President Mike Stewart is pictured with his wife Sharon Stewart.
What an exciting time to be an ELK!
The 2020/2021 Elk year was one of change. We learned to appreciate our time more than ever before. We met our friends and family through social media. It was definitely a time for reflection, refocus reprioritizing what was important.
FAMILY was the most important focus everyone shared. We are all so lucky to be part of our ELK family. Our focus never wavered. All of our brother and sister members led by example, thought outside the box and continued to help in their communities the best they could.
Although Connecticut is small geographically, we are large in commitment to serving our communities through local charitable works, state association sponsored programs and involvement with all Grand Lodge programs. It was with great pride that I carried our State Flag in Tampa and represented our great state of Connecticut. To hear Connecticut recognized at our Grand Lodge Convention for all of our lodge’s achievements was a very proud moment. Connecticut has won many Local, State and Grand Lodge awards over the years and we strive every day to continue down that path. We are all extremely proud of the fact that Connecticut has had an annual gain in membership for the past 57 consecutive years. On behalf of the over 21,000 plus Elks of Connecticut, it is my pleasure as State President to welcome you to our State Association website.
Connecticut has played a pivotal role in Elk history over the years. It was in 1927 that our very own Meriden Lodge No. 35 endorsed the candidate for President of the Benevolent Order of Elks, John F. Malley. President Malley first proposed the creation of the Elks National Foundation, our philanthropic fund. This charitable trust gives away over $36 million dollars a year to support Scholarships, Local Communities, Youth Events, Drug Awareness Programs and our Veterans.
The Elks of Connecticut developed and implemented the National Soccer Shoot program. This phenomenal program was the brainchild of Past Grand Loyal Knight Francis A. Joyce and Past Chairman of Grand Lodge Board of Trustee Robert W. Hansen both members of New Britain Lodge No. 957. This program teaches our youth values of sportsmanship while allowing them to compete and succeed all while at different levels.
The Connecticut Children’s Medical Center (CCMC) and their “SAFE KIDS PROGRAM” is our state major project. For over 60 years we have enjoyed our relationship with CCMC, and the Safe Kids Program assisting with keeping children safer through education in the use of bicycle helmets, child care seats, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Our annual donation of $100,000.00 funds these efforts to reduce the number of children hospitalized this year. Since our first donation, the Elks of Connecticut have donated over 5 million dollars. The children of CCMC are all part of our Elks Family and we are blessed to be part of their team.
The State of Connecticut Elks Association is also very proud of our affiliation with Connecticut Special Olympics and the Holiday Classic Event. We serve as the Title Sponsor bringing in over 100 Elk volunteers to assist these special athletes during Volleyball, Power Lifting, Bowling and Basketball competition. We continue to grow with the Special Olympic Program and have expanded our participation into the annual Skills Competition held in June during the Connecticut Special Olympics Summer Games. It is truly an honor to be part of the Special Olympic Family.
I have been an Elk since 2004 and my home lodge is Putnam No. 574. As a 17-year member I have had the opportunity to serve as Exalted Ruler twice, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for 5 years. Throughout the years I have Chaired or been a member of multiple committees along with cooking for various events.
On the State level I have served as District Chairman for Membership and Hoop-Shoot, which I was later appointed as State Chairman. I have had the honor of serving the Association as Inner Guard, Chaplain and Vice-President.
I have had the opportunity of serving on multiple District Deputy Suites and was honored by Grand Lodge by being sworn in as District Deputy in 2014. After serving as District Deputy, I was appointed as a Special Representative. Recently I was selected as Region 6 (New England) Hoop-Shoot Director.
It is truly my honor and privilege to now serve as President of the Connecticut Elks Association Charities Inc. I am looking forward to a year filled with FAMILY.
As Elks we are known as an organization that cares and shares. Most impressive is that we accomplish caring and sharing through the virtue of Charity while volunteering our time and resources to achieve the goals of our great Order. The success of any association depends on the involvement of its members. The Connecticut Elks have always gone above and beyond to continually move our programs in a positive direction of growth.
Our Motto this year is: “FAMILY…Together we can do anything”
I am confident that from the Arm of Charity, we will continue to exhibit the caring and sharing excellence that the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks is known for.
Thank you for visiting our website.
Ronald “Michael” Stewart, State President