We’re still not the largest Lodge in the U.S., but we are growing! Thank you, members, for answering the call to increase membership! Last month in this column, I mentioned how Bismarck-Mandan recently lost the distinction of being the largest Lodge in the U.S. One of two ways we plan to address this is a through a Membership Drive.
As of this writing, we’re half-way through this Membership Drive and it has resulted in just over three dozen new members! That means just over three dozen people are now helping fund the charitable work of our Lodge.
More good news: there’s still time to get involved in this drive! Until February 29th, for each signed membership application submitted, your name goes into a drawing for one of five $50 Elks Gift Certificates. If you sign up 6 or more new members, your name goes in twice. That means if you sign up 3 people, you get three chances to win. If you sign up 9 people you get one chance each for the first 5 and two chances for the next three new members, for a total of 11 chances to win! Look for the membership application sent to you via direct mail, download one at www.bismanelks/membership/, or grab a couple the next time you stop into the Lodge. Whether you are talking to family, friends, co-workers and clients, or your barber, stylist, lawyer, accountant, or mechanic, you can tell them with great confidence that their membership dollars help fund programs and activities like the Hoop Shoot, Children’s Christmas Party, Student Government Day and College Scholarships.
The second way we aim to take back our number one ranking is to collect dues from members who have let them lapse. Perhaps they never received their dues invoice and subsequent reminders, perhaps they’ve simply forgotten. Either way, if you see a name on the list soon to be posted in the main lobby, encourage them to bring their account current. The benevolent and charitable work of our order needs them!
Speaking of the great works of our order, elsewhere in this newsletter, you will read the story of an ambitious recent UND graduate who, through the generosity of Elks members, was able to take a trip of a lifetime. It all started with Elizabeth Schaff’s grandfather, Dominic Schaff. His Bismarck-Mandan Elks membership qualified her for a 2012 Legacy Scholarship. Legacy scholarships are available to High School Seniors who are children or grand children of paid-up Elks members. Scholarship recipients – who receive a total of $4,000 – must perform service to the Lodge once a year for each of the 4 years they will receive funding. On top of that, this year, Schaff and other “Elks Scholars” took a “life changing” service trip, where they helped combat hunger and homelessness.
Schaff’s story is just one of many great reasons we choose to support the Elks. Now is a great time to give others their opportunity to do the same!
On a final note, although my term as Exalted Ruler is not complete until the end of March, I just want to let you know I have been honored to serve the Elks in this capacity. We have come a long way since I first became an officer. And there is always more work to do. I want to continue that work, and if the membership will have me, I would also be honored to continue to serve you as Trustee.
It is my sad duty to announce the death of Robert Bibb, James Lindseth, Charles Feland, Gaulberto “Bert” Gokim, Alfred Carvell, Bruce Lohstreter, Leo Grenz, Dennis Mack and Phillip Dahl. May their virtues be written on the tablets of love and memory.