William Thompson: Quay County Sun
The Tucumcari Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks Lodge 1172 has donated more than $20,000 in 2004-2005 to various Tucumcari Middle School and Tucumcari High School youth activities.
The lodge’s chairman of the board of trustees, Raymond Parker, said helping those in need is what being an “Elk” is all about.
“That’s what we do, charity and benevolence,” Parker said. “I remember back in high school attending a hamburger cook-out the Elks Lodge held for Tucumcari High School seniors in 1965.”
Parker said the lodge’s board of trustees listen to pleas for money from various school organizations.
“Teachers and students come to us and tell us how much money they need and how much money they’ve raised so far,” Parker said. “We always tell the teachers to let the kids do the talking. The five-member board, myself, Joe Dominguez, Don White, Walt Creed and Don Neese decide on behalf of the lodge membership how much money we will give.”
April Shipley, cheerleading coach for the middle school and high school, said she and the Rattler cheerleaders recently went to the lodge to ask for money to go to the all-state competition.
“The Elks gave us $600 to go to the state competition,” Shipley said. “Our cheerleaders have to fund raise for everything we get and without the Elks we wouldn’t be able to afford trips and uniforms. The Elks bought us new uniforms for the football season.”
Tucumcari High School golf coach Rex Maddaford recently received a committment from the lodge for $2,500 to purchase golf bags, uniforms and motel stays for the team when it travels.
“When I went to ask for the money, it was very relaxed and comfortable,” Maddaford said. “If it is a genuine request, the Elks Lodge trustees are very sympathetic and very generous. The Tucumcari Elks Lodge is one of the top lodges in the country for its size when it comes to helping youth groups.”
Parker said the Tucumcari lodge was designated an “All-American Lodge” . in 1998-1999 by the national governing body of Elks.
“It was based on our sponsorship of youth activities,” Parker said.
The lodge raises money from membership dues, weekly bingo contests and gaming machines.
All the bingo proceeds go to charitable causes and 25 percent of the gaming machine proceeds go to charity, Parker said.
Tucumcari High School football coach Dub Smith has asked the lodge for money in past years.
“Every year we have football players who play in the all-star game in Silver City,” Smith said. “Each player is charged a fee and the Elks Lodge has paid those fees. The lodge has paid anywhere from $500 to $800 to cover the cost of the fees. It would be really hard for each player to come up with the money for the fee.”
In addition to help for Tucumcari school groups, the Elks Lodge also donates money to San Jon and House Schools for a variety of activities.
Parker said helping youth groups is just one way the lodge helps the community. Nationally, the Elks are recognized for help offered to veterans, disabled individuals and medical research, among many other charitable causes.
Breakout box :
“Elks care—Elks share”
– Elks motto
Tucumcari Elks Lodge 1172 has 430 members and has donated money to school activities for a variety of items including:
• Band music and equipment
• Football jerseys
• Cheerleader uniforms
• Youth group conference travel
• Summer basketball leagues