John Miller December, 2011 The Elk of the Month for December is John Miller. Not everyone knows that we have one of the most active members in the state right here in Hopkins. He currently is the chairman of the Minnesota Elks Youth Camp, as well as the Accident Prevention board for the state of Minnesota, as well as at our lodge. He is also our Penny-a-Day Chair for Hopkins. His two sons Adrian and Brandon, as well as his brother Mark, are also members. John joined the Elks in 1977 and pretty much hit the ground running. He became an officer, went through the chairs, and became Exalted Ruler of the Bloomington Lodge in 1983. He joined the Elks Youth Camp board in the early 90's and has served as the chairman of that board for 16 years. During the time as chairman, the camp has seen countless improvements and upgrades. You can find him representing the camp at the Grand Lodge Convention every year, helping to staff the exhibition booth for the state of Minnesota. If you attended the Banquet at the Hopkins convention this summer, you saw the final chapter of his career as the convention banquet MC, which started here in Hopkins many years ago. He was also the Minnesota State Elk of the Year in 1999. We thank you for all you have done and continue to do for the Elks. Enjoy your month!
Dedria Noll November, 2011 The Elk of the Month is Dedria "DeeDee" Noll who joined a few years ago hitting the ground running and hasn't stopped yet. She has been our ENF chairperson for three years, bringing us two successful silent auctions, and the infamous "Somethingwed Game" last year. Her and her fiancée Ron are also active throughout our community, last year they helped to raise the money and put together 200 care packages for homeless teens. She has also been active on the membership front. In the last few years she has gotten her sisters to join us. She is a fun character to be around, whether it is through wearing a toga at the Ribfest, hanging out at Youth Camp, or just spending time in the bar, she really lights up the room. This winter, keep your eye out for her acting skills on stage in the Murder Mystery Play. Thank you for all that you do! Enjoy your month!
Gretchen Peterson October, 2011 The Elk of the Month for October is Gretchen Peterson. As the ER of a lodge with a large membership, 641 and counting, it is sometimes a challenge to keep members up to date and informed of last minute events and information that can arise. There is one member in our lodge that makes that job a lot easier for me. Gretchen is instrumental in our lodge communications. In Gretchen's time with the Elks, she has been a member of the House Committee, currently chairs our Ribfest, edits our award winning Hopline Newsletter along with her husband Rick, and she is also the webmaster for both the Hopkins Elks and the Minnesota State Elks Association web sites. Born and raised in the Hopkins Minnetonka area, Gretchen wasn't familiar with the Elks until her husband Rick, a 19 year member, introduced her to the Elks 5 years ago. They've been a great team ever since. She and her husband donated several laptops to the lodge for use in the bar area and maintain the wireless network. She enjoys organizing special events such as the Oktoberfest and Veterans dinners last year and the Bake Sale in December that raised $1,000 for the local food shelf. Gretchen's contributions to the Elks are usually seen, but are sometimes an afterthought. There are many things we do around here that would not be pulled off as smoothly without her help. She is an asset to both the lodge and our officers. Next time you see her, make sure to congratulate her and thank her for all that she does. Enjoy your month!
Robin Kovach September, 2011 In thinking of candidates for Elk of the Month throughout this year, I have mainly been focusing on people who have been around for a long time. Now I would like to recognize one of our new members who has made an impact in her short time here. Robin Kovach just joined us in March, but she has made a point to get involved quickly! She could be seen all around town with fellow new member Christina in June collecting donation items and coordinating the raffle drawing for the Golf Tournament. She was also very active over raspberry weekend and sat in the heat on the parade float. Robin grew up in the Hopkins area, and currently lives in Minnetonka with her sister KellyAnn, who she sponsored to become a member with us in May. Robin says her favorite thing about being an Elk thus far is being a part of a new family other than her own, and being able to help out in the community. We hope that continues. Enjoy your month!
Blaine and Arlene Fiveland August, 2011 The Elk(s) of the month for August are a package deal. Blaine and Arlene have been staples in our lodge for 41 years. Blaine joined the elks in 1970. Arlene joined up officially in 2000, but if you ask either one of them, she has been an Elk alongside Blaine for the entire journey! Blaine has held just about every officer chair in his time with the Elks, including two terms as Exalted Ruler, and a year as the District Deputy to the Grand Exalted Ruler. Arlene has been our Lodge Tiler for as long as I can remember. They are both very active in our lodge's Ritual activities. Arlene has been our Candidate during this fun stretch of ritual teams, and there haven't been very many officers in recent memory who haven't been coached by Blaine at some point in our careers. The Fivelands are a common sight in our Murder Mystery plays, and have entertained us very much over the years. Most recently, they took on the big task of Co-Chairpeople for the State Convention that we hosted in June. They are both assets to our lodge, and we are all very lucky to have them around for help with anything that may come up. Thank you to both of you for all that you do. Enjoy your month!
