Public Safety Appreciation Night At Monterey Elks Lodge #1285

Rick Ringler, honored in 1978 as the Pacific Grove Fireman of the Year, thanked more than 100 first responders and Elks members at the annual Public Safety Appreciation Night at the Monterey Elks Lodge on Wednesday, June 7. 

“Our public safety workers put their lives on the line for us on a daily basis,” Ringler said. “Thank you.  In this very small way, we wish to show you our appreciation by hosting this night to honor you, the men and women of Monterey County who help keep us safe.  Truly, thank you for being here for our community.”

Ringler served as a volunteer fireman at Pacific Grove Fire Department from 1977 until he retired as a lieutenant in 1990.  He was an educator at Monterey Peninsula Unified School District from 1970 to 2007, and now serves as Exalted Ruler of the 800+ member Monterey Elks Lodge #1285.

The Elks’ Award medal was awarded to District Attorney Dean Flippo, and Elks’ certificates of appreciation went to each award winner.

Directors of the Monterey County Peace Officers Association (MCPOA) were sworn in and awards were presented.  Ringler welcomed guests to the event, which included a roast beef carving station prepared by the Elk’s caterer, Coastal Cuisine.  Caroll Mendoza led the Pledge of Allegiance, and invocation was given by the Elks Chaplain, Lori Taylor.  Gaspar Cardinale served as event chairman, assisted by Leslie Field.

Salinas Police Chief Adele Frese was joined by Darren Chamberlain, current MCPOA vice president, in award presentations and installation of new officers.  

MCPOA Distinguished Service Award medals were presented to Police Officers Ken Hendrickson, Zach Dunagan and Robert Durst. Civilian Awards of Merit were presented by Monterey County Sheriff-Coroner Steve Bernal to Paul Tran, member of the Sheriff’s emergency assistance team for over 22 years; Ken Pepper, a member of the Sheriff’s Aero Squadron for three years, and to Jesse Ashmore, member of the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team for more than a year.

Raffle drawings during the evening provided more than $900 to Elks’ major charity projects and to Rancho Cielo, a nonprofit, comprehensive learning and social services center for underserved and disconnected youth in Monterey County. The event closed with installation of MCPOA Board of Directors for 2017-18.

Westchester Elks Lodge #2050 Reseeds Babe Ruth Field and Sponsors a Cadet with the LAPD Cadet Program

Westchester, CA- Elks Lodge #2050 donated $2500 to the Westchester Babe Ruth League to re-seed their Ivan Miller Field.  This is the second year the Elks have completed the project which is spearheaded by members Chris Lynch (also with the Westchester Babe Ruth League) and member Larry Diver.  The team celebrated 60 years of playing on the field in 2016 and were the 2015 (13-15 year olds) World Series Babe Ruth Champions.   Funds were made possible from a Beacon Grant through the Elks National Foundation.

In other news, the Lodge donated $200 to help sponsor a youth in the Junior Cadet and/or Cadet program in the LAPD Pacific Division Cadet Program.  The Ladies of Westchester Elks also donated $200 towards the program.  LAPD Pacific Division Junior Cadets range in age from 9 -13 years old and Cadets are 14 – 21 years old.  Many come from challenging backgrounds but with the support and direction of the program, go on to college, military academies, and/or the police academy.  $400 assures one youth a full year of participation and covers costs such as uniforms, field trips, supplies and much more.

The Ladies of Westchester Elks also donated $200 to the Bob Hope USO at Los Angeles Airport which provides many services and needs to create a comfortable and welcoming “safe haven” for troops and their families traveling through LAX at no charge.  It is one of the finest centers in the worlds.

Pictured are Elks members with the Babe Ruth team and coaches and also with just Elks Members and Babe Ruth President Chris Lynch whom is also an Elks Member.

Mojave Elks Lodge 2059 And Matters of The Heart

The past weekend Mojave Elks #2059 held their annual Chili Cook-off.

