“Elks Pride” surfaced to the highest degree last Saturday at Tri-City Lodge No. 14 on West Shore Road in Warwick.
A short time ago, United States Marine Sgt. George Monteith approached Mark Eaton, Lodge 14’s Exalted Ruler, about renting the two-floor facility for a pre-deployment luncheon.
Eaton quickly told Monteith, who is the United States Marine Corps recruiter based in Warwick, “OK, but just one problem; there won’t be any charge for the hall rental.”
The Lodge 14 leader who, along with other officers, has pumped new life into the Tri-City Elks in the past year, also told Monteith, “There won’t be any charge for the luncheon, either.”
Monteith, a United States Marine gunnery sergeant, was taken aback.
“That was an unbelievable show of generosity, especially since the luncheon would fall during the busy holiday season,” Monteith said. “The Elks really made the day special for our new recruits – and their families.”
To which Eaton replied, “These are our future veterans; young men and women going into the military. We wanted to give them a special sendoff.”
And Lodge 14 did indeed make the afternoon special for 140 people.
“You don’t have to believe in politics or war and government,” Eaton said, “but you do have to support our men and women of our military. And, as Exalted Ruler, I’m very proud of this lodge for the participation we received from our members to put on this luncheon.”
The deployment luncheon created so much interest that even two friends of Lodge 14 – Kathy Burnstingle and Janet Ward – showed up to help prepare and serve the multi-item buffet that included everything from meatballs and pasta to sausage and peppers to chicken and a variety of different desserts.
Lodge No. 14 members who helped make the deployment luncheon for 50 to 60 recruits and their families an overwhelming success, were Albert “Cookie” Delory, Richard Warner, Cheryl Devlin, Timothy Beaudry, Lori Eaton, Fay Lovejoy, Gina Appolina, Mark Eaton, Noel Petisce, Nicholas Rossi, Griff Williams, John Bonde and Robert and Susan Harrington.
“This was absolutely great!” exclaimed Rossi, a trustee at Lodge 14. “I’ve never seen so many people come out to volunteer for an event. I’m proud to have been part of such a great sendoff for these young men and women; it was a great day for the Elks, but more importantly the future members of our military.”
Each recruit played a special role in the day’s success, too.
“It was amazing,” said Delory, Lodge 14’s Mr. Everything volunteer. “Before the recruits could enter the building, they had to do 10 chin-ups on a special bar outside. They also had to bring a toy that would go to the Toys for Tots program. It’s a good thing we had plenty to eat; especially after each recruit did those chin-ups.”