Bud Potter December 2009 December's Elk of the Month is Bud Potter. Bud was chosen for the December EOM because he is also lovingly known as our Lodge Santa. Bud has been a member of the Elks for thirty-nine years. He originally joined the Bloomington Lodge where he twice served as Exalted Ruler. When the Bloomington Lodge closed, he and a number of other members from that Lodge, transferred to the Hopkins Lodge; and we are pleased he and the other members chose to join us. Bud is married to Emy and they have shared fifty-nine years together. They have four children, eight grand children and six great grand children. One son was a member of the Mankato Lodge. All of their children live within Minnesota. Emy has joined Bud as his Mrs Santa for over twenty years. In addition to serving twice as Exalted Ruler, Bud has also been an instructor for the seniors' drivers' safety program, Seniors 55 Alive. He has been a Ritual Coach at both Bloomington and Hopkins, served for four years as Minnesota's State Americanism Chairman, State Chaplain under then State President, Gary Lehman, and has also helped at Youth Camp for many years. When asked about becoming Santa, Bud stated that he had a cousin who was a resident in a nursing home and Bud and Emy decided to dress as Santa to brighten the Holiday Season for those living in the residence. That spread to entertaining at other nursing homes. Over the years, he and Emy have collected stuffed animals from various sources, one being the Elks. Bud said the Elks were very generous with their gifts of the stuffed animals. He said that they gave away about twelve hundred PER YEAR. That's a LOT of stuffed animals. He and Emy will visit as Mr and Mrs Santa at the Children's "Breakfast with Santa" on Saturday, December 12, 2009. I asked Bud how he became an Elk and he stated that (years ago) he coached basketball and a Bloomington member, Albert Valley, asked him to come by the Elks Lodge and "see what we're all about." Bud said that he joined Bert at the Lodge to play a little pool and talk and decided to join. He said he felt at home at the Lodge and when he came in the door of the Lodge, by the time he got to the bar, was insulted at least four times. He has so much enjoyed being an Elk over the years, and that the involvement and investment of the Elks with Veterans and the Community has added to his life. He was also a Boy Scout Master and the Elks aided and supported their troop in many ways; and, there are so many friends. Bud, thank you for your many faithful years of service in so many areas of our Elks Organization. Enjoy your month.
Dick Owens November 2009 November's Elk of the Month is 46-year, Life Member, Dick Owens. In talking with Dick, I learned that he was born in a Minneapolis hospital, raised in Hopkins (the family barn was located in the commercial parking lot across the street from the Lodge) and has spent all of his life (save for his stint in the Army) working and raising his family there. Dick and his wife, Joan, have been married for 56 years. They share 4 children, 2 girls and twin boys. The twin boys, Mike and Steven are also Elk members. He and Joan enjoy their 5 grandchildren and a 6th grandchild is expected in early November. Dick was initiated into the Hopkins Elks Lodge when the Lodge was located in the basement of Carl's Café. Dick stated that he came to be a member through friends and one thing he likes about the Elks is sharing in phases of Elks' lives. He was made Elk of the Year when Dr. Norm Schultz was Exalted Ruler, cooked regularly, served on the House Committee and was also Chairman for many years. He is an active Elk. Dick served in the Army from 1953-1955 and spent eighteen of those months in Germany. He and Joan lived with a German couple and their first daughter, Nancy, was born in Germany and their second daughter, Mary, and sons were born in the USA. Dick stated that he remembers the Berlin Wall and the US and Russian tanks and soldiers guarding their respective ground. He remembered it was unsettling and actually scary. In his younger years, he worked as a meat cutter; and during his time in Germany cooked for over 300 soldiers every day. He respects our Veterans and does a lot to help them. In addition to the Elks, he also belongs to the American Legion and the VFW and is well known for putting on fundraising dinners to raise money for phone cards that are distributed to military personnel who are deployed overseas. He has also driven military families from the 133rd AW to doctor appointments and provided other help to them as well. I know I can always count on him. Now retired from his real estate career, Dick enjoys volunteering in and around Hopkins. He usually has a feather stuck in his cap. When I asked him why, he stated simply, "I like feathers." Dick also likes working with wood. He has built 3,838 duck houses, many bird feeders and constructed benches as well. He donates some of these items to fundraisers and builds upon request. Dick, thank you for all you have done over the years, your service to our country and being a good and loyal Elk. Enjoy your month.
