The Boulder City Elks Lodge is more than just a social club. Its members are also deeply involved in the community and charity, and on Aug. 27 they will hold an open house to give interested residents a chance to learn what the organization is all about.
“We held our first open house last year because we didn’t think that the average person was aware of all the work we do in the community,” said Al Shirley, Exalted Ruler of local Lodge No. 1682. “We had over 100 visitors throughout the day and in the end accepted nearly 20 new members.”
The lodge offers members a place to meet with friends and socialize on a daily basis with its bar and weekly dinner events, but the group’s main focus is on community and charity, according to Leading Knight Mike Parsons.
“The lodge offers our local member a safe place to hang out, but even more than that we are a community organization,” Parsons said. “We focus on supporting veterans, supporting local students and we support the flag.”
The lodge raised more than $26,500 in 2015, which was donated to a variety of charitable organizations and causes, including the Nevada State Veterans Home, Christmas baskets for Boulder City families in need and $2,000 in college scholarships for local students.
“We don’t solicit donations, so everything is generated in house by our members,” Shirley said. “From cooking to the games, we are volunteer-driven in all we do.”
The Elks raise money through food sales at their weekly events as well as through their newest endeavor, the weekly bingo game. The fundraising game was started after they were able to obtain the city’s only special business license with a gaming designation, according to Parsons, because of their status as a charitable organization.
The Elks organization was formed in 1868 in New York City as an exclusive men’s social club, and over the past century and a half, the fraternal order’s ranks have included such notable figures as Presidents Harry S. Truman, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy.
The Boulder City chapter of the Elks was chartered in 1945, and initially established itself downtown. In 1958, the group took over what until that time had been the airport terminal for Trans World Airlines, then Transcontinental and Western Airlines.
As times and social standards have changed, so have the Elks, and the organization is now open to all men and women 21 and older who believe in a higher power, according to Parsons.
The Elks’ open house, Luau in the Desert, will be held from 1-7 p.m. and include a tour of the historic building, karaoke and games for kids and adults, an all-day happy hour and free food from 2-5 p.m.
The lodge is at 1217 Nevada Highway.
Contact reporter Hunter Terry at hterry@ bouldercityreview.com or call 702-586-6711. Follow him on Twitter @HunterBCReview