“Tri-City is an excellent example of what can be done with good leadership,” Maurice Berube, District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler of the Rhode Island Elks, told a standing room only crowd Sunday …
“Tri-City is an excellent example of what can be done with good leadership,” Maurice Berube, District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler of the Rhode Island Elks, told a standing room only crowd Sunday in Warwick. “Lodge 14 has turned darkness into daylight!”
Perhaps as equally impressive was when Berube, who headed a team of black-tie clad Elks dignitaries who performed Lodge 14’s pomp-and-circumstance-filled installation of officers, announced, “This is the only lodge in Rhode Island to show a positive in membership.”
Sunday’s ceremony, which featured 14 lodge members being sworn into office, also featured speakers like Leo Blanchette, whose remarks were followed by applause that echoed through Tri-City’s packed meeting room.
“This is been an amazing transformation of what Tri-City was three yeas ago – and is today!” Blanchette, a Special Elks Deputy, began. “I can only see more success; keep up your hard work because is really shows. Tri-City has become the model for Elks lodges in Rhode Island.”
It has become that model for a number of reasons for people like John Collins, who Sunday was installed as Tri-City’s Esteemed Lecturing Knight. He was the driving force behind bringing back bingo to the West Shore Road non-profit. He also performs other volunteer duties like cooking at various fund-raisers.
“Everyone knows this place was in trouble,” Collins said. “What a comeback; it began with [past exalted ruler] Donna Warner and kicked into nonstop success under Mark Eaton’s leadership.”
Although Eaton passed the exalted ruler’s gavel to Charles “Charlie” Greaves Sunday, he refused to take all the credit for Tri-City’s sudden turn-about and many successes during his two-year reign.
“Our accomplishments have come about because we’re a team, a family that really follows the Elks credo of ‘Elks Care and Elks Share,’” Eaton said during a heart-felt thank you-like address. “Our numbers tell the story; in two years we’ve taken in well over 200 members who helped make this a financially-stable lodge.”
Greaves added, “It is an honor to have the members of this lodge place their faith in me. My first job will be to do no harm. We are in a much better place than we were three years ago in terms of finances and people. I hope to continue that trend.”
Greaves, who owns and operates Bay View Marine in Oakland Beach, said, “Our new members are anxious to be apt of charity and community and have chosen the Elks to accomplish that. When anyone asks me why I’m an Elk, I tell them that as far as charitable organizations go the Elks work in the local community and do it in ways that are visible and tangible. The money donated to Elks charities are not diluted by managers and fat cats at the top of the pile. If anything, the money given to the Elks is amplified by hard-working volunteers.”
Greaves said he’s also involved because of the unmatched camaraderie.
“I have never been more comfortable or happy around a group of people than I am when I am with my Elks friends,” the new exalted ruler said. “BPOE stands for the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, but I think it stands for the Best People on Earth.”
Greaves added, “The ceremonies and language we use is not only beautiful and expresses a solid ethics and sense of patriotism that many people miss in their lives. Our lodge is a great place to find that.”
Tri-City’s new leader, who is also an accomplished musician, concluded, “This is a much more modern and fun Elks, and I hope to further that image and to continue the work that we do in the community, with veterans and children. I have an amazing support group in this lodge, a membership that has my back in all things. I am very lucky to be named exalted ruler for his year and I hope I earn their respect when my term is done.”
“Greaves’ Gang,” as someone called Tri-City’s newly-installed officers, includes, David Knight, Esteemed Leading Knight; Robert Hartington, Esteemed Loyal Knight; John Collins, Esteemed Lecturing Knight; Lori Eaton, Treasurer; Anthony Chris Carcieri, Esquire; Diane Bannister-Duquette, Chaplain; Timothy Beaudry, Inner Guard; Tiler, Dick Warner; Trustees Anthony Carcieri, Cheryl Devlin, Donna Warner, Nicholas Rossi and Mark Eaton.
There was yet another side to Sunday’s installation ceremony that showed the unmatched strength and dedication of Tri-City’s ever-growing membership, and it came in two forms: an hors d’oeuvres-filled social hour and dinner.
Devlin, who Sunday became a two-year trustee, served as chef and cooked a chicken marsala dinner that was served by Lodge 14 members Kathy Lacy, Paul and Sue Swift, Marie Cavanaugh, Deb Sabalewski and Michelle Scorpio.
And, as Greaves said with a smile on his bearded face, “Cheryl and company also served orange brownies with vanilla ice cream for dessert!”