Party like it’s 1927

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Small towns just get it.

We understand the importance of little things, things like charitable organizations and the civic-mindedness they promote and how, more often than not, volunteerism does not need to be mandated. Small towns are a constant reminder of how those little things end up becoming big things. Important things. Things that thread families, their histories and stories together.

Take Patty Boggs, for instance, and the important role that the Eagles Lodge played in her family’s narrative.

She remembers her mother rushing to meetings every other week and how, as a teenager, she learned to dance at events sponsored by the St. Maries lodge.

“We’d spend weekends picnicking together and went to all the teenage dances in the ‘50s,” she said. “It was like a big family.”

It wasn’t until after she was grown and married, though, that she joined and discovered what the Eagles was truly about. Originally, she had joined to satisfy a family member who had invited her to do so, but once initiated, her perspective changed.

“I found out how hard they worked for charity and continued to go,” she remembered.

Eagles Auxiliary officers include district chaplain Jan Doherty, past president Shirley Dugger, conductor Lou Epler, trustees Billie Machado and Patty Boggs, and secretary Juanita Jack. Those note pictured include inside guard Ruby Toland, president Freda Albert, treasurer Margie Bonds, trustee Lynne Linnemeyer, vice president Jodi Harpole, chaplain Frances McDowell and district/state trustee Chris Hill.

She and a group of other active members gathered to commemorate their history and honor past and present presidents and their 86th anniversary celebration this week. The ladies’ chapter of the local lodge began in 1927; since then 22 presidents have served the group. Today the auxiliary has 189 members, 79 of which are older than 75 years. Its longest living member is Ruby Toland, who has been active in the group for 66 years.

But that’s not all.

The Auxiliary anniversary is one of three celebrations the Eagle’s Lodge has planned over the next several weeks.

The centennial anniversary celebration of the local lodge is Oct. 18. Local members have been working hard to remodel the lounge in preparation for the celebration, including the installation of a new floor, lighting and painting.

Additionally, the lodge will host the annual Idaho State Mid-Winter. The gathering of all the district and state officers from the area is Nov. 1,2 and 3 in St. Maries.

“This is only the second time in 20 or 30 years we’ve hosted the meeting,” said Dale Hill, Aerie Secretary and state and District 3 treasurer for the organization.

Officers award grants to various lodges that have submitted applications over the past year to support projects at the gathering. This year the St. Maries lodge has applied for a few grants, including one to pay for a kitchen upgrade for the Senior Meal Site, one for the M. “Blackie” Floyd Alzheimer’s fund and another from the Golden Eagle Fund to give to the local chapter of hospice.

Lots of really, really good things coming from a small group of hard-working volunteers over a very long period of time. Definitely something to celebrate, small-town style.

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