GER Mike and First Lady Donna’s visit to Wisconsin
September 15 – September 18, 2016
Donna and I arrived in Appleton, Wisconsin and were met at the airport by PGER F. Louis Sulsberger, Past State President Tony Voulgaris and his wife Mary, State President Rob Radig and his wife Michelle and and a host of other Wisconsin members.
After checking into the hotel and unpacking the members of the traveling party were off to the Appleton Lodge No. 337 for a casual dinner. There we met Exalted Ruler Jim Marks and a number of the lodge officers and members. We enjoyed the dinner and the warm hospitality shown us at the lodge. The lodge presented me with a joke gift, a “deflated football”. I signed the football and gave it back to the Exalted Ruler, so that he could raffle it off for the benefit of one of the lodge’s charities.
On Friday, I attended both the meetings of the State Association’s Board of Directors and the Wisconsin Benevolent Fund Board of Directors. I also met with the Past State President’s Advisory Committee, where I was present yet another “deflated” football and a Wisconsin necktie.
Donna had breakfast with the wives of the Past State Presidents followed by a Ladies Luncheon. During the luncheon the ladies painted wine glasses to be used as center pieces.
Pictured below are 2 of the centerpieces
On Friday evening Donna and I had dinner at Pullman’s with the Wisconsin Past State President’s and their wives. We really enjoyed the dinner and the ambiance of the restaurant. This trolley car was in the center of the restaurant.
The following are pictures of the PSP’s and their Ladies at the dinner.
On Saturday morning, I attended a number of committee meetings and breakout sessions to hear first-hand of the great work that is being performed in the state.
At the Ladies Luncheon on Saturday I had the opportunity and pleasure of addressing the ladies and to thank them for their dedication, hard work and for the many contributions that they provide to the Wisconsin Lodges and to the Wisconsin State Association.
On Saturday evening Donna and I attended the Cocktail Reception and Banquet held in our honor. The dinner was delicious and very enjoyable. During the dinner I addressed the membership and thanked them for their hospitality and many kindnesses shown to both Donna and me.
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, 10,663 Elks members and helpers provided services to 137, 893 participants in the communities were Elks live and work.
I also congratulated them for surpassing PGER Ron Hicks’ per capita of $4.65 to the Elks National Foundation with a per capita of $8.36.
Donna and I were presented with a number of thoughtful gifts. Donna received 2 Pandora Charms to add to her collection charms of each state visited as well as Beaver Dam blanket. I was presented with 2 different style Wisconsin Association shirts. I was also presented with a generous donation to the Elks National Foundation, given in my honor.
I also received an American Flag made out of bottle caps. The flag was made by Aaron Bohnsack of the Oshkosh Lodge No. 292 which was presented to me by his father Bob Bohnsack.
I also had the honor along with PGER Lou Sulsberger, in presenting a 100th Anniversary plaque, as a Subordinate Lodge of the Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks, to the Chippewa Lodge N0. 1326. Accepting the plaque is Exalted Ruler Susan Gutknecht together with the Officers of the Lodge.
On Sunday morning before leaving for the airport, Donna and I attended the business session and had the opportunity to thank everyone for their warm hospitality and many kindnesses shown to both of us.