read a full recap from the 2019 Elks National Convention, click here.

To see photos from the Major Donor Event and the rest of Convention, click here. You can download the pictures, too, so don't forget to tag us if you share them on social media!

Want to be invited to next year’s Donor Event?

Join us in Baltimore! Earn your invitation by either donating annually at the Faith level or higher—which you can do for as little as $84 per month through the Fidelity Club—or joining our John F. Malley Society for planned giving. Either way, you’ll be helping Elks build stronger communities while joining a close-knit (and fun!) team of staunch ENF supporters. We’d love to have you.

A 501(c)(3) public charity, the Elks National Foundation helps Elks build stronger communities through programs that support youth, serve veterans and meet needs in areas where Elks live and work.

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