It is hard to imagine that it has been less than 18 months since Paul and I walked through the doors of the BPO Elks Lodge #2477 here in Thousand Oaks. When I think of everything that has transpired and all I have learned about the group as well as the members in this short time – who knew?
Who knew that the Elks do so much for the children? There is the Purple Pig, as I’ve come to know the CHEA Major Project, which helps children with disabilities at no cost to their families. Who knew that through the efforts of the members we help ensure a Merry Christmas throughout the Conejo Valley with food and gifts as well as a Christmas Party hosted by the Elks Ladies with Santa visiting the lodge to hand out additional presents? Who knew that the lodge sponsors two Scouting Troupes, two Cub Packs, three Venture Crews as well as the Girl Scouts throughout our area and countless Eagle Scout activities? Who knew of the thousands of dollars awarded each year in Scholarships right here in the valley? I didn’t.
Who knew that the Elks are proactive in the support of our country with activities like the annual Americanism essay contest and the American Flag Retirement Ceremony at the Lodge, which highlights the history of our flag? Who knew of the support our lodge provides to the Veteran’s with monthly Bingo, hospital visitations, meals, celebrations honoring our Vet’s, and who knew that they really mean it when they say “So long as there are veterans, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks will never forget them”? I didn’t.
Who knew that Saturday’s there would be a crew at the lodge serving the best tri-tip, chicken or ribs I’ve tasted since I was in Texas or that the other meals would be so tasty and the time passed filled with camaraderie, commentary and just plain fun? I didn’t.
Who knew that the members of the lodge would be such a group of supportive, caring individuals who are a blessing to this community in small and large ways? Or that I would look forward to seeing every face down at the lodge when I’m there? I didn’t.
I know – if you’re reading this YOU probably knew. Nevertheless, I didn’t. I moved to Thousand Oaks in 2003 and had no idea this “home away from home” was here. Fortunately, this gentleman we met as a referral for a landscaping job, asked one day if we’d like to be members and I’m grateful to Rick H. for that moment – more so than the beautiful backyard!
Since our initiation that night, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful folks here and learning about their history both individually and collectively. It’s been an education made possible by jumping in with both feet and asking the question: how can I serve?
Moreover, while I know more today about this wonderful group of people, I am sure there will be many more opportunities to learn, and I’m humbled by the kindness and consideration shown to me on a daily basis.
I have to say that if there were anything written here that YOU did not know and I’ve left out a LOT – take some time and check it out – if you discover only half of what I’ve encountered – you’ll be blessed beyond measure.
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