The Mesquite Elk’s Lodge #2811 held their annual Pin and Awards banquet Saturday night at the Lodge to honor members for their contribution this year to the Good of the Order and to honor a Mesquite citizen for their support to the well-being of the community. Exalted Ruler Lou Martin hosted and moderated the proceedings.
The Banquet began with the Pledge of Allegiance led by Americanism Chairman Larry Knievel and a prayer by Lodge Chaplain Shelley Piper. Martin began the evening explaining to the large herd of Elks in attendance the meaning of the event. He then began the first phase of the program by handing out longevity pins to members who have been Elks in good standing from five to 55 years. Dinner was then served to the members and their guests.
Martin began the second award phase of the evening thanking and presenting a non-Elk award to Anne Sanborn for her unselfish contribution to the Lodge. Martin then explained the Citizen of the Year award given at all Elks communities to an outstanding citizen who has unselfishly, gave of themselves, to the benefit of their community. “I started the process in April of last year reviewing the good work of unselfish citizens contributing to Mesquite’s well-being. I made the decision in December to select a citizen who demonstrated a love for Mesquite, a dedication to his family, who served his city, country and profession. His support to the youth of Mesquite is unending and it shows in the success of these programs, “said Exalted Ruler Martin. The attendees stood as Martin announced Geno Withelder as the Lodge’s Citizen of the Year recipient. Withelder graciously accepted the recognition by saying,” I’m choked up, I don’t know what to say.” Then he proceeded with, “strange for a politician,” and proceeded to thank the Lodge for the award.
Martin continued with his program and honored two Elks for their long time service to the Lodge and the B.P.O.E. Members Howie Koontz and Harold Straley were called up to receive a special citation plaque from the Grand Lodge.
The final two awards of the evening were the Officer and Elk of the year plaques. Martin explained to the members that these two awards are the most emotional and difficult to present as there are many deserving members of give of themselves to the good of the Order. Martin spoke on the qualifications of each of these recipients before introducing Charlie Lum Kee as Officer of the Year and Sharon Blackmore as Elk of the Year. Everyone in the audience rose honoring each of the members as they received their awards.
Martin closed the session and Piper gave the Benediction.