Monday, April 4, 2016

Wellsville: ELKS Install Officers and Honor Members

(Top photo -  Immediate Past Exalted Ruler Jim Knapp (left) passes the gavel to current Exalted Ruler to lead the Wellsville Elks for the ensuing year)
The Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks, Wellsville Lodge 1495 recently installed new Officers for the 2016-2017 fraternal year and honored several of their own members.  On Saturday, April 2, 2016 the following members were duly installed to lead their lodge for the next year:  Exalted Ruler, Shaun Walsh; Esteemed Leading Knight Kevin Schreiner; Esteemed Lecturing Knight Curtis Loper Jr.; Esteemed Loyal Knight Mark DeGraff; Secretary Timothy Colligan; Treasurer Virginia Elliott;  Tiler Keith Slep;  Trustee – 5 Years Jim Knapp.  In addition, Exalted Ruler Shaun Walsh appointed the following members to serve:  Esquire Shane Scott; Chaplain Jody Torrey; and Inner Guard Patrick Lynch.  Other Trustees include Alan Barber, Beth Day, Walter Gardner, and Jeff Monroe
(Bottom photo - All officers were installed to their respective offices (l-r) 1st row:  Inner Guard Patrick Lynch, Treasurer Virginia Elliott, Est. Loyal Knight CJ Loper, Exalted Ruler Shaun Walsh, Est. Lecturing Knight Mark DeGraff, and Esquire Shane Scott.  2nd row:  Secretary Tim Colligan, Tiler Keith Slep, Esteemed Leading Knight Kevin Schreiner, and Past Exalted Ruler Jim Knapp. Absent from picture is Chaplain Jody Torrey)
The Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks of Wellsville is one of over 2500 subordinate Lodges of the Grand Order of Elks in the United States. Chartered in 1928, the Wellsville Lodge boasts of a membership of 646.  Outgoing Exalted Ruler Jim Knapp was applauded for his year of leadership.  Under his guidance the local lodge donated $19,259 to support many local charities.  In addition, the Wellsville Lodge donated approximately $2,300.00 to the Elks National Foundation (ENF).  The ENF was created in 1928 with an endowment invested to serve the communities where Elks live and work.  The intent is to provide tomorrow’s leaders, our youth with a healthy beginning; honor our pledge to never forget our veterans; help the State Elks Associations accomplish their charitable objectives; and fund projects that improve the quality of life in local Elks communities. Funds from the ENF also come back to the local Lodges in the forms of student scholarships.  In the community, statistics show that the Wellsville Elks volunteered about 3,146 hours of community service helping to serve approximately 4,888 of our residents through various programs enhancing Youth, Veterans, Community Service, Drug Awareness and others.
Included in this year’s donation was $1,000.00 to the New York State Major Projects, which benefits the Cerebral Palsy Association of New York State.  Past Exalted Ruler Knapp expressed his appreciation to the officers and members for their efforts in keeping the tradition going that Elks Care…Elks Share.
Following the Installation of Officers, several awards were handed out to members.  Past Exalted Ruler Knapp announced the Elk of the Year award was being given to member Mark Finn for his continued support of lodge functions and fund-raising as well as serving for 15 years as Lodge Secretary. Mark was also bestowed Honorary Life Membership status.  Other members honored were Gina Elliott, the Officer of the Year award, for her dedication to lodge programs over the past year and Nancy Meyers as the recipient of the Citizen of the Year award.  This was presented for her investment in the community with the establishment of the Duke House & Tea Room.  Next, Ed Fahs, Dan Gardner, and Dean Piscitelli were bestowed Honorary Lifetime Membership for their contributions with recent renovations to the lodge kitchen.  Also, Past Exalted Ruler Brent Rohrabacher was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award. Grand Lodge Certificates of Appreciation were given to Shaun Walsh and Jody Torrey for their continue service to the Lodge and Elkdom. Past Exalted Ruler Jim Knapp also recognized Mark Finn and Tim Colligan with certificates from the New York State Elks Association President John Jacques for their years of service to the Lodge and the State Association. Finally, Past Exalted Ruler Tim Colligan recognized Jim Knapp for his year of leadership by presenting him and the Lodge with respective Outstanding Service commendations from the Grand Lodge. 
Anyone interested in learning more or becoming a member of the Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks is encouraged to contact any officer or member or call the local Lodge at 585-593-5430 or visit the Lodge at 77 East Pearl Street in Wellsville. (photos provided)