Harlan Cook July, 2011 The Elk of the Month for July is Harlan Cook. Harlan spent his formative years growing up in Duluth with his four brothers and one sister. Harlan has been a member for over 21 years and has been a very active member in our lodge. He can regularly be found representing Hopkins at the State Bowling and Golf Tournaments, and he also regularly attends State Conventions. He is always a fun character to be around during those events, and has been responsible for keeping me out past my bedtime on several convention evenings over the years! Harlan's contributions can't always be easily seen, as he is often helping in the kitchen during steak and fish fry nights and is a regular member of Dwight & Company Sunday Breakfast team. But one big contribution he has made is clearly visible, the new paint on the walls in the dining room, bar, and kitchen is Harlan's doing. He is always willing to help out with the big projects around the lodge, and I am glad to have him around. Enjoy your month Harlan!
Kurth Smith June, 2011 The Elk of the Month for June is Kurth Smth. Kurth has been a member of the Elks for 63 years. He joined the order back in 1948 when he was living in California. He later moved to Minnesota and became a charter member of the Bloomington Elks lodge. He became a member of Hopkins when the two lodges merged in 1995. Kurth has held many offices with the Elks in the Bloomington and Hopkins Lodges, Minnesota State Association, and the Grand Lodge. At the Bloomington lodge he served in every chair, and is a Past Exalted Ruler. He served on the State Board of Trustees for 5 years, and later served another 5 years in the office of State Treasurer, which also included the responsibility of being the Treasurer for the Elks Youth Camp. He also served a year as District Deputy to the Grand Exalted Ruler. Most recently, Kurth held the Hopkins Lodge Treasurer position until 2008, and is famous for his "Ballpark Reports". Kurth and his wife Shirley live in Eden Prairie. His two sons Gary and Dennis are also members of the Elks. Kurth and Dennis are one of two Father/Son Exalted Ruler duos that we have as members of our lodge. Kurth and Shirley can be seen at many lodge events and often come up for lunch on Wednesdays. Kurth has contributed a lot of his time and effort to our Lodge and to the State Association over the years. I am proud to present him as Elk of the Month. Enjoy your month Kurth!
Cori Plehal May, 2011 This month's Elk of the Month is Cori Plehal. Cori has been a member since 2000. She got her start in the beginning by selling pull tabs and helping with dinners and events up at the lodge. When she saw more of what the Elks were all about she decided that she wanted to join. Cori worked with at risk youth for 18 years, and saw great opportunities to help with kids in our community through the Elks. She was sponsored by her father, Chuck Lodermeier. She and her family are very proud of what Chuck did in his time here at the Elks and they love that they can continue to honor his memory by participating in any way they can. Cori is married to Scott Plehal, a 22 year member himself. They have 2 kids, Sara. 28, and Nick, 24. Cori and Scott are very active in coordinating our Mexican nights up at the lodge. As an Elk, she has also served on several House Committees during her time as a member. She likes being involved in the House Committee and getting to be involved in the events and running of the club. She says that her favorite thing about being an Elk is mainly the people that we have up here on a daily basis. She loves coming up and having a good time, and can be heard singing a song on one of our many karaoke nights. Cori is a strong presence in our lodge, and we thank her for all she continues to do. Congratulations Cori, enjoy your month!
