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Come in and work the kitchen for BINGO - have some fun and meet the teams. Contact Pam Mackay 949-859-6426. We can use YOUR help!

Congratulations to our
Elk of the Month
for November 2018

Stuart Urquhart

Congratulations go to our 2017-2018
Award Winners :

Elk of the Year
Dennis Boelts

Citizen of the Year
Ron Eger

Officer of the Year
Frank Scarpine

Previous Winners
Past Exalted Rulers
Past Elks of the Year

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Lodge 2444 > Message from ER

Message from Our Exalted Ruler

June 2018

Proud to be a Mission Viejo Elk

Well, the new Elk year is off and running and what a great start. Each lodge in the Orange Coast District had their officer installations and Inaugural Balls and I had the honor of attending most to represent our lodge. It is important for me to attend as many other lodge functions as possible to support the lodges and our district. This is Elkdom and the Brotherhood of lodges. This year’s team of eight Exalted Rulers have really gelled as a cohesive group, working together to keep the word of Elkdom alive and growing. I encourage you to come to our lodge often and enjoy the fellowship that is Elkdom or visit another lodge in our district or in your travels. Vacation time is just around the corner, so plan to stop in a lodge, say hi and be proud to be a Mission Viejo Elk!

At our lodge we have a lot to be proud of. Our officers placed well in the recent district Ritual Competition: 3rd Place Leading Knight, Jamie Camunas, 3rd Place Loyal Knight John Lee, 1st Place Lecturing Knight Lane Keran and 2nd Place Exalted Ruler Mike Klinger. Our monthly Bulletin, Mission Calls, just received 1st Place honors as the best 2017-2018 Public Relations Bulletin in CHEA and the big news prior to the National Convention in San Antonio (July) is Mission Viejo Saddleback Valley Elks #2444 won 2nd Place All American Lodge, the second highest Grand Lodge honor bestowed on a lodge in Elkdom. Yes, we have a lot to be proud of and it’s our members that make the difference. The fusion of volunteers is the strength and backbone of our lodge. Jump on board and catch this wave as we continue to support our community, our young citizens, our military and first responders. Our lodge can only be successful with the hard work of our volunteers. Come to a meeting or to the lodge and ask, “how can I help out?” You will be glad you did.

Fraternally Yours,

Michael D. Klinger

Exalted Ruler

May 2018

High Elks Season

I can’t believe that the month of April has just flown by! As I am writing this column, I just received some exciting Major Project Purple Pig news. As of March 31, the Orange Coast District (our 10 lodges) is number one in contributions in the entire California-Hawaii Elks Association! And the Mission Viejo Elks are numeral UNO in our district! Keep up the good work and keep those FULL Purple Pigs marching into our lodge office and Purple Pig Chairman, Sven Akesson. With this exciting new comes sad news too. Our Orange Coast District has lost two lodges recently due to lack of membership and the financial support necessary to survive. LaHabra Elks and Westminster Elks closed their doors at the end of March. Many of the members have transferred to other lodges in our district.

We all should give a huge thanks to our Esquire, Rick Capotosta, for a fine job organizing our volunteers and making our Easter Brunch another success. Over 250 members and families stopped by our lodge Easter morning and the kids enjoyed hunting for over 1,000 eggs hidden in the backyard. Job well done by everyone who set-up, cooked, served and cleaned-up. Thank you!

As our leaders say, “We are in high Elks season!”. Our May starts off with an Open Meeting for Youth Appreciation Night May 1 at 7pm, where we recognize the accomplishments of our youth in the community. May 13 is our ever-popular Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch, so plan a date with mom at your lodge. Wednesday May 16 starts the CHEA State Convention in San Diego where most officers will attend and return with valuable updates and information for our members. We finish May strong with Memorial Day BBQ Monday May 28, a day of Remembrance of the Fallen followed by our District Vice President Designate, Randy Eldridge PER (Garden Grove Elks) Visitation Tuesday May 29. And this is just the beginning of a busy year of reaching out to our community, to the children that need our support and to our veterans. Stay connected, get involved and support YOUR lodge. Ask an officer, “How can I help in the lodge?”

