Carson City’s Elks Lodge celebrated 150 years of national service Sunday.
In honor of its national organization and its local members, the Carson chapter hosted a lunch buffet and open house for its members and the community to recognize what they do.
“We had an open house to share our love of Elks with the community...And to share our pride of it so the public can come in and see what we are all about,” said Exalted Ruler Kent Mayer.
The national organization – titled the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks — was founded in New York City on Feb. 16, 1868, so lodges around the country are celebrating throughout the year. It’s an American fraternal organization established for social and philanthropic engagement that commits its services to veterans and children.
“The Elks have been around a long time; they were in the hospitals on the battle field during World War I, Elks helped fund the rehabilitation of the Statue of Liberty, Elks are an amazing support for kids with scholarships,” Mayer said.
One of the most important factors of the organization is its charity work. Its slogan is “As long as there are veterans, they will never be forgotten,” but often they are much more than that. They are also involved in teacher of the year awards, scholarships for students and more.
“We participate in lots of programs, we honor those who serve in our community... I like being here we are a community support and my favorite thing is that support to the community.”
For many of the members, the lodge also represents an important social aspect. Each Friday night they have dinners for their members, a breakfast every first Sunday of the month for the community, participate in National Night Out with the Sheriff’s Office and participate in the wine walk each month.
Mayer got involved with the club five and a half years ago after a woman he met asked him to join it with her.
“She was in Elks in Carson City and she wanted me to be a part of it with her and five years later, I am in charge of it,” Mayer said. “It is important to me, it is a social outlet, all of my friends are Elks, and it is a place to meet some niches.”
Nationwide, there are more than 1 million members and 2,000 lodges established, the Carson lodge has 266 members as of this year. And they’re continuing to grow, Mayer said they gained 42 members just this year — a huge accomplishment for a fraternal organization.
“This is unbelievable to have people hear about what we do and want to be a part of it,” said Mayer.
“It is an accomplishment to be here 150 years later and still be one of the most charitable organizations in the country, so I am proud.”
For more information on the Elks Lodge visit http://www.carsoncityelks.org/index.html.