Dwight Koenen December, 2010 Dwight Koenen is this month's Elk of the Month. Dwight was born and raised on a farm on the remote outskirts of Benson Minnesota and graduated from Benson High School. The farm is truly out in the middle of no where. It is about 25 miles from the cities of Benson, Clair City and Montevideo. He grew up with three sisters and one brother and mom now lives in Clair City. After Benson, Dwight moved to St. Cloud to attend St. Johns University where he graduated in 1993. During his stay in St. Cloud he worked for Pizza Hut where his love of cooking first began. Pizza Hut was the company that moved him to Brooklyn Park and then Shakopee as a store and regional training manager. He now works for Wells Fargo as a Sr. Underwriter and Trainer. But Dwight said his passion is still cooking and it would be his dream job. Dwight and Jennifer Danforth live in St. Louis Park with their children Jade, soon to be 10, Gavin 8 and Zach 10. Dwight joined the Elks because he was a member of the Elks softball team and part of the teams activities were cooking for the club. He has now been a member for twelve years. His sponsor was Scott King. Since joining, Dwight, has been active in a lot of ways. His first volunteer work happened before he became an Elk by helping run the Hoop Shoot contest. Since then he has volunteered to do the first two shifts of cooking for the Raspberry Festival for the past 10 years. He regularly has a team to cook Sunday breakfast and has done many a Thursday night steak fry. Along with all that cooking he has cooked for the last 4 Ladies Christmas parties and many of the bowling banquets. Think he likes to cook? Oh, and he has competed in the annual Elks Ribfest 8 years in a row. Starting in 1999 Dwight started in the chairs at the Elks culminating in his becoming the ER the year of 2006-2007. Dwight is also involved in the Ritual team and feels it is an important part of making the Elks who they are and takes great pride in it. He came back as ER for the ritual team in 2007-08 and in the past has won all state at every chair with the exception of inner guard. At the national level he won All American in 2007 and has also been in the top 5 in the nation in all chairs that he has competed in. He loves the Elks because it has been a place where he as been able to make many a friend. Let's everyone take time out to congratulate Dwight. He is a great example of what we all should be as Elks! Enjoy your month Dwight!
Rick Langenfeld November, 2010 Rick Langenfeld is this month's Elk of the Month. Rick was born in Hastings Minnesota and later moved to Bloomington where he played hockey and football for Bloomington Jefferson and then graduated in 1975. He has been living in the Hopkins area for many years and has been employed by the same company, Napco, for 32 years as a research and development mechanic. He came to the Elks over 25 years ago because a couple of the guys at Napco said that it was a good organization to belong to. He let his membership lapse for a short bit, but 14 years ago Joey Rachael brought him back to the Elks. Rick likes being an Elk because of the good people in the organization ( they have fun too!) and the Elks commitment to the community. He was taught by his parents that it is important to get involved in the community and that is exactly what Rick has done. Here at the Elks he regularly volunteers for the Thursday Steak Fry dinners, the new member initiation dinners, special dinners such as the District Deputy visits and occasionally he is in there helping with the breakfast. He helped make Thanksgiving dinner happen last year and he was a big part of making the Raspberry Festival and the Rib Fest a success. Thanks Rick! He has also taken his volunteer effort to his local union, his church and the Boy Scouts. In his spare time Rick loves the outdoors. He hunts ( Pheasant and grouse), fishes and likes to bike. (The pedaling kind). Rick's folks now live in Prescott and he has an older brother living in South Carolina. Thanks mom and dad Langenfeld for raising a good Elk! Enjoy your month!
John Olson October, 2010 The October Elk of the Month is John Olson. John was introduced to the Elks by Dana Western and Jim Sommers 4 years ago and became interested by the nice people and variety of activities at the lodge. His wife Carol also became a member shortly thereafter. John and Carol have been married for 43 years and have a son and a daughter, both married with children giving them several grandchildren to hang out with. They are also members at the American Legion and VFW. You'll often find them cycling through the back roads of Minnesota or on a cross country trip on their Honda Gold Wing. They recently returned from a 1,000+ mile cycle trip out to a wedding in Colorado. John has been instrumental in getting our Raspberry Festival float up and operational the last couple of years as well as assisted by helping clean up and tear down tents after the Ribfest. And, thanks to John and Carol the Elks have a new flag flying at the lodge. John saw that the previous flag was a little worse for wear and donated a new one for the lodge to use. The old flag was then retired at a ceremony by the VFW. In John's spare time he also volunteers as a motorman for the Minnesota Streetcar Association where he operates a trolley on one of two lines in Excelsior or near Lake Calhoun. He enjoys the great people at the lodge and wishes he'd joined 20 years ago! As with most organizations, he sees our challenge as finding and keeping members that want to participate and be involved in the organization. John lends a hand when one is needed and demonstrates the qualities of a good Elk in many small, subtle ways. Thanks for your time and energy, John. Enjoy your month!