By size, Mojave Lodge is considered a smaller lodge. Many of our members live in other parts of the country due to the nature of employment in the area. However, we are blessed to be surrounded with forward thinking companies such as Mojave Spaceport, Scaled Composites, Golden Queen Mining, and Edwards Air Force Base. Just down the road, we also have Pete Knights Veterans Home providing residence to some of America’s finest servants.

The Chili Cook-Off is just one of the opportunities to spread the word on the many programs supported by the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and this weekend was no exception.

Dozens of members of the lodge, as well as friends and family, stepped up to bring this event to life and raise funds for the California-Hawaii Association Major Project.

Each year association members continue to raise millions of dollars (over $116.2 MILLION since 1950). These funds ensure that children in our area experience a renewed hope on life and all of the joys that may bring! A wonderful video highlighting this year’s Theme Child, Aya, is available here.

Regardless of the number of members in any lodge throughout the nation, the foundation of all good works is the size of its heart and Mojave is no exception!

The Chili Cook-Off involves weeks of planning and coordinating then, like any other major undertaking, the final preparation, and execution of the event.

This event is one of several taking place at the 40 Acre Trap and Skeet Range approximately 2 miles from the lodge. Since the lodge is temporarily relocated to the range for two days, several truckloads of supplies are loaded up, transported, and set up at the range. Then, depending on the weather, other arrangements are made. With a temporary stage for the Saturday night band, the winds determine whether the band will be on the stage or under a different shelter. And this year was the exception. With higher than normal winds and cooler temperatures our band Mudfish shared their music with us from under a more secure canopy.

However, the winds didn’t stop a dedicated few from bringing in additional funds when they took the plunge in the dunk tank! As a great sport, Ashley Wussick even went in a second time after the cook-off giving the general populace another opportunity to test their pitching capabilities. You can see what happened to her and others in the video below.

Immediately preceding the cook-off, the festivities began with a horseshoe throwing competition. The trick is being able to adjust for the 35-45 MPH gusts of wind. On the one hand, the wind would either impede the horseshoes progress. Depending on the direction it would carry it beyond its desired trajectory. Our Exalted Ruler, Warren Guest, got into the swing along with several other competitors. However; the trophy went to Raymond Rogers for resoundingly defeating the competition.

Again, the highlight event of the weekend was our Chili Cook-off. Our champion Jessica Smith not only won the judges over with her first-ever participation. Jessica used her grandmother’s Chili recipe and, to her delight, walked away with the Audience Choice Award.

Aside from some of our campers feeling as if they might have been trans-located to OZ, we give a grateful thank you to our event Chair Todd Smith. The weekend was a success and you are cordially invited to join us for a recap as you watch the video below produced by lodge member Paul Wagner.

Respectfully submitted,
Mojave Elks Lodge #2059


2016-2017 CHEA Lodge Website Winners

Congratulations to the 2016-17 CHEA
Best Lodge Bulletin Winner

Website Winners

DIVISION ONE (0 To 300 Members)

First Place: Westchester Lodge No. 2050 (South Central Coast District)

Second Place: Ridgecrest Lodge No. 1913 (Inland District)

Third Place: Oxnard Lodge No. 1443 (West Central Coast District)

DIVISION TWO (301 To 500 Members)

First Place: Thousand Oaks No. 2477 (West Central Coast District)

Second Place: Poway Lodge No. 2543 (South Coast District)

Third Place: Freemont Lodge No. 2121 (Bay District)

DIVISION THREE (501 To 700 Members)

First Place: Santa Clarita Lodge 2379 (Metropolitan District)

Second Place: Redondo Beach Lodge No. 1378 (South Central Coast District)

Third Place: Kailua Lodge No. 2230 (Hawaii District)

DIVISION FOUR (701 To 1100 Members)

First Place: Mission Viejo Saddleback No. 2444 (Orange Coast District)

Second Place: Hemet Lodge No. 1740 (Southeast District)

Third Place: San Pedro Lodge No. 966 (South Central District)

DIVISION FIVE (1101 To 1500 Members)

