By Phil Stender, PDD - CEA State Secretary

On June 2nd -June 4th the Connecticut Elks Association held their 88th Annual Convention at the Sheraton Hartford South Hotel in Rocky Hill, CT. In addition to over 250 Elks and their guests, in attendance were: State Sponsor PGER David R. Carr and his wife Penny, Grand Lodge Trustee Robert Hansen, PSDGER, PGLCC, PGIG and his wife Patricia, Grand Lodge Auditing and Accounting Committeeman William Chinn, PSP, accompanied by Suzanne Novaco, and Special Deputy GER Richard Palanzo PDD, PSP, PGLCC and his wife Karyn.  Also in attendance were District Deputies Joseph Mingoia, Kathleen Ackerman, John Simko and James Coley to round out our Grand Lodge Family.

On Friday evening the Convention began with opening ceremonies with the colors being posted by the Boy Scouts from Troops 11, 41, and 121. Memorial Service to our “Absent Members” followed with a general eulogy given by Past State President Jan Wankowicz, Sr., PSP Steve Ferraro gave a eulogy for PSP Gaetano ‘Buddy’ Patrizzi and Grand Trustee, the Hon. Robert Hansen gave a eulogy for Past Grand Exalted Ruler Peter T. Affatato who was our State Sponsor for 28 years.

After the Memorial Service, awards for the various State and Grand Lodge Programs were presented, including the presentation of $100,000.00 check to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, and a $30,000.00 check to the Connecticut Special Olympics Association.

Awards were given out to District Chairmen individuals who were deemed to be the best by the Vice Presidents, they were: East District- Major Projects-Lysa Molnar from Putnam Lodge #574, Coastal District-Hoop Shoot – Dave Nagy from Derby Lodge #571, Central District-Bowling- Jamie Parr from Wethersfield/Rocky Hill Lodge #2308, and Northwest District-Public Relations- Don Wozcyna from New Britain Lodge #957. The State Chairperson of the Year Award went to Hoop Shoot Chairman Michael Stewart from Putnam Lodge #574. The awards ceremony culminated in the presentation of the State Elk of the Year Award to winner Joann Donnel from Groton Lodge #2163.

On Saturday morning, the Convention was reconvened by President Jonathan Arthur with the main business meeting. Reports were given by the Officers of the Association followed by the various committee chairmen.

Bipasha Phadnis received the Robert T. Curran Girl Scout Gold Scholarship Award and she addressed those assembled.

The keynote address at the Convention was given by Grand Trustee, the Hon. Robert Hansen.

On Saturday evening a gala dinner was held for the Installation of Officers by the past State Presidents. The following individuals were installed as officers for 2017-2018: President Donna Wallace, PDD from Willimantic Lodge No. 1311, VP Coastal David Acanfora, PDD from Bridgeport Lodge No. 36, VP Central Michael Bonini, PDD from Wallingford Lodge No. 1365, VP Northwest James Sabio, PDD from Naugatuck Lodge No. 967, VP East Michael Stewart, PDD from Putnam Lodge No. 574, Secretary Phillip Stender, PDD from Manchester Lodge No. 1893, Treasurer James Money, PDD from Bridgeport Lodge No. 36, Trustee Northwest James Coley, DDGER from Bristol Lodge No. 1010, Chaplain Darren Lawlor, PER from Branford Lodge 1939, Tiler Andrea Ruimerman, PER from Meriden Lodge No. 35, Sergeant at Arms Peter Nelson, PDD from Manchester Lodge 1893, Inner Guard Kathleen Ackerman, DDGER from Middletown Lodge No. 771Organist Joseph Trovarelli, PDD from Bridgeport Lodge No. 36

After the Installation, the Hon. Robert Hansen addressed the outgoing and incoming Presidents.

The next meeting of the Association will be the mid-year conference in January 2018.

The next Annual Convention will be held in Sturbridge, MA June 1st -June 3rd, 2018.