Mike Tait September, 2010 September's Elk of the Month is Mike Tait. Mike has been a member of the Hopkins Lodge for twenty-four years and joined because he believes in civic responsibility and being a force behind the efforts of committees and organizations. In addition to the Elks, Mike also belongs to the Rotary and Lions. At the Elks, he has served on the House Committee more than once, has cooked for the Sunday morning breakfasts and has been on a Thursday night steak fry cooking team for more than fifteen years. He helps whenever and wherever he can. Mike is one person who gladly and meaningfully says "yes" when asked or sees a need. As our ER, Bob Oakes, stated, "Mike really busts butt around the Lodge." Mike has also been Grand Marshall of many parades in Hopkins including the Raspberry Day Parade and the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. He served on the Raspberry Day Board for twenty-four years and also served as the Executive Director for the 50th Anniversary of the Raspberry Day event. Over the years, Mike has served on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota State Multiple Sclerosis Organization and has been instrumental in raising over $100,000 for the cause. If there is a title of "Mr. Volunteer" I would imagine Mike would be a great candidate. Mike has two daughters, Dani and Nicki. He commented that City of Hopkins has always been his favorite town and that the town has been good to him and to his family. Mike thanks for your commitment to your community and to the Hopkins Elks Lodge. Enjoy your month.
Jeff Josephson August, 2010 The August Elk of the Month is Jeff "JJ" Josephson. JJ is a three-year member who was born and raised in Minneapolis and has lived in Hopkins for the past three years. We have our bartender and member, Richard, for bringing JJ in as a member. What drew JJ to the elks is that he found the Lodge a place to "plug into" where he could help and be of service to others in our community. Jeff has three children: son, Noah; and two daughters, Leah and Ashley. He and his ex-wife, Viv, are "best friends" and can be found working at the Lodge together. Jeff's Mom (93 years young) lives in Tuscon, AZ, where JJ wintered this past year. He has decided to go into business with one of his three brothers and live in Tuscon; but has decided he needs to come back to Hopkins during Raspberry Festival and possibly for Rib Fest. JJ IS going to remain a member of the Hopkins Lodge. He said that the hardest part of leaving Hopkins, even for a few months, is leaving friends at the Elks that have become family. JJ has worked in the electrical field for over thirty-three years and has been a member of the Minneapolis Union of Electrical Works with two of his employers being Starbird Electric (sixteen years) and the University of Minnesota (eight years) and is now retired. He likes to help out wherever he can and is a definite "yes-man" at the lodge. He still stays in touch with the Starbird company. His electrical expertise has been a real boon to the lodge and has saved us many dollars in repairs and construction costs. He is also known to work in the kitchen for Sunday morning breakfasts, Highway Clean-Up, Rib Fest, Raspberry Festival – working on Main Street preparing and selling our ever-popular "Pork Chop-on-a-stick", JJ is also found cooking during Main Street Days to help raise money for our Ritual Team or a Lodge project. When asked what he likes best about belonging to the Hopkins Elks Lodge, his reply, "I feel trusted at the Lodge; I like what the Elks do for the members of the community, our kids, police and fire fighters. I like being an active part of the community and a solution and problem-solving organization." Jeff's ending to the interview, "Thank you to all Hopkins Elks members." Enjoy your time with us until you leave, Jeff. See you at Rib Fest?