Fraternally yours,

Michael D. Klinger

Exalted Ruler

April 2018

Focused on Elkdom

“I welcome you to this station for final instruction. You may well be proud that the members have deemed you worthy of their confidence”. Yes, I am very proud that the members of Mission Viejo Saddleback Valley Elks 2444 have shown confidence in me as their Exalted Ruler and to guide our lodge for the next year. As many of you may not know, I have been married for 42 years to Judy, the MV Elks Office Manager, we have two sons and four granddaughters (2 in California and 2 in Nebraska). After coming to the Elks for Easter Brunch in 2014 and observing the fellowship of the members, I joined the Elks in May and jumped in with two feet. Exalted Ruler, Derek Randles, asked me to support the lodge by developing the MV Elks website that had sat dormant for two years. As the website took shape, over the past three years the MV Elks website has won 3 Grand Lodge National Website Awards as the best in Elkdom. In 2015, I joined the officer corps as Lodge Esquire and was chosen as Officer of the Year by the Past Exalted Rulers. Through the next years as Esteemed Loyal and Leading Knights, I continued to volunteer at many events, supported kitchen crews and managed the Social Media, Public Relations and Marketing efforts for the Lodge. I always asked, “how can I help?”.

My motto for the up coming year is “Focused on Elkdom”. Like the saying goes, “Life is like a camera. You focus on what’s important. Capture the good times. Develop from the negative and if things don’t’ work out, take another SHOT!”. After graduating from Long Beach City College in 1974, my parents gave me my first 35mm film camera, a Minolta 101, which I still have. As I improved my photography skills, Judy and I were fortunate to travel the world supporting TEAM USA at International Motorcycle Racing events from Helsinki, Finland to Sydney, Australia, from Prague, Czech Republic to Brescia, Italy. Photography has taught me to look at the big picture, be patient and focus on the details. One of best parts of being a photographer is sharing the special moments that I have captured with family and friends.

This year we will be Focused on Elkdom in our community from veterans that need our support to the special needs children and adults. We will apply for grants from Elks National Foundation to continue our charitable work in the community and focus on new relationships that need our support. Many of our fantastic fundraising events will continue throughout the year and a few have been made their way back onto our calendar: Chili Cook-Off in April, Oktoberfest in October, Country Western Night in January and hopefully a Gold Star Family luncheon during the Summer. I look forward to working with the Corps of Officers, with our committees and with our members to continue the rich history of our Lodge and understanding that volunteering is the life blood of any lodge. Join in! We are Focused on Elkdom.

From the Station of the Exalted Ruler,

Michael D. Klinger

October 2017
Hello Members,    

Welcome to the station of Fidelity.     

We have a full schedule of events planned this month which I will get to after a brief interruption.    

Any members have a few hours to help children?  We have several youth activity programs in place to help young people in our community.  We are always looking for seasoned and novice volunteers to help us with the Essay Contest, Drug Awareness, Hoop Shoot, the Dictionary Project for 3rd grades, and other programs.  No experience is necessary but you must have a warm heart and a love of children.  If you fit the requirements, and you have the interest, please reach out to me or any of our Lodge Officers.  We will gladly put you in touch with our wonderful committee chairpersons who are looking for a few more smiles on their teams.     

Now back to your regularly scheduled program…    

Heads up all campers and recreational vehicle fans!  The Annual Elks California Rally is again in Hemet, this year’s dates run from Oct. 6 (Friday) thru Oct. 9 (Monday).  This should be a nice long weekend of fellowship and fun as the Elks are recreating and drumming up support for our favorite charity, the CHEA Major Project, for disabled children.  Please reach out to any Run-A-Way camper for information on this great outdoor event.    

Anyone need a good laugh these days?  On Saturday, Oct. 7, the Elks Ladies hold their annual Comedy Night.  For the quality and quantity of funny these tickets are very reasonably priced.  This promises to be a great indoor event, a hilarious night, and it raises money for your favorite Elks Lodge.     