First Place: Orange No. 1475 (Orange Coast District)

Second Place: San Mateo Lode No. 1112 (Bay District)

Third Place: Garden Grove Lodge No. 1952 (Orange Coast District)

DIVISION SIX (1501 or more Members)

First Place: Santa Maria No. 1538 (West Central Coast District)

CHEA Single Best Event Brochure Winner

Division 2 – First Place: Thousand Oaks Lodge No. 2477 (West Central Coast District)

Division 4 – First Place: Lake Elsinore/Wildomar Lodge No. 2591 (Southeast District)

Division 6 – First Place: Santa Maria Lodge No. 1538 (West Central Coast District)

CHEA Community Service & Image Brochure Winner

Division 4 – First Place: Lake Elsinore/Wildomar Lodge No. 2591 (Southeast District)

Division 5 – First Place: Garden Grove Lodge No. 1952 (Orange Coast District)

Division 6 – First Place: Santa Maria Lodge No. 1538 (West Central Coast District)

Contests administered by the Public Relations Committee

California Elks Rally Benefits Major Project

Links to 49th Annual Elks Rally PDF (16M File Size)Calling ALL RV’ers!

October 5-8 will find Elks from California and points beyond gathering together together to rally and raise money for our Major Project!

As many know, the California Elks Camper Rally began in 1969 as the “Southern California Elks Camper Rally.”  Creating an atmosphere for campers and friends to gather together and enjoy food, fun, games, contests and camaraderie; with the primary objective of raising money for the California – Hawaii Elks Association Major Project, i.e. the Purple Pig they continue to fulfill their purpose!

In 1950, CHEA created an organization within it to help children with disabilities and the fundraising arm of CHEMPI is the Purple Pig. (All donations are TAX DEDUCTIBLE!) Their mission statement says “The California-Hawaii Elks Major Project, Inc., a committee of the California-Hawaii Elks Association, pledges its commitment to addressing the unmet needs of children with disabilities throughout the states of California and Hawaii by developing a program of supporting services to aid these children at no cost to the families and without discrimination.”

With the noble goal of supporting such a worthwhile cause the growth and participation over the years saw a time that by 1998 “Southern California Elks Camper Rally” no longer reflected their objective and the group changed their name to the “California Elks Camper Rally” to better reflect the statewide participation as well as points from beyond our borders.

Last year the group California Elks Rally raised a total of $23,866 and the goal this year is to raise even more money for the kids and help them, “Reach for the Stars”. While there are currently 60 registered members the event will see between 150-200 RV’s will gather together for the excitement and “fun”raising and past entertainment provided by members as well as a highlight performance by the Hemet High School Band  can be seen in the video below. Elk members are welcome to register to be among the first to hear about events and updates as well as connect with other members.

We encourage you to come help us make 2018 the best year yet!

To register today or find out more, visit the main website here. For our Facebook friends, please like the page here

To experience  a bit of the past event enjoy the short video below. The full video is @29 minutes so to see just the segment on the Elks Rally skip forward to 21:19

Fresno Elks Lodge Uses Impact Grant for Students’ Charitable Projects

Fresno StudentsAs the school year comes to a close, so has the 2016 Fresno Elks Lodge No. 439’s “Mt. Olympus Challenge”.  Expelled students from throughout Fresno County competed with one another to convince community judges and Elk members to support a charity idea that they created to help meet a need in their home community.

Nicholas proposed the winning idea for a charity he titled “No Place To Play”. His project would repair broken playground equipment at his apartment complex.  The 1st runner up, Yenices, proposed an idea for her charity titled “We Are Not For Sale” that would help victims of human trafficking. The 2nd runner up, Fernando, proposed an idea for his charity titled “Giving a Helping Hand” to provide services to our Veterans. Finalist Ronald proposed a charity to help the homeless get off the streets titled “A Place To Call Home.”  

The students, who were expelled from their home schools, received twelve weeks of hands-on coaching and mentoring from lodge members as they created their charities, prepared PowerPoint presentations and helped plan and execute the first fundraiser for Nicholas’ project. 

