Elks.org :: ENVSC: Commission Member Bios

Veterans Programs

Elks National Veterans Service Commission Members 2019-2020


David R. Carr, Chair
David Carr was born and raised in the Village of Port Henry in New York. After completing his four-year Industrial Electronics apprenticeship, he spent 37 years working in industrial electronics and safety. He retired from International Paper in Ticonderoga, NY in 1999.

David was initiated into the Elks in February 1975 in Whitehall, N.Y., Lodge No. 1491, where he was active with Youth Activities Committee and served as Lodge Organist and Chaplain. When he moved in 1978, David transferred his membership to Ticonderoga, N.Y., Lodge No. 1494. He served the New York State Elks Association as State President. David Carr served as Grand Exalted Ruler from 2011-2012.

David is also involved in his community as a member of a volunteer fire company, Kiwanis Club, Knights of Columbus, Jaycees, and US Coast Guard auxiliary. He was a founding member of the Dept. of Homeland Security.

David and his wife Penny have four children and eight grandchildren.


John D. Amen, Vice-Chair

John Amen was born in Denver, CO, the youngest of 3 boys. He grew up in Fort Collins, CO and graduated with honors from Colorado State University in 1970 with a BS degree in General Business.

John worked as a design engineer in Fort Collins after graduation before heading to law school at the University of Colorado. After receiving his law degree, John worked in various legal and management positions with independent oil and gas exploration and production companies. He eventually left the corporate world to work in law representing oil and gas clients.

John is a member of Denver, Colo., Lodge No. 17. He was Colorado Elks Association State President in 2012. John Amen served as Grand Exalted Ruler from 2014-2015.

John, his wife Marcia, their two children, and four grandchildren all live in Colorado.


Ronald L. Hicks, Secretary/Treasurer

Ron Hicks lives in Fredericksburg, VA, where he was born and raised. Ron attended Chowan Junior College and Lynchburg College before going on to receive his law degree from the University of Richmond Law School in 1972.

Ron practiced law for over 40 years in the Fredericksburg area. He maintained a general practice with an emphasis on criminal and civil litigation, corporate and real estate law. Now retired from active practice of law, Ron focuses on his business interests, including real estate development and management.

Ron was initiated into Fredericksburg, Va., Lodge No. 875 in February 1972. Ronald Hicks served as Grand Exalted Ruler from 2015-2016.

Ron and his wife Nancy have three children and eight grandchildren. His wife and sons are also members of the Fredericksburg lodge.


Paul D. Helsel, Past Chair

Paul Helsel grew up in rural Pennsylvania on a 250-acre farm. He earned his degree in Mechanical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University and a second degree in Accounting from Goldey-Beacom College. Paul spent 43 years as an engineer working in facility engineering and facility engineering management.

Paul was initiated into the Elks in Newark, Del., Lodge No. 2281 in March 1970. He was actively involved in the Maryland, Delaware, and District of Columbia Elks Association. Paul Helsel served as Grand Exalted Ruler from 2008-2009.

Paul and his wife Jane live in Newark, Delaware. They have two daughters and three grandchildren.


James L. Nichelson, Past Chair

James Nichelson was raised on a farm in Lima, Ohio, the oldest of 10 children. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree and master’s dual degree with distinction from Ohio State University in 1971, before going on to earn his Juris Doctor degree from Ohio State University School of Law, cum laude, in 1974.

Jim spent four years in the U.S. Air Force and Army ROTC during college and law school. He spent several months on active duty at Fort Ben Harrison in Indianapolis, IN after graduating law school, and spent the rest of his military career in the reserves.

Jim joined the Elks through Martins Ferry, Ohio, Lodge No. 895 (now merged to become Ohio River Valley, Ohio, Lodge No. 231). Jim was active in the Ohio Elks Association Southeast District and in the State Association. He became District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler in 1990. James Nichelson served as Grand Exalted Ruler from 2009-2010.

Jim is active in his community as a member of the Knights of Columbus, Eagles, Redmen, VFW, and American Legion.

Jim's wife Mary Carolyn is a school principal. They have three children and four grandchildren.


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