Want to show off your latest dance moves?  The Autumn Senior Dance will be held at the Lodge on Sunday, Oct. 8.  This event is with the cooperation of the Norman Murray Center and tickets are sold only at that location.  Did you know that Norman Murray was the first Mayor of Mission Viejo and a PER of our Lodge?  No kidding.  We understand Wayne Pulcini, the one-man pop band, is performing for this annual dinner and dance event.  Great work by our Entertainment Committee to snag this amazing talent!    

On Saturday, Oct. 21, our Drug Awareness Team joins the Red Ribbon Walk thru our city and manages a drug education booth on the grounds of the Norman Murray Center.  Please join us as we share our Elks message regarding the dangers of illegal drugs and unsecured prescription medications.  Our youngsters are our most precious resources.  They are impressionable and susceptible to peer pressure.  Education and communication are our best tools to lead our kids to maintain a drug free life.    

On Sunday, Oct. 22, a Wine Tasting event will be conducted in our Lodge.  For all oenophiles and novice wine drinkers in our crowd please see Rosemary Miller for details and tickets to this event.  Rumor has it there will be nearly 40 different wines available to judge.    

Damn cancer. Has it impacted anyone in your family or your friends?  There is no doubt this disease is cruel and devastating to everyone involved. Now imagine a precious child with cancer.  That is a gut wrenching thought. Yet innocent children are not immune to this scourge. Please join your fellow Lodge members on Saturday, Oct. 28, to support our Lodge Cancer Kids Fundraiser event.  Open you hearts and your wallets to purchase any of the dozens of gift baskets and items for sale.  All proceeds and donations go directly to fund our annual Cancer Kids Carnival.    

And while children of all ages look forward to Halloween on Oct. 31, this year it falls on a Tuesday and there is no Lodge Meeting that night.  Take your kids or your grandkids out for Trick-or-Treating that night, if that is your pleasure.  Otherwise, please come down to the Lodge and enjoy some fellowship in our Lounge.     

Fraternally Yours,     

Michael W Long, Exalted Ruler

April 2017

Hello Members,

Welcome to the station of Fidelity.

I am humbled to have to been elected as Exalted Ruler of our great Lodge for 2017-18.  I am proud to have the opportunity represent the Best People on Earth. My First Lady Vicky and I promise you will always get our best efforts at the Lodge and as your representatives of Mission Viejo Saddleback Valley Elks Lodge #2444.

When Vicky and I joined the Lodge in November 2013 we had no idea we would become involved in so many of the noble works to which our Order is dedicated. We were told to “take it slow”, accept some volunteer assignments and politely reject the others. Neither of us listened to this advice all that well. We both found it easy to support many areas of Elkdom and easily switch focus between these different areas as required.  We find all Elks volunteer activities emotionally rewarding and strongly believe in them. 

My motto for the new Elks year is “Elks Building a Better Community”.  We do valuable work in our community. We have a great public relations machine to share our message to various media outlets.  I will lead efforts in our Lodge to increase our presence and visibility in our Mission Viejo Saddleback Valley community and beyond.

We have done excellent community work with Community Youth programs in Education (Dictionaries for third graders, Americanism Essay Contents for sixth graders and College Scholarships for high school seniors), in Anti-Drug Awareness, and in competitive sports with the Hoop Shoot program for boys and girls 8 to 13 years of age.  We will continue these traditions and expand on them where possible.

We will continue to hold special events in our Lodge to share our love for one another and our families and our friends.  Please make plans to join us for Easter Brunch on April 16 and Mother’s Day Brunch on May 14.  These are two of our favorite Lodge events and we plan to make them special for you and yours.  Please make plans to join us for an open Lodge Meeting on Tuesday May 2 at 7PM as we conduct our annual Youth Appreciation and Recognition Night. 

I am proud that four newer members of our Lodge joined our Officer Corps, including John Lee as Esquire, Lane Keran as Chaplain, Rick Capotosta as Inner Guard, and Lia Faase as Tiler.  These new recruits are ably supported by a cadre of veteran officers, including Mike Klinger as Leading Knight, Jamie Camunas as Loyal Knight, Dave McLeod PER as Lecturing Knight, Rich Heimann as Secretary, Bill Bongartz as Treasurer, Basia Bills as 1 year Trustee, Frank Scarpine as 2 year Trustee, Vicky Long as 3 year Trustee, Dave Tucker as 4 year Trustee, Harvey Boelts as 5 year Trustee, and Andy Costello as Organist. There are many more Elks that help run this Lodge and I will mention them in future articles.  I am proud of all of them!   