The program is funded through a $10,000 Impact Grant from the Elks National Foundation.  Fresno Elks Lodge members Susan Good and Jack Geiger served as Project Managers for the grant.

Temecula Valley Elks Hold Elks National Foundation Fundraiser

Recently the Temecula Valley Elks held a fundraiser for the Elks National Foundation, an Elks Charity. The Elks National Foundation helps fund Scholarships; Hoop Shoot; Americanism Program; Drug Awareness Program and our Veterans Program throughout the United States. The special guest that evening was our District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler for the Southeast District, Bob Cones, who is a member of the San Bernardino Lodge. District Deputy Bob Cones is a representative our Grand Exalted Ruler and for the Elks National Foundation. Donations were made to Elks National Foundation in his name and in his wife Joyce’s name.

Members of the Temecula Valley Elks made donations and became Members of the Goal Buster Club. The members made donations totaling over $850. The money, along with previous donations, will help the Lodge become eligible for one of the Elks National Foundation grants. The grant will be used to benefit the children in the community.

Temecula ENF

Front Row: Diane Farrens, Lodge Elks National Foundation Chairman; Joyce Mahtesian; Steve Jones; Laurel Frey; Linda Jones; Susan Noon; Susan Wilkinson; Peggy Lewis; Pam Smith Sandy Neal; Ken Bodenhoefer; Angela Stevanus and Mike Caruso.

Back Row: Ken Hauer, Exalted Ruler; Lloyd Clough; Bob Farrens; Skip Wilkinson; Bob Walker; Marian Stuhr; Bob Cones, District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler; Howard Adkins; Tom Jensen; Karen Caruso and Bill Van Meter.

Temecula Valley Elks Honor “Students of the Year” for Murrieta Middle Schools

The Temecula Valley Elks held their 17th annual Middle School “Student of the Year” Presentations recently at Van Avery Prep School. Twenty-eight students were recognized from five schools in the Murrieta area. Each middle school was asked to submit applications for three females and three males. Each application included a 300-word essay, describing why he or she should be selected as the “Student of the Year” from their school. A committee of Elks judged the applications according to their academic achievement, citizenship, involvement in school activities, and leadership activities. The top female and top male from each school received a gift card from Barnes & Noble in the amount of $50. All the candidates received a framed Certificate of Achievement from the Temecula Valley Elks; an engraved Olympic style medallion medal; coupon from Chick-fil-A and a coupon from Golden Spoon

The winners and runners-up from each school are:

  • Calvary Murrieta Christian School
  • Brianna Felkins Runner-up
  • Alina Vasquez Runner-up
  • Anna Holman Top Female
  • Hunter Escorcia Runner-up
  • Paul Garcia Runner-up
  • Luke Noon Top Male
  • Dorothy McElhinney Middle School
  • Amanda Meichtry Runner-up
  • Melia Webster Runner-up
  • Arielle Sarabia Top Female
  • Cole Fick Runner-up Royce Rueda Runner-up
  • Blake Lindemeyer Top Male
  • Shivela Middle School
  • Kiersten Myers Runner-up
  • Allison Keinz Runner-up
  • Danielle Murasmith Top Female
  • Jacob Martinez Runner-up
  • Brandon Lenahan Top Male
  • Thompson Middle School
  • Sydney Horst Runner-up
  • Olivia Landis Runner-up
  • Isabella Madalo Top Female
  • Vance Caruso Runner-up Garrett Otteson Runner-up
  • Nathan White Top Male
  • Warm Springs Middle School
  • Vi Lan Duong Runner-up
  • Chioma Okonkwo Runner-up Juliana Nguyen Top Female
  • Patrick Amog Runner-up
  • Peyton Longmore Top Male

Murrieta Students Year

Murrieta Students of the Year:

Row 1 – Anna Holman; Arielle Sarabia; Juliana Nguyen; Danielle Murasmith and Isabella Madalo

Row 2 – Jimmie Spezia, Southeast Elks District Leader; Luke Noon; Nathan White; Blake Lindemeyer; Brandon Lenohan; and Bob Farrens, Middle School Student of the Year Co-chairman.

