Our Pledge: "So long as there are veterans, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks will never forget them."
And to that we add those men and women currently enlisted in the various branches of the Armed Services. We have several ongoing initiatives and events focused on our veterans and military personnel from Adopt a Troop, Bunko Night at the VA, Flag Day Ceremonies and Veterans Dinners. For the Order of Elks, veterans remembrance is a daily proposition. We never have and never will never forget the sacrifices these heroes made so that we may be free. For the Elks, November is Veterans Remembrance Month.
The contact info for the individuals identified below can be obtained at the Lodge.
Welcome Home Kits for Homeless Veterans We are working with the VA to provide starter kits of items to establish a new home when a homeless veteran finds permanent housing. The kits provide basic necessities such as bedding, towels, microwave, dishware, pots, pans, cleaning supplies and more. Elks members shop for and deliver the kit when the veteran moves in. Contact us at email@example.com if you'd like to volunteer and/or donate. Check out our Welcome Home Program page for more information. Watch this short video on the program. Contact Rick or Gretchen Peterson if you'd like more information.
Bunko At The VA Hospital Hosted on the 5th Wednesday of the month (when applicable) we travel to the VA hospital and play Bunko with vets. Bunko is a simple dice game that provides lots of laughs, some prizes and generally a good time for everyone. We play Bunko with the Veterans for about an hour, provide food and some goodies, laugh and let them know we care. If you are interested, please contact Guy Saffell (the Veteran's Chair for Hopkins) at 612.722.1948.
Flag Day Ceremony Held every June 14, our Flag Day ceremony gathers veterans, active military, friends, family and members of the community to honor our country's flag. It consists of a procession of flags, the Pledge of Allegiance, stories from members of the military and generally remarks by local community figures.
Veterans Day Dinner Each year on or about Veterans Day (November 11), we host a free dinner for our veterans and those in active military service. Elks members, family and friends pay tribute to the vets and military personnel. We have a special tribute to the fallen and missing soldiers as well as hand out special stars taken from our country's flag.
Flags for Ft Snelling Each Memorial Day weekend, a group of volunteers works with Flags for Ft Snelling to place an American flag at the headstones in remembrance of our Minnesota Veterans at Ft. Snelling. There are over 225,000 buried at this beautiful cemetery. Contact Sue Huttner to get more information.
Holiday Dinner Veterans East Through a Freedom Grant provided by the Elks National Foundation, our Lodge holds a holiday dinner between Thanksgiving and Christmas for veterans living at Veterans East - a low income veterans building. We provide a hot meal including holiday treats as well as a tote of non perishable groceries. Contact Carrie Opheim our Grants Coordinator if you'd like to participate.
Gold Star Weekend Members of our Lodge participate in a Gold Star Family weekend event in August. Gold Star families have lost a family member to active service in the military. The Gold Star Family weekend is hosted at Camp Ripley and provides families a weekend to honor their family member and help support each other during difficult times. Our members help provide food and companionship during the weekend. Contact Sue Huttner for more information.
Holes for Heroes Members of our Lodge participate in an ice fishing event in February on Medicine Lake to honor veterans and their families. Activities include handing out hot coffee, directing people to the appropriate location, providing information and more. Contact Tom Kramin - Willmar Lodge - for more information.
Adopt A Troop Our Lodge sends care packages to troops serving overseas to help ease the loneliness of being overseas. We accept donations of items including snacks, hygiene items, cards, games and more. Contact Sharon Hall for more information.