Our Lodge has experienced rapid growth in the last couple of years.  We are now over 1150 members strong.  I see a similar growth in the enthusiasm of our entire membership.  Our members’ desire to contribute thru teamwork is a vital part of who we are and how we accomplish great deeds.  We are a formidable force for good in our community.  We all deserve to be proud of our Lodge and its members.

Fraternally Yours,

Michael W Long, Exalted Ruler

March 2017

This will be my last article as Exalted Ruler of this Lodge. Looking back at what we have accomplished this year, I now feel confident turning over my position to the next team. The Exalted Ruler position only works if you have the support of the Officer Corp, the membership, and Lodge Committees. My goal as Exalted Ruler was not to change the Lodge but, to make it run as efficient as possible. As a business owner I know you need good people working with you. I appointed the members who I thought would do the best job in all of the committee positions, and they did their jobs like a well-oiled machine without any micromanaging from the Exalted Ruler. Most of the Officers in the Lodge are elected but, I could not have hand picked a better Officer Corp. I received many compliments throughout this year on the great job I have done as Exalted Ruler but, I cannot take all the credit because this position only works as a team. So I personally thank my Officer Corp, my committees, and you the members of this Lodge for all your support and dedication this year. Also I would like thank the person most responsible for my success this year, my First Lady and love of my life, Basia Bills. Whenever I would get off track she has kept me on the straight and narrow. Her advice and unbiased demeanor made me stop and reevaluate my situation. There were a few jokes made about Basia being the real Exalted Ruler. I took these jokes as a compliment. I was lucky to have a smart intelligent woman that I could depend on. Another person I need to acknowledge is my mentor and friend Past District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler Harvey Boelts who has always had good advice and an open mind when it comes to the Lodge. I consider this Lodge and its members part of my family, and it has been an honor to serve as an Officer for the last four years. I will continue to work and dedicate my time to Mission Viejo Saddleback Valley Lodge. From the Station of the Exalted Ruler, I will see you in the Lodge.
David McLeod
Exalted Ruler

February 2017

This month I would like to talk to all the volunteers of the Lodge. You are our life blood, without your dedication and hard work we would just be a social club. Because you all step up and give your time to the Lodge we are the premier charitable organization in our community. It does not matter if you donate a few hours a month or if you are here daily. We are a team with the goal of helping others who are less fortunate. When I was a new member I could not see where my time spent volunteering in the lodge was helping those less fortunate. The answer is we have eleven hundred members , who at one time or another come here to support our events that raise money for the Lodge. We have an outstanding Bingo Charity crew that show up every Wednesday and run a program that benefits our local community, our Veterans, active military, county policy department, firefighters, local schools, and special needs children. Also our state Major Project known as the Purple Pig has collected on an average per year three and a half million dollars for the cure and rehabilitation of children with all types of sickness in the state of California and Hawaii. When we donate our time we keep this charity machine in top working order. We have great Friday and Monday dinner nights that are supported by all volunteer members; we have Thursday Philly Cheese Steak and NFL Football. Our monthly events are always sold out. Without you the volunteer this would not be possible. Recently two fairly new members put on a murder mystery dinner which was a big success, thank you John and Susan Lee. This year the NFL, Rose Bowl, and Super bowl committee has done an outstanding job at raising donations for the Lodge. A special thanks goes out to, Mateo, Laura Lumley, Joe Esparza, Basia Bills, Lorene Tierney, and the two Johns. As a volunteer at this Lodge for many years I would like to thank each and every one of you who has taking the time out of your busy schedule to help us meet our meet our goals, because of you the Mission Viejo Saddleback Lodge #2444 shines bright in California


