January 26, 2017
The homeowner ,in a recent house sit that I did, worked for a service group.
When I said I was familiar with her organization, she said many were not familiar with it.
Well, maybe I was not familiar with this and other service groups until I worked on a weekly newspaper in Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan.
In small communities, more so than in large cities, community events revolve around service groups through which many worthy causes receive funding.
Here is one:
February 9, 1983
Elks provide service to Mossbank
by Tanya Lester
It is a long way from New York to Mossbank, Saskatchewan and it was a long time ago when the BPO Elks first originated in that city.
It was in 1867 that Charles A. Vivian, an entertainer at many night spots in New York City, decided to form the benevolent order of Elks…
In Canada, the first Elk Lodge was established in Vancouver in 1912, with the help of Charles Edward Redeker who had travelled to Seattle to talk with the Grand Trustee of the Elks and find out more about the organization.
Now, there are over 357 Elks Lodges in Canada as well as 311 Order of the Royal Purple Lodges (consisting of women related to Elk members) for a total 80,000 membership. The Grand Lodge is presently located in Regina but changes location depending on where the Grand Lodge Secretary lives.
In Mossbank, the Elk’s Lodge was chartered in 1967 which was exactly 100 years after the organization first began. Harvey Ireland was the first member to sign up and Otto Wuschke was the second.
Mr. Ireland said he joined because he was “looking for something for fellowship–fun and fellowship” and he has never been disappointed. Other Elk members echo this sentiment.
The Elk’s motto is based on equality, love, kindness, and service to the community. Their most noticeable co is the ntribution to the Mossbank community is the Elk’s Hall which they operate. “You wouldn’t have had a hall if it wasn’t for the Elks,” member Mitch Delyea said.
The Elks took over the hall which was close to deterioration and renovated it in the early 1970’s. Since then, the hall has been used for ‘numerous social events and occasions sponsored by many different community groups.’
Mr. Delyea said the larger part of the Elk’s annual budget goes towards maintenance for the hall. Other money is donated to the Elks Purple Cross Fund. “The Purple Cross Fund provides financial assistance to children in Canada up to their nineteenth birthday, where there is a need due to sickness or if the child does not qualify for assistance from any other source,” the BPO Elks brochure states. “The Purple Cross Fund also supports the Deaf Detection and Development Program, which provides facilities to test for hearing impairment and aids those who are hearing handicapped.” This year the Elk’s Hawaii Lottery Draw will contribute to the fund.
But the members stress that the organization is not primarily a service group and when it does contribute to the community, it does not like to “brag” about it. The Elk’s main goal is to promote friendship between its members and in this and other ways helps the community. The Mossbank Elks’ Exalted Ruler is Ron Fortin and it has 70 area members with 35 of those being active. Membership is open to anyone regardless of her race or religion.
Tanya’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader and Friends I Never Knew (both of which can be purchased through amazon.com or from the author) as well as Dreams and Tricksters and Women Rights/Writes. For more on Tanya’s work, go to her website at teareading.wordpress.com