Dean Paulson June, 2010 June's Elk of the Month is Dean Paulson. Dean, as you may be aware, is also the Lodge's Bar Manager. Dean has been a member of Hopkins for twenty-two years and was initiated in Stillwater. Stillwater???? Yes, since there wasn't an initiation scheduled soon for our Lodge when he joined, he went to Stillwater and their Officers installed him. Dick Carlson is responsible for bringing Dean into the Order. A little while after he became a member, Dean moved to California, but then moved back to Minnesota and the Hopkins Lodge about a year-and-a-half later. He said that he visited many Elks Lodges in California when he lived there but believes Hopkins is still the best. He opened a car dealership in Hopkins when he moved back to Minnesota; bartended at a few local establishments, the Hopkins Lodge being one of them. After awhile, he became head bartender then was hired as the bar manager and has held that position for seven years. Dean has been busy over the years with many special projects that are not included in his job description. The annual golf tournament is one of the special events that is long lived – this year will be the eighth tournament. Dean turned this event into a great fund raiser for the Lodge. Over the years, half of the tournament proceeds have gone to the Club and the other half has helped raise money for the Ritual Team, TV's in the bar and dining area, and Student-of-the-Month scholarships to name a few. This year he is hoping to raise enough to replace the large TV in the dining area. One reason this tournament is special to Dean is that he is an avid golfer (even though he complains that he doesn't get out enough and play) and enjoys seeing others enjoy the tournament. The new elevator was another of Dean's projects. He worked with the Trustees, the City of Hopkins, architects, contractors and Lodge members to make the elevator a reality. During the elevator construction, he helped work on the handicapped bathroom located in the lower level of the building. These projects are all above-and-beyond his bar manager duties at the Lodge and are accomplished as a volunteer. Dean and his wife, Crystal, also an Elks member, live in Prior Lake with six cats, one dog, deer, pheasants and lots of other critters that live around their home. They both enjoy belonging to the Order and the Hopkins Lodge. When asked about what he has enjoyed or not enjoyed about being an Elk, his first response was that he didn't like the cliques at the Lodge when he first joined. He also noted that he has seen little of that behavior in the later years and that he believes this has helped make the Lodge a better place to have fun. Dean said he definitely enjoys being an Elk and working at the Hopkins Lodge. Thanks for all of your hard work, Dean. Enjoy your month.
Steve Guenther May, 2010 May's Elk of the Month is Steve "Guns" Guenther. Steve grew up in the western edge of Minnesota and came to live in Hopkins 1972. He and his wife, Jan, have one daughter, Michelle. Now retired, he worked for an industry in Plymouth, MN, for thirty-seven years in the production and sales departments. The Hopkins Elks welcomed Steve as a member over twenty-five years ago when of one of his neighbors encouraged him to "come and play at the Elks." After being a member for about six months, he found himself standing in the back of a pick-up truck painting the outside of the Lodge building. He was told by one of the members that it was "time to start giving back," and Steve has been doing that for all of his years as an Elk. Coaching little league for over twenty years has been one of his commitments our youth and to the community. He has also coached softball, football and broomball for over thirty years in Glenn Lake, Minnetonka and Hopkins. He likes interacting with kids and helping kids grow up. Steve served as Exalted Ruler of the Lodge in 1990 – 1991. He said that he has held all of the chair offices except Esquire. When asked about his year as ER, he stated, "It was a great year, good experience and great people around me." In addition to serving in the many chairs as an Officer (he served as Chaplain more than once), he also served ten years as a Trustee, five years on the House Committee and ran the Hoop Shoot. If he isn't coaching little league, he can be found in the kitchen cooking. For more than twenty-five years he has been cooking for bowling banquets, Friday night fish frys, installation dinner, burger basket, breakfasts and the annual golf tournament. He considers time spent at the Lodge as quality time and has developed lasting relationships because of being involved and belonging. When asked why he likes to be an Elk and be involved, he quietly stated, "I wanted to be serious about something that wasn't totally serious. It's a great family atmosphere; I love the place and that's why I continue to stay. You've gotta give back." Thank you for your years of involvement and service, Steve. Enjoy your month.
