GER Mike and First Lady Donna’s visit to Vermont
September 27 – September 28, 2016
Donna and I, accompanied by PGER Dave and Penny Carr were met by Special Deputy Grand Exalted Earl Cavanagh and his wife Nancy in Holyoke Massachusetts for our drive to the State of Vermont. We arrived for a casual lunch at the Brattleboro Lodge #1499. There, we were greeted by a number of Vermont’s State Officers as well as a number of Brattleboro Lodge’s Officers and members.
After lunch, the traveling party headed to Montpelier and checked into our hotel. During our drive, we had the opportunity to view the colorful fall foliage in the Vermont Mountains.
On Tuesday evening, we headed to the Barre Vermont Lodge to attended the Vermont State Reception and Banquet held in our honor.
When we arrived at the Lodge we were greeted by Vermont’s First Lady Michele Campo, President Elect Brian Gaura and a host of other Vermont State Officers, Members and guests. State President Robert Campo was unable to attend the event as he was on a business trip outside of the country.
Pictured above are Donna and I, PGER David Carr, his wife Penny Carr, and Special Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler Earl Cavanaugh and his wife Nancy Cavanagh.
During the reception, Donna and I traveled from table to table to meet and greet the Vermont members and their guests and to present them with one of our pins. It was truly a pleasure making new friends as well as spending time with many old friends.
The banquet meal was delicious and very enjoyable. After dinner, and much to everyone’s surprise, the head table that Donna and I were sitting at, suddenly, collapsed, dishes, glassware, Donna’s purse and my I-Pad crashed to the floor. Thank God that it collapsed forward and not towards us. After a brief clean up the speaking program began.
Donna and I addressed the membership and thanked everyone for their warm welcome, wonderful hospitality and their friendliness. It was truly a pleasure meeting everyone.
During my address to the membership, I thanked all the Vermont Lodges and the Vermont State Association for their service to the communities where Elks live and work and for their participation in all our Grand Lodge Programs. I also spoke about the Vermont Elks Association’s Major Project, Silver Towers Camp for Exceptional People, which provides an overnight retreat for those with mental and physical challenges.
I also spoke about membership procurement, decreasing lapsation and increasing reinstatements. I indicated that lapsation can best be controlled by making sure that each new member, as well as existing members, are made to feel welcome, and are offered and given an opportunity to participate and become involved in lodge programs. I also challenged every lodge officer of every Vermont Lodge to sponsor just one new member. With thirteen lodges having an average of fifteen officers and with every officer sponsoring just one new member, would result in 195 new members.
I also congratulated the membership and lodges for surpassing PGER Ron Hicks’ per capita of $4.65, to the Elks National Foundation with a per capita of $6.23 statewide. Last year Vermont members and lodges donated $45,326.49 to the Elks National Foundation.
I also had the honor and pleasure of presenting PSP Lori Pinsonneault with her Founders Certificate and lapel pin for reaching the $1,000.00 donation level made to the Elks National Foundation.
After the Banquet, Donna and I were presented with gifts from the State Association by Vermont’s First Lady Michele Campo and President Elect Brian Gaura. Donna received a Vermont Pandora Charm. I was presented with the traditional Vermont granite clock. I was also presented with generous donations to the Elks National Foundation by the District Deputies and the Vermont Lodges.
On Wednesday morning, Donna and I were off for our visit to the State of New Hampshire. We said good bye, and thanked PGER Dave and Penney Carr for accompanying Donna and I through our visits to New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont.