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Morning Star

Maine Elks Dedicate Exercise Equipment for Veterans

TOGUS -- On June 14, 2003, a brief ceremony was held at the Togus VA Hospital to dedicate new exercise equipment, donated by the Maine Elks Association, the Portland Elks Lodge #188, and the Millinocket Lodge of Elks #1521. A total of $17,777 in equipment had been donated, which included a specialized treadmill, a versa-climber, and two exercise cycles. This equipment is used for cardiac and physical therapy for Veterans at the facility.

According to Clinical Therapist Ken Goodwin of the Togus VA, "The veterans have really enjoyed using this equipment," going on to say that "it has been very helpful for us as well, as we can adapt the equipment to their individual needs." As an example, Goodwin demonstrated how the versa-climber can adapt to leg amputees, allowing them to exercise not only their remaining leg, but also their upper bodies as well. He also stated that the special treadmill can be used for stroke patients, as the equipment starts
at a speed of only 1/2 mile per hour vs. the average machine that starts at 1 mph. "That half mile per hour difference may not seem like much, but it makes a whole world of difference to veterans who need to relearn how to walk," he said.

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Three additional pieces of equipment have already been ordered, and will be delivered soon. The donations for this equipment came from a number of sources. A donation made by the Portland Elks Lodge was able to purchase the special treadmill, and a donation made by the Millinocket Elks Lodge was able to purchase the stair climber. The remaining equipment was purchased through various donations made by the members of the Maine Elks Association.

The project was created under the guidance of last year's State President Claris Ranger of Wilton (Farmington Lodge) and Veterans/National Service Chairman Thomas Elliot of West Bath (Brunswick Lodge). Others who attended the ceremony were Togus Voluntary Service Director Steven Hurd, Recreation Therapist Teri Olson, Clinical Therapist Ken Goodwin, Roberta Ranger, and Philip O'Brion (Farmington Lodge) of Jay.

The Elks nationwide pride themselves on their motto of "So long as there are Veterans, the Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks will never forget them." The Maine Elks live up to that motto by donating much needed equipment and other essentials for the Veterans at the Togus facility.

The Maine Elks Association is a non-profit organization consisting of 22 Lodges and over 11,000 members in the State of Maine. The association provides support programs in other areas such as Americanism, Scholarships, and Drug Awareness. For more information on the Elks, visit www.elks.org, or visit your local Elks Lodge.

-- Ken Anderson 06/18/03