By PETE FONTAINE To say the Tri-City Elks closed out its highly-popular Car Show Season in grand style under Sunday's sparkling sunshine would be an understatement. On a day when 73 vintage vehicles were on display inside Rossi Park where people
To say the Tri-City Elks closed out its highly-popular Car Show Season in grand style under Sunday’s sparkling sunshine would be an understatement.
On a day when 73 vintage vehicles were on display inside Rossi Park where people enjoyed sausage and pepper sandwiches, hot dogs and hamburgers cooked on the charcoal grill, classic camaraderie and a backdrop of unlimited oldies music, Lodge14 pulled off a special surprise ceremony which was entitled “Elks honoring Elks!”
“This is truly a special day,” Deborah Mangina, Tri-City’s Exalter Ruler, assessed: “We want to thank all the special show supporters and car owners as well as the many volunteers who helped make our (car show) season a super success.”
Thus, Mangina issued a special salute to Rob Caramante, “our great disc jockey who week-in and week-out adds many special touches to our car shows with his music and personality. He makes every show special!”
So, after Tri-City Chaplin Beth Marsh delivered the opening prayer and Caramante played the National Anthem, a Warwick Fire Department Color Guard made up of Lt. Michael Carreiro, Pvts. Randall Hoxsie and Ryan Jarvis began marching down Rossi Drive amid more music and led a delegation of the day’s special guests, namely Rhode Island Lt. Daniel McKee, Warwick Mayor Joseph Solomon and State Rep. Joseph Solomon Jr.
Soon thereafter, Leo Blanchette – the top Elk in Rhode Island who is appointed by the National Grand Lodge - began toasting the day’s suddenly surprised and stunned honoree Mark Eaton, who because of COVID-19 never enjoyed an installation or ceremony when elected president of the Rhode Island Association Elks.
Blanchette, who was joined by Grand Lodge Appointee David Coie and Vice President West John Carpinelli, read a list of Eaton’s accomplishments noting the countless contributions the Warwick resident has initiated over the past six years and led to Tri-City becoming one of the most successful Elks lodges in New England.
Likewise, State Rep. Solomon, his father Mayor Solomon – who are both members of League 14 - and McKee presented Eaton with special citations that included congratulations for his many outstanding contribution in a number of areas ranging from reorganizing Tri-City’s business practices to drug awareness programs to growing the Special Needs Picnic-365 Outing from 300 people to 2,000 guests in recent years and concluded with proclaiming Sunday, October 18, 2020 at Mark Eaton Day.
Mayor Solomon, who said: “I became an Elk long before I was elected Mayor” said, “Mark Eaton is the epitome of our organization’s creed … Elks Care, Elks Share … we are all proud of what he has done for a number of years at the local and state levels of Elks.”
Solomon also presented Eaton with special citations delivered by U.S. Sen. Jack Reed and U.S. Congressman Jim Langevin whose last-minute schedule changes prevented them from personally presenting the honors to Eaton.
When Eaton, 70, who is a retired Warwick firefighter, Vietnam veteran who was awarded a Purple Heart and is former business owner for over 30 decades, took the microphone, he said with emotions ringing in his voice he immediately issued a heart-felt “thank you” admitting “I was really surprised.”
Eaton, who is also highly-skilled in the often difficult chore of memorizing Elk ritual, then asked his wife to join him. He hugged her saying: “Lori has been part of all our successes here at the Tri-City Elks. She puts in more time at this lodge than any member; Lori enjoys doing things for others; she has helped organize events for underprivileged children to helping homeless veterans with clothing, food and necessities and does so as a volunteer.”
And that, as Mayor Solomon said after the brief ceremony: “Is yet another example of Mark and Lori upholding the Elks motto … Elks Care, Elks Share!
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