Candyce Ferrentino April, 2010 April's Elk of the Month is Candyce Ferrentino. Candyce is well recognized by her vivacious laugh and can-do attitude. In talking with Candyce, she explained that she is a 4-year member of our Elks Lodge (but has been around a few years before that) and is absolutely "IN LOVE WITH MY ELKS!" She is known for her creative and beautiful decorations for events within our Lodge and last year's Raspberry Parade entry. AND, she doesn't often have to go outside of her home to come up with the props. This was demonstrated at the Mardi Gras celebration that was held this past February. She helped turn our dining area into the French Quarter with some fabulous props and suggestions. It was truly a hit. Candyce says that she became an Elk because she loves the concept of volunteering and doing something outside of herself. The Elks organization provides this venue for her. She considers herself a "Domestic Diva" and belonging to the Elks provides an avenue to bring joy to others. She also likes the safety the Lodge provides for women. She was born and raised in St. Louis Park, MN and graduated from Minnehaha Academy. She has lived a very interesting life. She has a background in nursing and worked in the ear, nose and throat field at Methodist Hospital for over 12 years. When she lived in St. Petersburg, Florida, she owned and operated a dress shop, "The Sassy But Classy Boutique" for over 10 years and then returned to Hopkins with her son, Josh, where she has lived for the past 17 years. She now owns and operates a "Total Home Care" business serving families and homes from Bear Path Golf Community in Eden Prairie to the Minnehaha Parkway in Minneapolis. Clean your house, walk your dog, pay your bills, she does it all. An avid biker (the big ones) she belongs to ABATE of MN and produces a large fashion show on Rally Weekend on Labor Day. This is a fundraiser with the ABATE organization. The center of her life is her son, Joshua Heath. Candyce has been the sole source in Joshua's life both financially and emotionally since he was 7 years old. She is very proud of the fact that he served our country (Specialist in the Army Reserves) in Iraq for fifteen months and came home safely. She beams as she talks about Josh and his accomplishments. She's a very proud Mom. For those of you who may not know, Candyce is also a 5-year cancer survivor. She was treated for thyroid cancer (which she battled while Josh was in Iraq) and continues to get treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. She is also an extra in a Hollywood movie with Alan Arkin, "The Convincer" which was filmed in Hopkins and the surrounding Metro area. Listening to her tell her "story" is fascinating and exhausting. Thank you, Candyce, for all you do for the Elks and our community. Enjoy your month.
Joey Rachel March, 2010 March's EOM is Joey Rachel. Joey is a long-time member of our Lodge and can usually be found working in and around the lodge in various capacities. He is best known for his cooking. In February he helped put up our new ceiling in the dining room, front and back entrances and the bathrooms in the lodge; and, he created a wonderful Cajun cuisine for our State President's visit and Mardi Gras event. Thanks Joey for all of the volunteering you do in the Lodge and for sharing your many talents. Enjoy your month.
Patty Connery February, 2010 February's Elk of the Month is lovingly known as "Ma". She is Patty Connery, a ten-year member who absolutely loves the Elks, too. A couple of years ago she was named our "Guardian Angel." She proves that daily. Patty was born and raised in South Minneapolis and has lived in Minnetonka over thirty-one years. She has two children, Colleen and Chris. Chris is also a member of Hopkins 2221. Patty was hired out of high school as a buyer at Young Quinlan in blouses and hosiery. She has also worked at Reutter Inc., in Hopkins, and then for her husband in his appraisal business until he passed away. She then worked for the Hopkins School District for fourteen years as a Special Ed Para until she recently retired. When asked why she liked working with the Special Ed Kids she replied, "Because they are dear." She has a lot of good memories working with the kids. At the Lodge, she can be found bussing tables during steak and fish fry's, helping with the salad bar, working in the kitchen or doing whatever needs to be done. During Raspberry Festival and Rib Fest, she volunteers many hours again doing whatever is needed. Patty and her friend, Ron Schibilla, can be seen often at the Lodge and stated "The atmosphere at the Elks is great!" Thanks for being a "Good Elk", Patty. Enjoy your month.
Lloyd Hockel January, 2010 The January 2010 Elk of the Month is our oldest member of the Hopkins Elks Lodge, Lloyd Hockel – he is ninety-nine years young! Lloyd was born and raised in Hopkins and has been a member of the Hopkins Elks Lodge for over forty-two years. He worked for Minneapolis Moline as a skilled machinest for over forty years. He and his wife, Grace (now deceased), had two sons. Lloyd is also very proud of his Czech heritage. Lloyd is known for being one of the founders of the Golden Chefs and the Lodge's annual Tom and Jerry party. He was at this year's T&J with his red vest and lots of energy and smiles. One of his past interests is hand-making fly rods. Dick Owens regarding Lloyd, "He is a skilled craftsman in many areas and has extensive knowledge of agriculture and fly-rod making. Lloyd is very interesting to talk to on many subjects and has been politically active within Hopkins." More than once he has shared his views with the City Council. Lloyd has a daily routine and can generally be found at the Elks lodge around twelve-noon having his one brandy and talking with other Elks members. Lloyd is still active within the Lodge and attends many of our Lodge events. He still drives his car around town; and when he renewed his last drivers' license he kissed it when he received it in the mail because "it is good until 2013!" Thank you, Lloyd, for your on-going and active participation in the Lodge.