An Opportunity To Serve
At this time of year I wanted to share a bit about an organization that I’ve seen some interesting commentary about on occasion.
It has been just over 14 years since Paul and I walked through the doors of the Elks Lodge in Thousand Oaks and we’ve had the honor to serve the last 5 here at Mojave Lodge #2059.
When I think of everything that has transpired and all I have learned about the Elks as well as the members during this time – I’m still given cause to ask, who knew?
Who knew that the Elks do so much for the children? There is the Purple Pig, as I’ve come to know the CHEMPI fundraising arm, which helps children with disabilities at no cost to their families by providing therapy services across California and Hawaii.
Who knew that through the efforts of the members we help ensure a Merry Christmas throughout the area with food and gifts as well as Christmas events hosted by the Elks with Santa visiting the lodge to hand out additional presents when the pandemic doesn’t interfere?
Who knew that lodges support Scouting Troupes of all types as well as many other youth activities?
Who knew of the thousands of dollars awarded each year in Scholarships right here in our area? I didn’t until I became involved.
Who knew that the Elks are proactive in the support of our country with activities like the annual Americanism essay contest and the American Flag Retirement Ceremony at the Lodge, which highlights the history of our flag?
Who knew of the support many members provide to the Veteran’s with hospital visitations, meals, celebrations honoring our Vet’s, and who knew that they really mean it when they say “So long as there are veterans, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks will never forget them”? I’m glad I learned that we do.
Who knew that on weekends there would be folks at the lodge serving meals and time that’s passed filled with camaraderie, commentary and just plain fun?
Who knew that the members of the lodge would be such a group of supportive, caring individuals who are a blessing to this community in small and large ways with the Hoop Shoot, Drug Awareness Programs, Easter Egg Hunt, Cook off’s, and so much more? Or that I would look forward to seeing every face down at the lodge when I’m there?
Back then I assure you that I didn’t.
I know – if you’re reading this YOU probably knew.
Nevertheless, I didn’t until I had the opportunity to serve. I had no idea this “home away from home” in the form of the Elks would be here, no matter where I’ve moved. Fortunately, for us, a gentleman we met as a referral for a landscaping job, asked one day if we’d like to be members and I’m grateful to Rick Herrera for that moment!
Since our initiation that night many years ago, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many wonderful people across the United States and learning about their history both individually and collectively. It’s been an education made possible by jumping in with both feet and asking the question: how can I serve?
Moreover, while I know more today about this wonderful group of people, I am sure there will be many more opportunities to learn, and I’m humbled by the kindness and consideration shown to me on a daily basis.
I have to say that if there were anything written here that YOU did not know and I’ve left out a LOT – take some time and check it out – if you discover only half of what I’ve encountered – you’ll be blessed beyond measure.
Kira Wagner, PER
P.S. You can read more about California-Hawaii Elks here or the BPOE here.