We have been very busy this Elk Year in and around our Lodge's hometown of Edgewater Park, NJ.
We played a key role in the 91st Annual Beverly-Edgewater Park Memorial Day Parade as the staging area for the start of the parade. Since our Lodge was founded by a charter membership comprised of mostly Veterans (and close to 50% are Veterans now), this was both an honor and a proud duty for us.
With our Mayor (and Elk) Kevin Johnson leading the charge, the parade was a success to all involved and was a testament of our communities respect for ALL WHO GAVE THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE. Our Lodge was led by our Exalted Ruler Vince Smith Jr. down the parade route and all of us were honored to play a part on this somber day.
We were then the Host Lodge for our District's Annual Flag Day Service at Beverly National Cemetery. With our ER stuck at work, our Leading Knight Harry Dahlmann led the service as the host for the service and did a great job. Our Mayor Kevin Johnson had the perfect words to honor our Orders history in creating the National Holiday and Member Marian Johnson sang a stirring rendition of our National Anthem that left all present in awe.
The Southwest District Americanism Committee also presented the winners of the District Americanism Essay contest with their awards for well thought-out writing skills. We wish each of them the best as well as continued success in the future.
With PER Bill Chappell coordinating our volunteer forces to prep/serve all of the food for breakfast/lunch at the Lodge and PER/Secretary Steve Evert working with everyone to set-up and tear-down the site of the service, the Lodge had a busy day. The large amount of members that sacrificed the day to help make it a success showed all present how well we come together as a Lodge.
The very next day the Lodge held a clean-up day that started a little slowly, but the members really picked it up as the day went along. Despite temps over 90 with 100% humidity and severe thunderstorms that flooded the area, we were able to take care of a lot of needed work on the Lodge grounds and building. Thanks really goes to the leadership of our ER Vince, who was the first one there and really got his elbows dirty in the process.
The end of the school year for our 8th grade Graduates at Ridgeway School saw the Lodge continue its longstanding tradition of awarding 2 students with $100 US Savings Bonds for excellence in social studies. The proudest part for the Lodge was that one of our recent winners in the Americanism Essay contest was also the Valedictorian of the class! And is also related to several Lodge Officers and Members! Congrats!
In the coming months we hope to host a night honoring our local Fireman, EMS and Police Officers. Continue sending several special needs children to Camp Moore. Host Blood Drives. Collect food and donations for Holiday Baskets. Honor our Vets. Continue to diversify with growth of our membership from the area. Keep our status as the #1 ENF per-capita Lodge in the Southwest District. Strive to become closer to each other with our tradition of becoming like Family within our Lodge.
As you can see, we are happy to be a part of our community and it's even better that we are doing it in a way that shows everyone that Elks are there when you need them. Here's to continuing the work of our forefathers and becoming better Elks!