The White Rock Elks will celebrate a milestone this weekend, at a gala marking the club’s diamond anniversary.
“We’re not the oldest,” club historian Tony Crowther said last week, noting the Mission lodge is celebrating 85 years.
However, club members who belong to the George Street lodge can bask in another distinction.
In a visit last November, the organization’s national president, Deborah Sallenback, congratulated the lodge on being the busiest in B.C.
Since 2000, the volunteers have raised and donated $200,000 to White Rock/South Surrey charities.
“The White Rock Elks has a long and distinguished history within our community,” Crowther added by email.
“We intend to continue on with this unwavering commitment.”
Launched in 1958, the lodge was first located on Stayte Road. Its first Exalted Ruler was Art Wall, a former White Rock mayor.
Currently, the lodge is located at 1469 George St., which was built in 1987.
Since day one, supporting children has been a focus, through the B.C. Hearing Resource Centre as well as three children’s camps, including Elkgrove in Aldergrove.
Nationwide, the Elks across Canada have raised more than $9 million for the children’s fund, Crowther noted.
Crowther, a member for 12 years, said the willingness of members to get involved has never ceased to impress him.
“One thing I’ve really noticed with the Elks… when something comes up that needs to be done, everybody gets stuck in it,” he said
For past-president Ray Francoeur, family was a big reason for joining the Elks organization 50 years ago.
His mother was the Supreme Honoured Royal Lady for Canada at the time, “so I thought I’d better join,” he quipped.
Going back a few decades further, Francoeur’s grandfather was a charter member for the Camrose, Alta. lodge in 1924.
Now 73, Francoeur is far from being the club’s youngest or oldest member. Membership, open to anyone aged 16 or older, ranges in age from 17 to 97, he said.
The Elks’ 60th anniversary event is not planned as a public celebration.
For information on the organization or to get involved, visit whiterockelks.ca or call 604-538-4016.