Elks scholarships are more than just a check; they’re an opportunity to join a community of service-minded peers and connect to a network of Elks across the country who make the scholars feel at home wherever they are. The Alum of the Year Award is given to a scholar who gives back to that community, and this year’s winner barged right in.Erika Barger won a Legacy Awards scholarship in 2006, when she was sponsored by Ormond Beach, Fla., Lodge No. 2193. In 2008, Barger joined the Lodge that sponsored her scholarship, continuing a family tradition that goes back nearly 100 years.
“As a fourth-generation Elk, I strive to continue my family’s legacy in the organization by helping to make a small difference in my community through the Elks and beyond,” says Barger.
Barger was part of the inaugural Scholar Advisory Board when it was founded in 2009, and she served on the board for four years. Barger has done it all. She’s hosted Elks Scholar Meet-Ups at her college attended Elks Scholar Service Trips, and volunteered at a Lodge more than 3,000 miles from her home while interning with the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate Generals Corps.
In 2014, when she was serving as her Lodge’s Exalted Ruler, Barger used a scholar Cornerstone grant to enhance the Lodge’s annual holiday party, where four other Elks scholars volunteered to make the event a success.
Now, Barger serves as her Lodge’s Scholarship Chair.
“Chairing the Scholarship Committee at my local Lodge for many years has permitted me to engage with the next generation of Elks and to recruit much-needed talent to our great Order,” says Barger.
Congratulations to Erika Barger on being the ENF’s Alum of the Year.