GER Mike and First Lady Donna’s visit to Colorado
September 8 – September 11, 2016
Donna and I arrived in Denver and were met at the airport by PGER John D. Amen and his wife Marcia and State President Richard Stolte and his wife Sandy. It was great to see Marcia at the convention after her recent fall. Both Donna and I were glad to see her making such great progress and coming along well.
Pictured above are PGER John Amen and Marcia with Donna and I just before the outgoing State President’s Banquet which was held on Friday evening. The Colorado State Elks Association year runs from September to September with the new State President being installed during the September Convention’s Business Session on Saturday.
After dinner on Thursday, we attended the Convention’s Opening Ceremonies. Participating in the ceremonies were the Colorado Elks Lady’s Auxiliary, the Doe’s. Their drill team participated by presenting the Colors of the United States. The ceremonies were very impressive.
During the day on Saturday the State Association held a Ladies Luncheon. Donna also had the opportunity to visit Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre.
Red Rocks Amphitheatre is a naturally formed, world-famous outdoor venue just fifteen miles west of Denver. Red Rocks is recognized for its star-studded concert roster, natural acoustics and ambience, as well as its awe-inspiring hiking and biking trails. The Visitor Center features interactive educational displays, a short film on its geologic and musical history and a Performer’s Hall of Fame. Pictured below is Donna viewing the amphitheater from above.
Friday evening was a casual dinner known in Colorado as the Country Boy Picnic. As a number of my family members live in Colorado, I had the opportunity to invite them to the picnic. In attendance was my nephew Paul Chetham and his wife Michele, both are Medical Doctors in the Denver area. Also my nephew Steven Chetham, also a medical doctor in Longmont, my brother Richard Zellen and his wife Marilyn and my niece Susan Howard. I also had the opportunity to visit with my sister Claire who is celebrating her 85th birthday.
On Friday and Saturday, I attended the business sessions and heard first-hand the great work that the Colorado Elks do in their communities and within their State. I was impressed with the many programs that they support statewide and especially their commitment to their State Major Project. The project is known as Laradon, which provides developmentally disabled children an alternative school with individualized education, as well as adult day programs and comprehensive employment training programs.
During the sessions I had the opportunity to congratulate State President Stolte and the previous year’s State President for having a plus 15 in membership during their combined Grand Lodge year.
I also had the honor of presenting awards to a number of Colorado Elks for their hard work and dedication during the previous year. Pictured below are two of the winners.
I also had the pleasure of awarding plaques to the Colorado State Ritual Champs as well as to each of the all-state individual winners who competed during the convention.
During the final business session, the new State Officers were elected and installed into office.
Saturday evening a Cocktail Reception and Banquet was held in honor of Colorado’s new State President, Malcolm S. Freeberg and his lovely wife Janet. Both Malcolm and Janet are of Scottish decent and Malcom and many of his family members wore their traditional family kilts to the banquet.
During the banquet I had the opportunity to speak to the membership and thank them for their warm and gracious hospitality shown to both Donna and I since arriving on Thursday.
Donna thanked the Ladies for the “Come and Go Coffee” on Saturday morning and for the opportunity to meet so many new friends. We also want to thank the Association for our terrific gifts presented to us at Saturday evening’s banquet. Thank you for the jacket and the framed GER Medallions presented to me and Donna absolutely loves the six Pandora charms presented to her. We will treasure them always as we will treasure the memories of the wonderful trip to Colorado
On Sunday it was time to say good-bye and return home to Massachusetts. Pictured below is Donna and me thanking PGER John Amen for his warm and cordial welcome to the Great State of Colorado. Notice the Bronco’s balloon that John is holding behind me.