November is Veterans Remembrance Month. During this time, we as Elks, always do something extra for "America's Heroes" to let them know their patriotism is appreciated and will never be forgotten. It is also appropriate for us to pause, reflect and give thanks for our compassionate and caring Members who continually step forward to help meet the needs of our Veterans and enhance their level of comfort wherever they may be.
During the 1995-1996 fraternal year, the Elks National Veterans Service Commission started the Veteran Volunteer of the Year Program to honor the outstanding men and women among our ranks who work with these Veterans. It gives me great satisfaction to know that we are entering our second decade of recognizing our fellow Elks who go the extra mile in serving our Nation's Veterans.
Please check around your Lodge. If you have a Member that you feel gives extraordinary effort on behalf of our Veterans, nominate that person for Veteran Volunteer of the Year recognition.
In October, we sent out the criteria for this Award to every Lodge. If you have not yet received it, please call the Veterans Service Commission office in Chicago. They will send you another copy.
Send your nominations to your State Veterans Chairman. This individual will collect all nominations and forward them to the State President. They, along with their committee, will select the male and female winners from your state. Get these nominations to them as quickly as possible. Deadline for submission to Chicago for processing these awards is February 28th. Don't let this chance to honor these dedicated volunteers pass you by.
On a final note, I ask that you keep the members of our Armed Forces in your prayers as they continue to serve and protect us. Enjoy your Thanksgiving. We as Americans really have much to be thankful for.
Sincerely and Fraternally,
C. Valentine Bates, PGER, Past Chairman Elks National Veterans Service Commission