Bill Smetana October 2009 This month's Elk-of-the-Month was born and raised in the Minnetonka/Hopkins area and a few streets bear his family's name. Yes, Bill Smetana is our October Elk-of-the-Month. Did you know that Bill went to school in a 2-room country school house where the Opus Complex now sits? He "says" (with a twinkle in his eye) that he walked 3 miles "uphill both ways" to school every day. His family had acreage in the area and they worked about 50 of that as a truck garden and the rest as a dairy farm. Some of the stories Bill was sharing I promised not to publish but they are pretty colorful and what I would imagine Bill to be as a boy. He and his aunt still work a garden and sell their produce at the Hopkins Farmer's Market during the summer. Bill has been a member of the Hopkins Lodge for about 19 years and has been a very dedicated and active part of our Lodge. He has been self-employed since 1986 and prepares many of our member's tax returns. I would like to give you an idea of what his activities have been over the years, he worked folding, stapling and mailing the Hopline for about 12 years; (when hard-copy of the Hopline ceased being mailed, he and the 6-8 people that worked on this project threw their own going away party-they are still a tight-knit group at the Elks) he and his wife, Carol, have put together the Thursday night salad bar for the steak frys for about 12 years - getting a fill-in only when Carol was ill a few years ago; Bill and Dick Stelzer have been cooking fish for the Friday night fish frys for over 9 years; he also lays claim to knowing "Santa" and has had more than one lady sit on his lap at the Lady's Christmas party and thrilled kids during the Christmas Season. He has also been instrumental in helping to host Thanksgiving, Mother's Day and Easter Brunches at the Lodge. Bill has been a member of the Lodge Trustees 3 times and Chairman 3 times also. Bill is the official Lodge new member interviewer. When I asked him what he liked about interviewing new members he stated that "I like to meet people first-hand who are coming into the Lodge. I like meeting people and finding out more about them and how I can get them involved in the Lodge. I like sharing what the Elks stand for and do in our community. " While he has also worked on the highway clean-up for many years and a few other areas, he has not served on the House Committee or been an Officer in any of the Lodge chairs. Bill's accomplishments have been many. He has been Elk of the Year 3 times, Volunteer of the Year once and this past summer, one of the Grand Marshals of this last summer's Raspberry Parade. Bill likes being an Elk and the people he has met along the way. Thanks Bill for your years of service and your quick wit. Enjoy your month.
Tom and Dottie Plehal September 2009 Yes, we have two Elks of the Month for September because Dottie and Tom Plehal are a team at home and at the Elks and can't be split for any reason. The couple has been married for over 47 years; and share 2 sons, 1 granddaughter, 1 grand son and a new great granddaughter. Tom has been a member of the Elks for thirty-one years and Dottie a member for ten years. Tom and Dottie call the Elks their second home. Their accomplishments and participation in the Elks over the years is something of which they can be very proud. Tom has held all chair offices within the Lodge except Esquire and also served as Trustee for 5 years. After his year as Exalted Ruler, he went on to become Metro District Grand Exalted Ruler. Tom has also been our Bar Manager, part of the cast of our ever-popular Mystery Theaters and is currently the Membership Chairman for our Lodge. Before becoming an Elk, Dottie was Vice President of the Hopkins Elks Ladies Auxiliary. They have both helped in the kitchen for breakfasts and Wednesday hamburger nights and support events at the Lodge. One of Tom's goals for this year is to get more new members (better than our plus 1 goal) and see our Lodge grow. For the last 4 years they have been hosting the Sunday Football games at the Lodge with food and fun and door prizes. During the off-season, Dottie searches for "Vikes" door prizes that are given away at the event. Tom stated, "Some of the door prizes are donated by members or they may be freebees from the distributors." Dottie said that she loves garage sale finds. When I asked Tom why he liked running the event he said, "It is fun and I like trying to come up with different foods to serve. I have learned a lot about cooking for a lot of people. I like seeing people having a good time and seeing people bounce into the game." Hopefully, the Vikes won't let us down this year. Proceeds from the "donations can" will go to support the elevator fund. When asked what they liked about being an Elk they both replied, "The friends you make and it is a fun place to be involved." Dottie also said, "It is nice to come into a place where a woman come by herself and feel safe." Congratulations and thanks to both of you for all of your hard work and dedication.
