I joined the Elks because of how they help the community and because of my father; as he set such a great example of how, as an Elk, he had helped the community.
The Elks have helped me over the years in ways no one could even imagine. You see, I was born with Spina Bifida, Scoliosis, and club feet, along with many numerous deformities.
I had a surgery in 1984. Unfortunately, the Champus (the Air Force insurance) didn’t cover the entire bill. So, the ladies of the Elks had a week-long blood drive for me, and the proceeds were given to the hospital, which covered all of the costs that our insurance did not. Then again, in 1988, I had 2 more surgeries, and once again, the ladies of the Elks had another blood drive to help. If not for all of that help, I would not have had my surgery and I would definitely not be walking today.
My father was always at the lodge, volunteering his time at Bingo and other events. He was also on the board of directors for the Local nonprofit drug and alcohol treatment center. Everyone loved my father. As most Elks do, he was always meeting interesting people. Once, he met these guys from the Secret Service who would frequently would come have dinner at my house. These men once took us to Ronald Reagan’s ranch and introduced me to the man himself. When my father passed, all of the Elk members came to the house consoling my family, offering any help we needed.
I tell you these things because it exemplifies what kind of men and women Elks members are. This is why I became an Elk—to help others, like those that have helped me.
And, by the way, they’re still helping. A fellow Elk member sold me one of his houses a few years ago. He knew my wife and I couldn’t do it on our own so he is carrying the loan for us. When asked why, he simply said, “You’re a fellow Elk member”. Awesome.
I am grateful and proud to be a part of such a grand organization. Thank you for the opportunity to share my story.
Hendrik Edward Block, Leading Knight
Madera Elks Lodge #1918