GER Mike and First Lady Donna’s visit to Massachusetts
October 1 – October 2, 2016
Donna and I arrived at the hotel in Mansfield and were greeted by Administrative Assistant to the GER, Tony Piccolo and his wife Maureen, Special Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler Danny DeGregorio and State President Harry See and his wife Rhonda.
On Saturday evening, Donna and I attended the Massachusetts State Elks Association’s Grand Exalted Ruler’s Reception and Dinner. A huge crowd of 540 members, family and friends greeted us. It was great to be home and to be with our Massachusetts Elk Family.
Pictured above is GER Mike at the cocktail reception with Mike Delfino, Billy Crow and Paul Herbert.
Pictured above are Donna and Mike’s four daughters escorting their dad into the banquet hall for the dinner. Below is a picture GER Mike and First Lady Donna with their family and members of the Saugus-Everett Lodge #642.
After dinner, Donna and I addressed the membership. Donna thanked everyone in attendance and all the Elks in Massachusetts for their generous support in the months leading up to the Grand Lodge Convention in Houston. She told them that both Mike and herself were humbled by the time, energy, and effort that each of them put forth in support of Mike’s campaign for Grand Exalted Ruler. She indicated that every event held at the Houston convention was a huge success and ran like clockwork. She thanked everyone for going beyond to ensure that every event ran smoothly.
I stated that I was very proud of the great works that our Massachusetts Lodges, State Association, and Major Project do in the name of Elkdom and echoed Donna’s comments and thanked each of them for their generosity and support and many kindnesses shown to Donna and I over the past 48 years.
I also congratulated the membership for “Leading the Way” in the many worthy community activities that the Lodges and the State Association provide to their respective communities. Last year, Massachusetts Elks and their helpers provided services to 219,772 participants in the communities were Elks live and work. Their State Charitable Report Summary indicates that the total cash value of hours worked, miles driven, cash and non-cash contributions totaled $4,516,153.30.
I also congratulated the membership for surpassing PGER Ron Hicks’ per capita of $4.65 to the Elks National Foundation, with a per capita of $5.35 statewide.
I spoke about membership procurement, decreasing lapsation and increasing reinstatements. I stated that the pride and knowledge we embrace properly cultivated in the hearts of our new members and keeping the membership informed and involved are the solutions to further losses of membership.
At the Banquet, Donna and I were presented with many thoughtful and beautiful gifts.
State President Harry See presented me with a donation, made in my honor, to the Elks National Foundation. Donna and I both received hand-made blankets from the Randolph Lodge, Gift Certificates from the Massachusetts Elks Scholarship Directors and the Officers and Members of the Saugus-Everett Lodge of Elks.
Donna received three Pandora Charms, one from Rhonda See, wife of State President Harry See and two charms from the Massachusetts Elks Scholarship Directors. We both received Veterans Shirts presented by Donna Slocomb. And Boston Lodge presented me with a Red Sox shirt.
Jerry Bagley, State Administrator of the Veterans Service Committee presented me a Paul Revere Bowl and Donna was presented a Vera Bradley bag from Jerry’s wife Dottie Bagley.
I was also presented “An Elk’s Toast” framed print by PDD Pamela J. Lester. The plaque is signed by the 1951 Grand Exalted Ruler Howard R. Davis and Past Grand Exalted Ruler James T. Hallinan, who was Grand Exalted Ruler in 1935.
I also received a needlepoint plaque, hand-made, and presented to me by Lewana Dyer. The plaque depicts my years and positions held since being initiated in 1968 through the current year.
We will treasure them always as we will treasure the memories of our homecoming to Massachusetts. We truly enjoyed the evening.