National Leader visits Prince Albert Royal Purple Elks Lodge

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald (L to R) Denise Taylor, Leonard Shain and Angie Nelson. National Leader of Elks Canada Leonard Shain was in Prince Albert to visit the Prince Albert Royal Purple Elks Lodge on Tuesday.

The Prince Albert Royal Purple Elks Lodge #50 had a special visitor on Tuesday. Leonard Shain, Grand Exalted Ruler or National Leader of the Elks of Canada visited the lodge for their regular meeting.

As the Elks’ national leader, Shain is traveling across the country visiting lodges as he goes, hoping to spread good ideas as he goes.

“We learn a little bit about what each lodge is doing and then we also give some guidance or some ideas on new projects that they may be can incorporate into their lodge,” Shain said.

This was his first stop on a two week tour of lodges in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Shain timed the tour to begin just before the Manitoba and Saskatchewan Walk-a-Thons, which occurred one wee apart.

“We have the Saskatchewan Walk-a-Thon this coming weekend, then we will be in Star City and Nipawin and we will be into Manitoba to visit a few lodges and the following weekend and their walk for the kids,” Shain said.

Shain joined the Elks in 1998 in Sherwood Park based on the encouragement of his parents, who were charter members of the Lodge in Coronach, Sask. He liked what the Elks were doing, and wanted to contribute.

“When I moved to Sherwood Park my dad knew some of the members there and encouraged them to get me out,” he remembered. “I went to one of their meetings. One of our groups that the Elks support is ISTAR, Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research, (and) they were doing a presentation. It grabbed me by the heart and I have been involved ever since.

“It started with some of these (ISTAR) clients. It took them 10 minutes to say ‘hello my name is Leonard Shain’ when they started and when they were done you didn’t know that they had a stuttering impairment, so it was heart wrenching.”

The Elks are dedicated to working for the good and welfare of the community with priority placed on the needs for children, senior citizens and others in need. The Elks have provided playgrounds, youth camps, senior citizens housing and special equipment for hospitals and regional health units.

Denise Taylor of the Royal Purple Elks said their work begins at the personal level in Prince Albert.

“It’s very important to be an Elk because of the charitable work that we do and we see what the results are when these children get cocular implants through the Fund for Children, “she said. “Right now we have a young girl that’s six…. She has cocular implants and we are sponsoring her to go to all of her medical appointments in Saskatoon. We pay her so much per medical appointment, we cover her gas, her mileage whatever.”

Angie Nelson, Honoured Royal Lady of the Prince Albert Royal Purple Elks said residents who receive help from the Elks continue to give back too.

“One of our previous recipients, Michael Pelechaty, he has now graduated (and) is now working full time. He is paying it forward by helping us collect our Tabs for Tots which goes towards our programming,” she said.

“If the Elks and the Royal Purple Elks had not started with the Dialysis Unit we never would have had a Dialysis Unit going in Prince Albert. Once we got the unit going now the government has actually stepped forward and they have taken responsibility,” Nelson added.

Shain explained that by being a volunteer organization, they take some pressure off governments.

“If it wasn’t for organizations like the Elks and the Royal Purple Elks we would be putting the burden back on taxpayers and the government would have to pick up some of these costs, so it’s important to get involved with your community to help lower your taxes as well,” Shain said.

Another aspect of the Elks is their emphasis on early identification and rehabilitation of hearing impaired children. Funding is provided through the National Charity the Elks and Royal Purple Fund for Children, and the Prince Albert lodge has been a generous supporter

“The Prince Albert Royal Purple Elks in the last five years have donated over $14,000 to the Elks and Royal Purple Fund for Children, and that helps children all across Canada,” Shain said.

“They are helping children all across Canada when no other help is available.”

At a supper Tuesday evening, the Royal Purple Elks presented Shain with a cheque for the Provincial Walk-a-Thon for $500 and a presentation for the Fund for Children for $2,000.

The Prince Albert Royal Purple Elks currently have 20 active members and are always looking for new ones.

“It always could be better,” Nelson said. “We are always looking for people who are interested in helping other people who are less fortunate. We need younger volunteers, we need people that are committed, we need dedicated people, we need people that are spontaneous, that are ready to go out there and just haul people in and just help other people.”

Shain said that with the Elks or Royal Purple Elks you can give whatever time you have.

“These ladies have some wonderful programs that they are working on and giving back to the community,” he explained. “They are looking for volunteers to join their organization so that you can give back to your community and volunteer the amount of time that you have but also for some new ideas. There are some ideas out there that we haven’t thought of yet.”

Shain also noted that the Royal Purple Elsk in Prince Albert have done some outstanding volunteering.

“Since 2015, this Royal Purple Elks lodge have donated over $438,000 to the community and provincial associations and have volunteered 8,700 volunteer hours. That’s an incredible number for a small group of ladies,”’ he said.

Nelson noted that they don’t report every hour of volunteer time for other work. Shain said that most lodges under report the true work that they do by about 50 per cent.

The Royal Purple Elks are also hosting their annual Drive Thru Soup and Sandwich fundraiser on Oct. 27 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Elks Hall.

To pre-order contact Peggy Kugler at 306-763-7849, there will be 175 meals available.

The Elks of Canada are a fraternal organization founded in Canada in 1912 with a total membership of approximately 9,000 members.