Jim Huttner March, 2011 This month's Elk of the Month is Jim Huttner. Jim has been a member for 25 years and has participated in a wide variety of ways within the Elks. He started participating at the Elks at age 13 when his parents—Bill and Virginia Huttner—would bring him up to the lodge to share dishwashing duties in the kitchen. He has passed that tradition on to his son Will who can often be seen back in the kitchen doing the dishes on Steak Fry nights or other events. Jim is a local boy who grew up in the Hopkins / Minnetonka area. After high school, he went on to graduate from college and then joined the Army where he served as an enlisted man for 4 years and as an officer for 10 years. Jim's father Bill brought him into the Elks as a member back in 1987 and thus he is celebrating his 25th year as a member. He has spent 10 of his 25 years serving in the officer chairs in one capacity or another. He climbed through the Knight chairs before bowing out in what would have been his year at ER in order to start a family. He restarted in the chairs 5 years later and became ER in 2001-2002. When he's not in chairs, he's teaching the chairs through his role as one of the ritual coaches and has been the head ritual coach the past two years. He enjoys the chairs, the ritual and the ritual coaching because of the challenge of it and the synergy inherent with his past Army officer training. In addition to his ritual duties he has performed the indoctrination of new members for the past 8 years. On the night of initiation Jim introduces the new members to the Elks, explains what the Elks are all about and helps set expectations. Jim is also the founder of the Mystery Dinner Theater Play that was recently put on in January. The idea of the play originated when Jim wanted to do something different and unique for the State President visit while he was ER. Jim, Jody Olson and Arlene Fiveland created the first play event and its been held 5 times over the past 10 years—to tremendous success! Unfortunately this year, Jim was the victim in the murder! Jim likes the people at the Elks, the camaraderie and the sense of having his very own Cheers! to go to where everyone knows your name. His wife Sue knows where to find him when he says "I'm going uptown!" Congratulations Jim. Enjoy your month!
Gary Capone February, 2011 Gary Capone is February"s Elk of the Month. Gary is now in his 40th year of membership at the Elks and has been involved in the Elks across a variety of activities. Back in the day Gary and his wife Chris enjoyed many of the activities and events at the lodge, Italian dinners and what not. They were most impressed and still remember the Cornish game hen served the night of the initiation dinner. Gary and Chris are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this year. With three daughters—Kelly, Kathy and Kim—Gary was surrounded by women and enjoyed coming up to the lodge as back then it was a mens only club. With the introduction of women into the club, they are all now members of the Elks. What he most enjoys about the Elks is the camaraderie and the Elks involvement in the community. From sponsoring baseball teams to pancake breakfasts to soap box derby races which he introduced and were contested every year for 10-12 years, the Elks are a long standing community partner. While Gary has been an extraordinary recruiter of new members having brought in 5 new members this past year, he misses some of the older members who are no longer with us. Their friendship meant a lot and they were good examples of having a good time while giving back to the community. Gary demonstrates these values each and every day by greeting people when he's at the lodge and by his involvement at the Elks. He has been a trustee, served on the House Committee several years including as chairman. He and his wife Chris helped drive the fundraising effort for the elevator and you can often find him in the kitchen serving up fabulous omelets for Sunday breakfast or cooking up pasta for an Italian dinner night. And if you ever find "Go Bears" written in lipstick on the toilet seat in the bathroom, you won't have to look far to find Gary laughing in the corner of the bar. Thank you for all you've done for the Elks. Congratulations and enjoy your month.
LeRoy and Carol Stahowiak January, 2011 LeRoy and Carol Stahowiak are this month's Elks of the Month. The Stahowiaks have been members since 1991. LeRoy distinctly remembers his interview at the Elks as it was the day of the Halloween blizzard back in 1991 in which we received 28 inches of snow. He was glad to make it home that day. LeRoy and Carol both grew up in the metropolitan area. Carol graduated from Central High School in Minneapolis. LeRoy graduated from Hopkins High in 1945, went on to serve in the Marine Corp from 1945-1947 and served in Korea. He went to school at Miami University and worked at A.C. Nielsen for 33 years in Columbus, OH before retiring and moving back to the Hopkins area. LeRoy met Carol through mutual friends and they've been married for 54 years. They raised two children—one now living in Seattle and one remaining in Columbus, OH—and have 5 grandchildren. They were first introduced to the Elks by long time members Ed Hjermstad, the Korsmos and the Cathers. Vern Korsmo sponsored LeRoy's membership in to the Elks. The Stahowiaks are members of the VFW and American Legion and feel it's important to support the organizations you belong to. Within the Elks they are best known as one of the movers and shakers supporting the Golden Chefs and you'll often find LeRoy, Carol and brother Bill (also a member) cooking in the kitchen. The Golden Chefs meet each Wednesday for lunch, cards, socializing and the like and are responsible for financially supporting many different causes and initiatives within the Lodge. They were one of the first groups to donate money to kick off the elevator project as well as contribute money for the new freezer. Carol runs a craft sale almost every year at the Elks and they were both involved in the garage sale held last year as well as bake sales over the years. They enjoy the Elks because of the good people here and the Elks simply "do a good job". Thank you both for all of your time and energy. Enjoy your month!