Jim Gall August 2009 The August Elk of the Month is Jim Gall. Jim is a long time Hopkins Elks member, 21 years and counting. Since Jim's retirement from the Mattress Value Super Stores, he has found more time to volunteer within the Lodge. Over the years, Jim has helped with the Hopline, folding, stapling, and labeling. He has helped with the ENF auction, been a Gaming Committee member, shucked his share of corn for the Raspberry Festival and Ribfest over the years and has also helped with set up for both events. What Jim is probably best known for within the Lodge is our Highway Clean-up project. Many years ago, he was one of the "cleaners" on the project. About 6 years ago, he inherited the project from Virg Evenstad and has been the project manager ever since. Three times every year: Spring, Summer and Fall, he recruits his group of workers. During a talk with Jim, he said that "The number of volunteers willing to give up a Saturday morning to help clean our section of the highway along Excelsior Boulevard has been steadily growing. There has also been a steady growth of new members in the past few years." When asked why he continues with the project, he stated, "The project is worthwhile. There is a satisfaction being able to get a group together, a solid core of Elks and family members and getting new members involved. We do something good for the community. " Jim believes the Elks are a great group of individuals with many, many fine people who are involved in important activities. He says, "the Elks is an organization of which he is proud to be a part. He likes socializing and participating in the activities. Fine, fine group of people." Jim, thank you for all your help at Hopkins 2221 and being who you are, a long time member and a good and steady Elk.
Chuck Flammang July 2009 Chuck Flammang is July's Elk of the Month. Chuck has been a member of the Hopkins Lodge for 14 years and editor of the Hopline for over 12 of those years. He and his wife, Chris will be moving soon to Tennessee. Chuck's contributions to our Lodge are many. He has served as Inner Guard, Tiler and Chaplain; and participated in 2 National Ritual Competitions. He has also been part of cooking crews for breakfasts, and for the fish and steak fry's. He said that "I volunteered so much at the Lodge that people thought I lived there!" Chuck has also volunteered for the Raspberry Festival and Flag Day. His one regret is that he was never able to – for some reason or another – march in the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. Chuck's favorite part of being editor of the Hopline is, that it gave him a better opportunity to find out more about the Lodge and its members. One of his biggest challenges was producing a "clean" (error-free) issue of the Hopline. He said that didn't happen often, but that effort was something to aspire to every month." Chuck, thank you from all of the Lodge members, the Officers and I for all of your years of service to our Lodge, its history and growth and for all you have shared with us of yourself.
Dick Stelzer June 2009 June's Elk of the Month has been a member for over 37 years. He was initiated at the Mankato Lodge and transferred to the Hopkins Lodge in 1991. He has faithfully managed and cooked on the Fish Fry crew Friday nights for about 10 years and isn't giving up his "secret batter recipe". For the past few years he has co-chaired the Raspberry Festival events at our Lodge and has been co-sponsor (if not sponsor) of many Thanksgiving, Easter and Mother's Day Brunches. He and Jody Olson also cook for the Hopkins Lions on the first Tuesday of the month October through May. He is always ready to help whenever needed. In past years, he has served on the House Committee. His quiet, unassuming manner and quick wit is always appreciated. He looks somewhat sporty, yet dignified, in a bow tie and I find that he wears a cooking apron just as well. June's EOM is "Reverend" Dick Stelzer. Dick, congratulations, and thank you, for all you have given to us in time, donations and of yourself. You are truly an Elk to emulate.
Jan Converse May 2009 Jan is a 9-year member who has more energy than anyone would know what to do with. Her energies are directed towards helping in many areas enthusiastically showing what it means to be an Elk within our Elks community, our Lodge and especially in sharing her American Indian heritage. You may learn a few words of Objiwe if you listen hard enough. She often generously shares one of her special talents with us – cooking, baking and canning. She prepares breakfast for the highway clean-up projects and for many other events at the Lodge. Migwetch (thank you), for who you are and for all you share with us.
Norris Haslip April 2009 Norris has been seen working in the kitchen, volunteering as an office assistant to get the new membership cards out to our members, working during the Raspberry Festival in many capacities, having a twinkle in his eye and always sharing a huge infectious smile with everyone.