Eagles celebrate 100 years

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One hundred years after receiving its charter, members of the St. Maries Eagles Lodge continue to exemplify their motto: People Helping People.

the group will celebrate its history of accomplishment with a steak dinner Friday. Though much has changed over the years, members remain dedicated to their mission. It is safe to say that the local lodge has helped raise more than $1 million for local and national charities since its inception in 1913, said Dale Hill, who serves as secretary for the local lodge and treasurer for the district and state organization.

“It is not uncommon to see more than $20,000 raised in a single night during a benefit function at the lodge,” Mr. Hill said. “In the last 20 years I bet we have had over a quarter-of-a-million raised for the community through the Eagles.”

Local Eagles officers include (front) Aerie secretary and District 3 and State treasurer Dale Hill, trustee Gordon Hutchison, past president Al Townsend, (from left standing) auxiliary District 3 chaplain Jan Doherty, past president Shirley Dugger, conductor Lou Epler, trustee Billie Machado, secretary Juanita Jack, trustee Patty Boggs, and Aerie past president Randy Nold, trustee Don Eckman, inside guard Duffer Michael, president Jeff Hickman, vice president Cathy Valley, chaplain John Darden and District 3 past president Greg Doherty.

The Fraternal Order Eagles Aerie was started in St. Maries with 70 charter members. The women’s chapter (Auxiliary) formed in 1927 with 50 charter members. Meetings were first conducted in the old Skelton Hall on the waterfront, then moved to Woodmen’s Hall until the structure was destroyed by fire in 1934. The organization met in a room above what is now Two Rivers Realty until they were able to dedicate their own building in 1949.

Membership has fluctuated over the years, beginning as high as 600 in 1949. Currently the Aerie has 227, and the Auxiliary has 189 members.

Eagles Auxiliary members Margaret Holstein, Esther English, Audra Swofford, Ruby Toland and Jerry Justus in the late 1960s.

As is evident based on the amount of money raised throughout the years, the lodge’s reputation for assistance precedes itself. And the Auxiliary provides charity of another sort.

The women’s group provides funeral dinners for members and their families, blankets to victims of house fires, donates to Wigs for Kids and sponsors the blood mobile visit four times each year.

Auxiliary members Alma Gosser pins Ruby Toland.

Leaders within the organization hope to attract more participation from young people and families, those who will carry on the legacy of loving the community. Despite dwindling participation, the lodge continues to donate to several national charities each year and supports various community projects.

Friday’s dinner begins at 5 p.m., costs $15 and is open to the community.

 

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