Some twenty-two million veterans live in our communities. The Elks National President, Malcolm J. McPherson Jr., has proclaimed November is Veterans Remembrance Month as a way to encourage Elks nationwide to find local veterans and help them with their needs.
Elks volunteers provide direct service to veterans in more than 330 VA Medical Centers, State Veterans Homes, Vets Centers and other veterans facilities each month. Through our grants to Elks Lodges, we connect directly with veterans and military members in their communities, providing them with services where they live. We help veterans rehabilitate and thrive by sponsoring and volunteering at 5 adaptive sports programs each year, and provide recovering veterans with therapy kits and wheelchair gloves. Our Welcome Home initiative, a partnership with the VA at the national level, is reaching out to some of our most vulnerable veterans: those who are experiencing homelessness. To this end, the Elks have pledged $4 million dollars to help end veteran homelessness. Last year alone, the value of Elks’ contributions to the nation’s heroes provided more than $40 million to more than 323,573 veterans served.
Let us remember to thank our veterans and to show our appreciation in some special way every day, not just in November. And, should you see a member of our Armed Services in uniform, please march right up to him or her and say: “Thank you for your service. Have a great day!” It is the least we can do.
Want to join us in our service to veterans? There are more than 1,900 Elks Lodges across the country with a total membership nearing 800,000. Elks’ members must be American citizens who are at least 21 years of age and must believe in God.
On November 11, 2017, the Kern River Valley Elks #2358, honored veterans with a dinner and recognition of their service to our country. Among the 20 veterans who ate free that night were two WWII veterans. One of whom is Mel Wayne, a 51-year member of the Kern River Valley Elks who served in the USMC during WWII.