POTSDAM – The Potsdam Chamber of Commerce has chosen Elks Lodge #2074 as its 2012 Commitment to the Community Award recipient.
The award reflects efforts of an individual or organization that enhance the quality of life, provide service to fellow citizens, or improve the business environment in Potsdam.
The Elks operate by the teachings of their motto, “The faults of our members are written on the sand, their virtues on the tablets of love and memory.” They endeavor to practice charity, justice, brotherly love, and fidelity.
The chamber’s announcement said that for over 50 years, the Potsdam Elks have exemplified the criteria of this award by their service to the community, especially veterans and youth.
Their support of veterans is exemplified by coordinating visits by Elks members and the Clarkson ROTC to local veterans on Veteran’s Day and participating in ceremonies on Memorial Day. They have also organized, collected, and sent care packages to deployed soldiers and raised awareness by sponsoring fundraisers for returning wounded soldiers. The Elks remind us all of the importance of such special days as Flag Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day by placing American flags throughout the village of Potsdam.
The Elks also support local fire departments, law enforcement, and emergency personnel. In 2011, they organized volunteers to create a human chain circling the downtown block of Potsdam in remembrance of 9/11.
They support youth by donating dictionaries to third grade students at Potsdam, Parishville-Hopkinton, Colton-Pierrepont, Canton, and Norwood-Norfolk schools. Every May, they hold a Recognition Day for students who excel in academics, music, sports, and citizenship. Every year, high school students benefit from both the Elks’ local, regional and national scholarships. The Elks Club Memorial Scholarship is given to one or two seniors who are entering the military. The Elks has their own youth program, “Horizons,” whereby children participate in community service.
They foster involvement in youth athletics by hosting contests such as Hoop, Soccer, and Hockey Shoots as well as a Punt/Pass/and Kick contest. They support area school and youth teams with fundraising barbecues and spaghetti dinners and financial donations to allow these teams, and sometimes their families, to travel to state and national playoffs or competitions.
The Potsdam Elks encourage youth to play and have fun. They send kids with special needs to summer camp. They assisted with a fundraiser and raised almost $9,000 toward the Ron Dillon Memorial Playground. The Potsdam Elks Lodge also offer a major kids play area of inflatable games during Potsdam’s Annual Summer Festival.
Over $40,000 is annually given back in donations and scholarships to people of all ages in the community. The list of local, regional, state, and national programs to which the Potsdam Elks have made donations is extensive and impressive. The Elks are praised as an integral part of the community volunteer network that makes Potsdam such a great place to live.
The award will be presented at the Potsdam Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner on Thursday, Nov. 15 at Thatcher Hall, SUNY Potsdam. The cost is $35 per person. A mixer begins at 5:30 and will feature appetizers and a cash bar. The buffet-style meal includes green salad, roast pork tenderloin with apple chutney, mashed potatoes with New York cheddar cheese, vegetable accompaniment, roll, beverage, and dessert.
Music will be provided by the Caramelo Trio (Oscar Sarmiento, Beth Robinson, and Steve Farina).
All paid dinner attendees will also be entered in the chamber’s first Balloon Blast Prize Giveaway, “a fun new take on a traditional raffle,” said Chamber Executive Director Marylee Ballou.
To make reservations or to learn more, call at 274-9000 or email [email protected].