SOUTH PORTLAND -- The Maine Elks Association (MEA) held its 78th Annual State Convention at the Sheraton Hotel in South Portland, Maine on May 4-6, 2007. The convention was attended by over 300 members and guests, who honored Lodges and individual members at their awards banquets. Opening the convention this year was State President Greg Daniels of the Presque Isle Elks Lodge #1954, who thanked all of the members for their hard work and dedication throughout the past year.
The first awards presented were to recognize the work performed during the past year for the Maine Children's Cancer Program (MCCP), one of the State Association’s two major projects. President of the MCCP Board of Directors, Mark Franco presented Dwayne and Barbara Guy of the Rockland Elks Lodge with the "Allison’s Gift" Leadership Award, and the "Allison’s Gift" Stewardship Award to Richard and Sandee Welch of Rumford Elks Lodge in recognition of their dedication and commitment to serving the children in the Maine Children’s Cancer Program.
Other awards that were presented included "Most Improved Lodge" for donations which went to the Bangor Elks Lodge #244, and the most consistent contributor to the Augusta Elks Lodge #964. The "Tall Elk" Awards, which are given to individuals for their outstanding support of the MCCP program, were presented to Bruce Fifield (Augusta Elks Lodge), Greg Ruby (Augusta Elks Lodge), and Dwayne & Barbara Guy (Rockland Elks Lodge). The name for these awards come from the saying "You never stand as tall, as to when you stoop to help a child," referring to the Elks support of children with cancer.
MCCP Committee Director, Donald Richard also presented the Sanford Elks Lodge #1470 with the MCCP Outstanding Contributor Award. This award recognized the Lodge raising the highest amount of money for the Maine Children's Cancer Program. The MCCP committee for this Lodge had raised over $111,000 Dollars for the program, and consistently raises in excess of $85,000 each year for MCCP.
In addition to the above awards, "Elliot the Elk & Friends" Director William Deshaies (Farmington) presented awards to the top three Lodges in fundraising through this program. These awards were presented to the: Biddeford-Saco Elks Lodge #1597 (3rd Place), Rumford Elks Lodge #862 (2nd Place), and the Bangor Elks Lodge #244 (1st Place). A special recognition award went to James York of the Waterville Elks Lodge.
The MCCP Private Sector Awards were presented by Director Robert Godin of the Skowhegan-Madison Elks Lodge to the Wells Elks Lodge #2738, the Lewiston Elks Lodge #371, and the Greater Ellsworth Elks Lodge #2743.
The Elks Veterans/National Service Committee awarded the Millinocket, Augusta, and Brunswick Elks Lodges for their support of our nations veterans. In addition, Fred Lincoln of the Augusta Elks Lodge #964 received the Male Veteran Volunteer of the Year Award, and Michel Attean of the Old Town Elks Lodge #1287 received the Female Veteran Volunteer of the Year Award.
The Youth Activities Awards were presented by MEA Director Alfred Widdecombe of Rockland. Awards for Best Youth Program went to the Rumford Elks Lodge #862 and Millinocket Elks Lodge #1521.
The Elks Drug Awareness Awards were presented by Director Frank Ricker of the Sanford Elks Lodge. The Awards for Best Drug Awareness Program went to the: York Elks Lodge #2788 (<300 Members), Sebasticook Valley Elks Lodge #2713 (301-500), Houlton Elks Lodge #835 (501-700), Sanford Elks Lodge #1470 (701-1000), and the Augusta Lodge #964 (>1000 Members).
Public Relations Awards were presented by State Public Relations Director Wayne Cotterly of the Lewiston Lodge. The awards for Best Public Relations Program went to: Central District: Rumford Elks Lodge, Northern District: Millinocket Elks Lodge, Coastal District: Sanford Elks Lodge. The Public Relations "Chairman of the Year" went to Gerald Barnes of the Millinocket Elks Lodge.
Elks National Foundation Awards were presented by Director Jack Clines of the York Lodge. These awards were presented for the highest per-member contributions to the Elks National Foundation. Awards went to: Wells Lodge (<300 Members), Presque Isle Lodge (301-500), Lewiston Lodge (501-700), Waterville Lodge (701-1100), and Augusta Lodge (1100-1500 Members). Most Improved Lodge went to the Waterville Elks Lodge and Most Consistent went to the Brunswick Elks Lodge. The ENF Chairman of the Year award was presented to Cathy Lafrance of the Presque Isle Elks Lodge.
The Ritual Coach of the Year Award was presented by State Ritualistic Director Philip O'Brion to Bruce Brunelle of the Sanford Elks Lodge #1470 for his commitment and dedication toward promoting excellence in the Elks ritual.
The top award that can be presented to a Lodge is called the All-American Lodge Award. These awards were presented to the Lodges that demonstrated outstanding achievement all of the programs of the Elks. Lodge Activities Director Wayne Cotterly of the Lewiston Lodge presented these awards to: Wells Elks Lodge (<300 Members), Sebasticook Valley Elks Lodge (301-500), Millinocket Elks Lodge (501-700), Sanford Elks Lodge (701-1100), and Augusta Elks Lodge (1101-1500 Members)
Exalted Ruler (Lodge President) of the Year Awards were presented by the association Vice-Presidents for their respective districts. The Coastal District Exalted Ruler (ER) of the Year was presented to Paul Normand of the Sanford Elks Lodge by Vice-President Bruce Brunelle, The Northern District "ER of the Year" was presented to James Bledsoe of the Houlton Elks Lodge by Vice-President Michael Powers, and the Central District "ER of the Year" award was given to Scott Gray of the Augusta Elks Lodge by Vice-President Robert Drisko.
Several special awards were also presented at the convention. The "Outstanding Chairman" Award was presented to Donald Richard of the Rumford Elks Lodge for his dedication and service to the association as MCCP Chairman. The State Association had surpassed the $2 Million dollar mark in donations to the Maine Children’s Cancer Program. The "Officer of the Year" Award was presented to Thomas Chase of the Wells Elks Lodge. Chase serves as the Chairman of the Maine Elks Association Trustees. The Elizabeth J. Sicard Memorial "Spouse of the Year" Award was presented to Barbara Daniels of Presque Isle for her support of the Elks and their programs. Receiving the President’s special recognition awards were Wayne Cotterly of the Lewiston Elks Lodge, Michael Lafrance of the Presque Isle Elks Lodge, and Andrew Constantine of the Bangor Elks Lodge.
The "Elk of the Year" Award for the State of Maine was presented to James Ferland of the Presque Isle Elks Lodge for his outstanding service and dedication to the programs of the association and the Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks. Ferland is a Past State President of the Association, and will be appointed in July to the Grand Lodge Committee for State Associations and Lodge Activities.
The Maine Elks Association is a non-profit organization consisting of 22 Lodges and over 12,000 members in the State of Maine. The association provides programs in areas such as Americanism, Scholarships, Drug Awareness, and Veterans/National Service. For more information on the Elks, visit maineelks.org, or visit your local Elks Lodge.