For the first time in two years, the Tri-City Elks Lodge No. 14 has a new leader.
During Sunday’s installation of officers at the Elks home on 1915 West Shore Road, Mark Eaton, 63, was installed as Tri-City’s new exalted ruler. He replaces Donna Warner, who served in that capacity the past two years.
Warner, who helped rescue Tri-City Lodge No. 14 during some tough financial times, will serve a five-year term as Trustee.
A total of 14 people took oaths of office and were installed Sunday by Patti Baccus, DDGER, Rhode Island East and her installing suite of officers.
“What a great ceremony,” observed Fred McNulty, one of Warwick’s all-time best high school baseball coaches who came specifically to photograph his friend Eaton during Sunday’s session that included a social hour, installation, speeches, dinner and reception. “This is all very impressive.”
Eaton and his wife Lori, who Sunday was re-installed as treasurer, are among a group of tireless Elks members who have pumped much-needed new life and interest into Lodge No. 14.
Perhaps Mark Eaton, though, best summed up Lodge 14’s recent resurgence and installation that was held inside the new-look main meeting room that features a new coat of white paint and burgundy colored columns, courtesy of Albert “Cookie” Delory and other volunteers.
“Instead of a speech that nobody wants to hear anyway,” Eaton began, “I’d like to tell a story. It’s about a boat that was taking on water and had been for quite some time. Its waterline no longer was showing, down to one engine, spitting and sputtering. At that time, the crew had a meeting with Fleet Command. The Fleet Command simply said: ‘You can do this; I have faith in this crew. You’re not just bailing out fast enough.’”
Eaton continued, “A couple of years later, its waterline high and shining, both engines running, it’s up with the fleet again.”
The new and energetic exalted ruler paused – amid applause – before saying, “I would like to thank Walter Kettelle, special deputy grand exalted for the R.I. Elks, for having faith in that crew.”
“I would like to thank Donna Warner for taking the helm and I’d especially like to thank the crew for dropping those bleach bottles and picking up the five-gallon pails and bailing. If you haven’t guessed yet, that crew proudly calls themselves Tri-City Elks Lodge 14 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks,” Eaton added.
“Exalted ruler Mark, our new slate of officers and committee chairman will work as hard and with as much dedication as our past team,” Warner said during her address. “With Mark at the helm, we’re sure to continue our forward motion. His success is the Lodge’s success; and its success is the Order’s success. We wish him and Tri-City the best.”
Warner also passed out “thank yous” to her lodge officers and committee chairs that she said served with special dedication and worked hard on behalf of the lodge. She also thanked the House committee and Board of Trustees, who she said “watched our pennies wisely.”
“I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize someone who is one of the most loyal and dedicated Elks I’ve ever met,” Warner continued. “He’s pleasant, never has an unkind word, he’s a jack-of-all-trades, he’s responsible for so much of what we’ve accomplished and he’s never, ever steered this sista wrong. Please help me acknowledge Cookie Delory.”
The entire slate of 2013-2014 Lodge officers includes: Mark Eaton, exalted ruler; Charles Greaves, esteemed leading knight; James Suttles Jr., esteemed loyal knight; Steve Lagesse, PER, esteemed lecturing knight; Carol Delory, secretary; Lori Eaton, treasurer; David Knight, esquire; and Anne Marie Greaves, chaplain.
Also, Timothy Beaudry, inner guard; Dick Warner, tiler; Gerald Lapierre, one-year trustee; John Collins, three-year trustee; Cheryl Devlin, four-year trustee; and Donna Warner, PER, five-year trustee.