North Dakota


GER Mike and First Lady Donna visit North Dakota’s Elks Camp Grassick and attended the ND Convention.

Mike and Donna arrived at the Bismarck Airport where they were met by State President Larry Larson and his wife Phyllis Larson, President Elect George Smetana and Bismarck-Mandan Lodge No 1199 Exalted Ruler Richard Skjonsby.

After a quick tour of the Bismarck-Mandan Lodge, we were off to make a visit to Elks Camp Grassick, the Major Project of the North Dakota Elks Association.

Upon arrival at the camp we were greeted by Camp Director Dan Mimnaugh and a group of the campers.

At meal time the campers are called to the dining room when the dinner bell is rung.

Mike at Bell

GER Mike and First Lady Donna, along with Camp Director Dan and 2 of the campers sounded the bell for lunch.

Mike and Donna enjoyed a meal consisting of a salad, homemade Chili and caramel covered rolls.

After lunch several of the campers came to the podium to tell why they love coming to the camp each year. Many of their comments were very heart-warming and a testimony to the great work that the North Dakota State Elks Association is involved with.

We then drove to Fargo to check in to our hotel. On Thursday evening we had a casual dinner with Larry and Phyllis Larson, George Smetana, and Dave and Jan Bailly.  After dinner we attended a party at the Fargo lodge, which is held each month for the residents of several group homes in the area.  A real treat to see the Fargo Lodge “Caring and Sharing” with the local community and demonstrating that “Elks are Leading the Way.”

On Friday evening Mike and Donna had dinner at the Fargo Lodge with the North Dakota Past State Presidents. During the dinner Mike spoke to the PSP’s and asked that they help their respective lodges with Membership Procurement, Retention and Orientation.  The PSP’s Association presented Mike with a donation in his honor to the Elks National Foundation.

After dinner the lodge held an outside “Ho Down” with a live band and karaoke in the member’s lounge.

Mike Karaoke

GER Mike joined the festivities and sang a duet with one of the local members in signing “I’ve got you babe” by Sonny and Cher.

Mike also sang to his bride Donna the Bobby Vinton classic

“Roses are red my love.”

By popular demand Mike repeated his solo performance on Saturday night after the Installation of State Officers and the banquet.

Mike had the honor and pleasure to install the New State President George Smetana and the other Officers of the State Association.

During the banquet on Saturday night GER Mike addressed the membership and congratulated the lodges and state association for the many community service projects they sponsor and their involvement with many youth programs, needy and handicapped programs, patriotic and drug awareness programs, veterans service and their state’s major project, Elks Camp Grassick.

Also during the banquet, the State Association presented two checks to GER Zellen for the Elks National. The first was for $10,000 representing donations made by all of the lodges in the state and a second check to the ENF for $300.00 made in the GER’s honor.  The Fargo Lodge also presented two checks, one for $500.00 to the ENF in honor of GER Zellen and the other for $250.00 for Elks Camp Grassick.

Also during our visit, the North Dakota Elks sponsored a ladies’ luncheon in honor of First Lady Donna. The event also included a paint party shown below.

The first picture is the North Dakota Ladies enjoying the painting party. The second picture is Donna’s final art work product.

During their visit, Mike and Donna also were taken on a tour of downtown Fargo. There they enjoyed a casual lunch at the Boiler Room Café.

Pictured below is the famous Fargo Theater Marque and the Boiler Room Café.

Donna and Mike Also visited the HJEMKOMST Center and viewed the ship that sailed 6,100 miles from Duluth, MN to Bergen, Norway in 1982.

Also located at the center is a replica of the Hopperstad Stave Church.