Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

August 6, 2012

Kentucky Elks enjoy Ashland convention

ASHLAND — Nearly 200 Elks representing 17 of the state’s 18 lodges joined in Ashland Friday and Saturday for a mid-year convention featuring Grand Exalted Ruler Thomas S. Brazier of California.

Skip Saunders, past state president from Catlettsburg Lodge 942, said local Elks considered it an honor to host the gathering in Ashland. “Anytime a lodge can host a state convention it gives them the opportunity to showcase not only the lodge but the membership and leadership,” Saunders said, adding local Elks are likely to see their grand exalted ruler only once and want to make a favorable impression.

Saunders reported Brazier, accompanied by his wife, Venita, joined Exalted Ruler Jack Branham “and an entourage of cycles,” for a tour of the area including a visit to Rock Springs Winery in Carter County. Unfortunately, “They got drenched on the way back with the thunderstorms.”

The Ashland Elks hosted a past state president’s dinner Friday night and reconvened Saturday morning to hear remarks by the grand exalted ruler, who spoke about the Elks National Foundation, membership and other Elks programs. Saunders said Brazier was introduced by state sponsor Lester C. Hess Jr., who he praised for years of remarkable service and dedication to Elks causes. A business meeting followed, Saunders said, and members of the ladies auxiliary had a luncheon as well as an auction that generated nearly $900 to support Elks programs.

Guest members attending the convention totalled between 175 and 200, Saunders reported, including many female members. The past state president said most Elks lodges now enjoy the benefits of female members, and commented lodges with male and female members tend to be among the most successful and productive.

The Elks and their guests continued the convention Saturday evening with a cocktail party, black-tie banquet and a dance with music by Private I’s.

“These meetings give long-distance friends a chance to fellowship and get together a couple of times a year,” Saunders said, adding he shares a strong bond with many of his fellow Elks across the state even though he rarely gets to spend time with them.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.

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