Murrieta Students of Year Runners-up

Murrieta Students of the Year Runner-ups

Row 1 – Amanda Meichtry; Chioma Okonkwo; Alina Vasquez; Bri Felkins; Vi Duong; Kiersten Myers; Olivia Landis and Allison Keinz

Row 2 – Ken Hauer, Temecula Valley Elks President; Jimmie Spezia, Southeast Elks District Leader; Melia Webster; Sydney Horst; Vance Caruso; Hunter Escorcia; Jake Martinez; Royce Rueda; Diane Farrens, Middle School Student of the Year Co-chairman; and Bob Farrens, Middle School Student of the Year Co-chairman

Row 3 – Patrick Amog; Paul Garcia; Garrett Otteson and Cole Fick

A CHEMPI Pre-school Vision Screener’s Story

By Juliana Conde, CHEMPI Pre-School Vision Screener (serving the Central, Bay, and parts of the Northwest and West Central Districts)

When I started working with the Elks in April I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I was nervous, but excited about starting with the Major Project. I met everyone at the home office in Fresno, and found that everyone was warm, welcoming, and excited to be there. I stayed at the Fresno office for a week, training and learning everything I needed to know about being a preschool vision screener. I learned a lot and took in as much as I could. I left Fresno feeling ready to take on the job.

After I returned home, I was out in the field with my team leader Gina. She showed me what it was like screening at the sites. I got to see how she worked with the children and sites that we serve. I saw the strong relationships and trust the schools had in her. Before I knew it, she was having me practice with the children. I was instantly in love with my job.

I have worked with children my whole life. From helping to raise my niece and nephews, to tutoring at school, to being a preschool teacher at Kindercare – I love working with children. They are amazing. They have so much love, curiosity, and fun. I spent my time at Kindercare teaching children between the ages of 6 weeks to 12 years old. For five years, I helped to change the lives of children by teaching them the fundamentals. While I loved my time at Kindercare, it still wasn’t the right fit for me. I heard about the Elks hiring from my boss at Kindercare. She was looking for services and received an e-mail telling her they were looking for a new vision screener.

I didn’t even know you could work for the Elks. I knew they were a group aiming to make the communities around them better. I could relate to that. I was a member of the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls. A Masonic based sorority aiming to teach young ladies important life lessons and skills such as the value of giving to others, how to be a leader, self-confidence, event planning and follow through, and love of others. In my time at Rainbow, I helped serve several dinners at the Pittsburg Elks Lodge. They were always a lot of fun.

I started to research the Elks and the Major Project. I looked at what they were all about. I knew that this would be the right place for me. I could work with children while still helping my community as a whole. I could make a difference – which is something that I have always aimed to do. I could change the lives of others and open a whole new world for them. People don’t think that eye checks are important for kids, not like doctor appointments or the dentist. Somehow, eye health gets lost. My sister struggled her first year of Kindergarten and no one could figure out why until she got her eyes checked. It turned out that she was practically blind. A vision screening could have helped her to find out sooner, and she might not have fallen behind in Kindergarten. After getting glasses and some tutoring she caught up and is now fine. This experience in my life gives me a real connection to the value of what I do. The sooner we catch the eye problem the sooner children can get help or even have their problem corrected. I couldn’t wait to join this wonderful organization.

Now, two and a half months later, I have been out screening on my own, scheduling the schools that used to have our services, and finding new schools to offer our services to. I have been to schools all over the Bay Area, seen more than 500 children, and have referred more than 30. I have talked to parents of these children and helped them to understand my findings and found resources for them. It has been interesting, a little confusing, but I love it all.

I can’t wait to get to know more people involved with the Major Project and the Elks. This has been a fun, rewarding experience and I can’t wait to see where this journey with the Elks takes me.