Written by John Paul Simko, PDD - State Public Relations Chairman
 with contributions by Peter Nelson, PDD - State Ritualistic Chairman
 Photos by Kathleen Ackerman, PDD - Central District Public Relations Chairman
 
On Saturday, March 10th Willimantic Lodge #1311 held State Presidents Night for Lodge member and CEA State President Donna Wallace.  There were over 150 people in attendance to greet SP Donna and to witness candidates coming to Willimantic Lodge from many Lodges across the State to be installed into the CEA. In attendance was GL Trustee Hon. Robert W. Hansen, PSP, PDD, along with GLCM A&A Bill Chinn, PSP, PDD, and SD Rick Palanzo, PSP, PDD. Also in attendance were many PSP's, CEA State Officers, District Deputies, Willimantic Lodge Officers and Members with many visiting Lodge members from around the State.
 
An impressive list of Officers presided over the Initiation of candidates. The list performing were in the role of ER: Pete Nelson, PDD, Leading Knight: Peter Freiler, PSP, PDD, Loyal Knight: Lisa Berthiume, PER, Lecturing Knight: Phil Stender, PDD, Esquire: Mike Barta, PSP, PDD, Chaplin: William Coley, Inner Guard: Jim Coley, PDD and Tiler: Jeff Ross. To see and to listen to this group of CEA members perform their roles and recite the initiation ceremony by memory, reinforce that the ritual is alive and well among the Connecticut Elks. 
 
Following the Initiation Ritual, all were invited to dine with SP Donna and husband Michael. All of the speakers showed the gratitude, appreciation and love toward their State President and thanked SP Donna for her leadership of the CEA.  SP Donna thanked her family and friends, the evenings Suite of Officers performing the Installation, Willimantic Lodge and ER Richard Dancosse, the Lodge kitchen staff and all the volunteers who did a terrific job setting up for this occasion. SP Donna was very proud of all the members of the CEA and told all to be "Proud of Elkdom".
 
It was a wonderful time throughout the evening.  If you missed State President's Night please try to attend next year. You will be impressed and you will leave with a having a proud feeling that you are a Connecticut Elk and a member of a most generous fraternal organization, The Benevolent Protective Order of Elks.