Take a look around Elkdom, and odds are you'll find connections created by Legacy scholars. Meet Legacy scholar, Sagan Kahler, sponsored by her grandfather a member of Aripeka, Fla., Lodge No. 2520. Sagan's journey inspired her parents to rekindle their involvement with the Elks.
John and Jennifer Kahler of Tiffin, Ohio, are the children of Elks.
“My family always enjoyed Elks activities in Midland, Michigan, where I grew up,” says Jennifer.
John also has fond memories of the Elk Lodge family picnics, annual Christmas parties—these events left an imprint on his life. As a young couple, John and Jennifer were active at Tiffin, Ohio, Lodge No. 94. Yet as time passed, the Kahlers drifted from their #ElksFamily.
“The kids got older and we were busy with work,” recalls John. “We started going to the Elks less often. Eventually, I let my membership lapse.”
Fast forward to January 2016, when Sagan submitted her application for the Legacy Awards contest.
“I began thinking more and more about the Elks,” shares Jennifer. “I knew John was working on reinstating his membership, but I strongly felt that I also wanted to be a member myself.”
A few months later, when Sagan was awarded a Legacy scholarship, John and Jennifer pulled the trigger and returned home to the Tiffin Lodge.
The Kahlers return was extremely special. At John’s first meeting, he turned in Jennifer’s application. They knew they were in the right place even before the Lodge historian took them on a tour.
“The highlight for me,” remembers Jon. “Was finding my grandfather’s name on a plaque in the meeting room.”
John and Jennifer’s homecoming was even more memorable because they shared it with Sagan.
After an unforgettable reunion with their #ElksFamily, the Kahlers have stayed involved with the Tiffin Lodge. Sagan has volunteered in the kitchen to serve at the Elks St. Patrick’s Day Dinner. She will serve at the Lodges’ “Kids’ Corner”—a kids’ craft event the Lodge hosts every year at the Tiffin Seneca County Heritage Festival in September. Since joining the Lodge, John and Jennifer have participated in weekly dinners and an Elks golf group.
“I’m looking forward to being a proud Elk for a very, very long time,” shared Jennifer.
Connections created by Legacy scholars are sprinkled across Elkdom. By engaging Elks scholars and their relatives, we can build a stronger #ElksFamily.
For 2017-18, the Elks National Foundation allocated $1.2 million to fund 300 scholarships for the children and grandchildren of Elks. Legacy scholars are required to serve with the Elks once per year to receive scholarship funds. If you know any Elks children who are high school seniors, encourage them to visit enf.elks.org/leg for information, including eligibility and deadlines.