AUGUSTA -- The Maine Elks Association (MEA) held its 76th Annual State Convention at the Augusta Elks Lodge on May 6-8, 2005. The convention was attended by over 400 members and guests, who honored Lodges and individual members at their awards banquets. Opening the convention ceremony was State President Luis Morales of the Rockland Elks Lodge, who thanked all of the members for their hard work and dedication throughout the past year.
First on the agenda was Maine Children's Cancer Program (MCCP), one of the State Association�s two major projects. Chairman of the MCCP Board of Directors, Larry Laderbush presented Luis & Dorothy Morales with the "Allison's Gift" Leadership Award, and the "Allison's Gift" Stewardship Award to Donald & Joyce Richard of New Sharon in recognition of their dedication and commitment to serving the children in the Maine Children's Cancer Program.
MCCP Committee Richard then 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. This MCCP committee for this Lodge had raised over $107,000 Dollars for the program, and consistently raises in excess of $80,000 each year for MCCP.
Other awards that were presented included "Most Improved Lodge" for donations which went to the Portland Elks Lodge #188, 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 Reginald "Skip" Gay (Augusta), Bruce Brunelle (Sanford), and Kathleen Cotterly (Wakefield, MA). 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. Two special appreciation awards were given to Debbie & Mark Caron of the Sanford Elks Lodge for their dedication and service to the MCCP program.
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: Houlton Elks Lodge #835 (3rd Place), York Elks Lodge #2788 (2nd Place) , and the Farmington Elks Lodge #2430 (1st Place). A special appreciation award for this program was presented to Bruce Brunelle of the Sanford Elks Lodge #1470.
The MCCP Private Sector Awards were presented by Director Robert Godin of the Skowhegan-Madison Elks Lodge. The Outstanding Volunteer Service Award was presented to Melissa Letarte of the Rumford Elks Lodge. Accepting on her behalf was her father Donald Richard. The Outstanding Community Service Award was presented to Clear Channel Radio for their work in assisting the Maine Elks Association with their used cell phone program. In this program, used cell phones are recycled and converted to cash. This cash is then donated to MCCP. Accepting for Clear Channel Radio was Assistant Business Manager Michelle Eaton.
Two special plaques were presented by Past Grand Exalted Ruler (Past National President) Amos McCallum to the Bath and Rockland Elks Lodges. These plaques recognize and celebrate their 100th year as an institution. Celebrating its 100th Anniversary at the MEA Convention was the Augusta Elks Lodge, which hosted the event.
The Youth Activities Awards were presented by MEA Director Robert Bernier of Farmington. Awards for Best Youth Program went to the: Rumford Elks Lodge, Sanford Elks Lodge, and the Old Town Elks Lodge. Special recognition went to Debbie Briggs of the Rumford Elks Lodge for her service to the Youth Activities Program in that Lodge for the past three years.
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: Wells Lodge (<300 Members), Rumford Lodge (301-500), Millinocket Lodge (501-700), Old Town Lodge (701-1000), and the Augusta Lodges (>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: Rumford Lodge (1st), Skowhegan-Madison Lodge (2nd), and the Bangor Lodge (3rd). The Public Relations "Chairman of the Year" went to Deborah Briggs of the Rumford Elks Lodge.
Veterans & National Service Awards were presented by Director Thomas Elliot of the Brunswick Lodge for outstanding service to our Veterans. These awards were presented to: Greater Ellsworth Lodge (<300 Members), Lewiston Lodge (301-500), Millinocket Lodge (501-700), Bangor Lodge (701-1100), and Augusta Lodge (>1100-1500 Members). Best Veteran Program in the district went to Brunswick (Coastal), Waterville (Central), and Bangor (Northern). The Veteran Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Sandee Welch of the Rumford Elks Lodge and Wayne Cotterly of the Lewiston 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), Farmington Lodge (301-500), Biddeford-Saco Lodge (501-700), Skowhegan-Madison Lodge (701-1100), and Augusta Lodge (1100-1500 Members). Most Improved Lodge went to Farmington Elks Lodge and Most Consistent went to the Skowhegan-Madison Elks Lodge. The ENF Chairman of the Year award was presented to Richard Libby of the Wells Elks Lodge.
The Ritual Coach of the Year Award was presented by State Ritualistic Director Philip O'Brion to Wayne Cotterly of the Lewiston Elks Lodge for his outstanding work in promoting excellence in the Elks ritual. Cotterly served as the coach of the Augusta Elks Lodge ritual team.
A plaque recognizing the Maine Elks Soccer Shoot Program was also presented by Phil O�Brion to MEA Soccer Shoot Director George Jones (Augusta) for participation in the program at the Lodge, District, State, and Regional levels.
Americanism Awards were presented by Director Richie Philbrick of the Rumford Lodge. Awards were presented to the following Lodges for the best Americanism Programs: Rumford Elks Lodge (1st Place), Rockland Elks Lodge (2nd Place), and Bangor Elks Lodge (3rd Place)
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 Al Ingraham of the Wells Elks Lodge by Vice-President Bruce Brunelle, The Northern District "ER of the Year" was presented to Dennis Campbell of the Sebasticook Valley Elks Lodge by Vice-President Greg Daniels, and the Central District "ER of the Year" award was given to Douglas Webber of the Augusta Elks Lodge by Vice-President Elmer Berry.
The top award that can be presented to a Lodge is called the All-American Lodge Award. These awards are given to the Lodge that proves to be outstanding in promoting all of the programs of the Elks. Lodge Activities Director Wayne Cotterly of the Lewiston Lodge presented these awards to: York Elks Lodge (<300 Members), Rumford Elks Lodge (301-500), Lewiston Elks Lodge (501-700), Sanford Elks Lodge (701-1100), and Augusta Elks Lodge (1101-1500 Members)
Several special awards were also presented at the convention. The "Outstanding Chairman" Award was presented to Robert Godin of the Skowhegan-Madison Elks Lodge for his dedication and service to the association as MCCP Private Sector Chairman. "Officer of the Year" Award went to Robert Drisko of the Augusta Elks Lodge.
In a very emotional ceremony, the "Spouse of the Year" Award was presented posthumously to the family of Elizabeth Sicard of Saco for her outstanding support of the Maine Elks Association and its programs. Accepting the award was her husband Roger Sicard, Past Grand Exalted Ruler Administrative Assistant and Past State President of the Maine Elks Association and his family.
Finally, the "Elk of the Year" Award for the State of Maine was presented to Rick Drouin of the Sanford Elks Lodge for his outstanding service and dedication to the Maine Elks Association, through his efforts in support of the Elk programs, and his work Director of the MCCP Golf Tournament. Drouin is one of the founders of the tournament, and has served as its Director since its inception 11 years ago. Each year, this tournament serves as the culmination of the Sanford Elks Lodge�s effort to raise money for the MCCP Program, which consistently raises in excess of $80,000 each year for children with cancer.
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.