On Saturday, September 29th, 2018, Milford Elks Lodge #1589 held their first annual Open House. This event was an opportunity for the public to come see the numerous charitable works the Lodge offers throughout the Milford community. The Open House was followed by an anniversary celebration to mark the Order’s 150 years of service throughout the United States. The Milford Lodge was charted on July 9, 1931, and has been directly serving the Milford community directly for the past 87 years.

Lodge officers, various committees, and members came together to run the event, which featured ten tables highlighting the different ways the Milford Elks invests in their community. The tables included Americanism, the Connecticut Elks Major Project to benefit the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Community Impact, Drug Awareness, Special Olympics, Youth Activities, and Scholarship opportunities. The Adult Activities table emphasized the social aspect of joining the Order, and the membership table gave visitors all the information they needed to join the Milford Elks.

To celebrate the BPOE’s 150 years of service, Milford Mayor Benjamin Blake presented Exalted Ruler, Robert Muoio, and Public Relations Chairman, Alan Pinto, with a Proclamation from the City. “Whether it is for our Veterans events, youth events, or any other community event, the Elks are always there to be a part of what makes Milford…Milford,” Blake said. Excitement rang from the crowd as the Mayor named September 29th “Milford Elks Day” in the City of Milford. “The Elks always puts the needs of others over themselves.”

Following the Mayor, State Representatives Kim Rose, Pam Staneski, and Charles Ferraro, presented the Order with a General Assembly Official Citation from the State of Connecticut. As an Elk herself, Rose talked about some of the great works the Elks do. “If there’s anything that happens in our City, and someone calls for help, the Elks is always there for them.” Staneski added, “As a major part of the Milford Prevention Council, I’m excited that you are bringing back the Drug Awareness Program. It is really important to this community. Thank you for all the work you do!”

Ferraro read the Citation which stated, in part, “The Connecticut General Assembly offers its sincerest congratulations in recognition and honor of the BPOE’s 150th anniversary. You have served the city of Milford through your hard work, enthusiasm, and commitment in raising money for various charities and civic projects. We commend you in your numerous and significant contributions and extend our best wishes for continued success in the next 150 years!”.

Danielle Richetelli, 2014 Legacy Scholarship Winner from the Milford Lodge, spoke about her experience with the Order on a National level. “The Scholarship rolled over throughout my four years of college, which was a great asset to me. I traveled to Dallas and San Antonio, TX and Chicago, IL to attend service projects with other Elks Scholars with a focus on homelessness,” Richetelli recounted. The Legacy Scholarship, awarded to five Connecticut students going into college, whose parents or grandparents are members of the BPOE, requires recipients to fulfill a service commitment with the Elks.

Richetelli chose to participate in annual service projects that the Elks National Foundation hosts and funds. One of the most important memories she took away from the Elks went beyond the Scholarship itself. “You get a sense of family when you are with the Elks. We scholars call it a family reunion. The Elks is a community that gives you a sense of service, charity, and social interaction. It’s an extra family where you can go for support. Through the Elks National Foundation Scholarship, many of us realized that being a member is extending the reach of the Elks’ family. It’s a massive force of compassion, charity, and community that I’m excited to join as a member.”

This year alone, the Milford Elks has secured $10,000 in grant monies to support the Milford community. This includes two grants that have been secured for the Winter 2018 and Spring 2019. The Beacon Grant will be used to help fund the Milford Lodge’s annual Christmas Basket Program and Christmas Day Dinner that serves the community. The Freedom Grant will be used in the Spring of 2019 to fund an event run by the Veterans Services/Americanism chairman, Jeff Hall. Hall plans to provide Veterans from the VA, Homes for the Brave, and the Vet Center a much needed day out on the Connecticut River with dinner and gift bags.

At the Open House, Muoio and Pinto awarded the Milford Animal Shelter with a $1,500 Elks Anniversary Grant to support their financial needs. Also, the Milford Elks kicked off their new partnership with the Milford Boys and Girls Club through the approval of the National Foundation’s Promise Grant. The $2,500 Promise Grant will be used to fund a Friday night basketball league and dinner program at the Teen Center to keep teens off the streets. Mentors from the Elks will participate in the program to fulfill two of the five promises the grant sets forth-providing youth with safe places and offering support from caring adults.

The Elks will also bring in resources from their National Drug Awareness project. The Milford Elks recently resurrected their Drug Awareness Committee thanks to the leadership of member Kathy Hart.

The ceremony was followed by music by the Elwoods in the Elks’ Antler Park and an old fashioned cookout. Exalted Ruler, Rob Muoio, ended the ceremony by saying, “We are a family organization who is invested in the Milford community. And, as we celebrate 150 years as a National organization, 87 years serving this community directly, we only plan to further our impact and support the future of our Lodge and the great City of Milford for another 150 years.”

For more information on how to join the Milford Elks Lodge #1589, or for ways to get involved with the Order’s charitable works, e-mail info@milfordelks.com or visit their website at www.milfordelks.com.