David McLeod

Exalted Ruler

January 2017

Happy New Year everyone and I hope you had a Merry Christmas. As we move into the New Year I am looking back at last year and I can’t help but to feel great about everything we as a fraternal family have accomplished. I do not have the words to express my gratitude to all the members of this Lodge for their hard work and support throughout the year. Our membership numbers continue to rise and most events have been attended at full capacity. I have also noticed plenty of new volunteers working in the Lodge. Thank you for stepping up and helping us to meet our goals. Thanks to our ENF Chairman PER Derek Randles we have received all of the Grants from Grand Lodge that our Lodge met the criteria for, and Derek has put that money to good use at places like House of Hope and Orange County Rescue Mission, Vet Net, the toy run and much more. Also one grant was used to adopt four Marine families for Christmas, suppling gifts, trees, and Christmas family dinner. Bingo Charity and all the members that work Bingo have made several runs to Camp Pendleton to support our active duty Marines and their families. Other events like Cancer Kids, Best Buddies, Special kids Christmas, Sock hop, all make our Lodge shine bright in our community. The third grade Dictionary and Drug Awareness programs were a big success this year. Veterans Chairman David Perry has done an outstanding job in the support of all the Veterans in our area. The lodge Trustees have accomplished a great deal this year. The building was painted, kitchen and restroom plumbing, backyard drains, block wall, fencing, wrought iron, and the handicap railing is in progress. This is above and beyond the normal maintenance of the property. We will soon be voting on the new Bylaws and will they be approved by the end of the Elk year. We have many members working behind the scenes that don’t always get the credit they deserve. Again I would like to thank all of you for your hard work and dedication to this organization. Until next month from the Station of Fidelity see you at the Lodge.


David Mcleod

Exalted Ruler  

December 2016

This month I would like to talk about our national dictionary program. Our lodge delivers dictionaries to every third class in the Capistrano and Saddleback school Districts. The cost of this program is extensive and the logistics are complicated. Because we live in an electronic age there has been some talk about how effective the program is today. Why would or children need books when all the information you could ever need is just a click away, and we could make better use of the money we spend on the dictionary program. I was one of the people questioning the program until I went to a presentation at a local school. I have since changed my mind and will now promote the dictionary program one hundred percent. Past Exalted Ruler Pat Martino is the dictionary Chairmen of the program this year. He asked if I could attend one of the early morning presentations. I met Pat early one morning; he loaded up the dictionaries and off to Philip J Reilly Elementary School we went. It just so happens this day is morning Flag Day and the whole school is assembled outside to address the American flag. The Principle introduced us to the school and after the ceremony we were able to pass out dictionaries. Pat does a great job at explaining to the class all the information that is available in this book. This is not just a dictionary; it contains stories about American Presidents, stories about the states, the Declaration of Independence, the Solar System, Roman Numeral System, Periodic Table of Elements, multiplication tables, the Sign Language Alphabet and much more. After passing out these books you could not get the class to pay attention any longer. They were stuck inside these books like glue. I asked the teachers, does this happen every year? The answer was yes every year. The teachers also told me that many of these kids are still using the dictionaries thru the end of fifth grade. I have made plans to join PER Pat Martino on future presentations. The moral of this story is not to be so quick to condemn the ideas of the Lodge until you have done your investigation. Until next month from the Station of Fidelity see you at the Lodge.


David McLeod

Exalted Ruler   

November 2016

When I was a new Elk I really did not understand what exactly our organization did, and I know there are some who feel the same way. We are a not-for-profit charity and raise money for the rehabilitation of children with major medical problems when their families cannot afford to get the help they need. We fund an extensive Veterans program, we are number two in the Nation for handing out scholarships to school age children - the Federal Government is number one. We also hand out vocational scholarships for people of all ages. We have Drug Awareness, Scouting, Hoop Shoot, Senior and Community Service programs and many more. 

Today I would like to talk about a program that is close to my heart, our active Military. Last month Harvey Boelts and Bingo charity workers went to Camp Pendleton to cook breakfast for three hundred Marines who shipped out that same morning. This breakfast was the full on deal, eggs, sausage, fruit, potatoes, pancakes, and a backpack care package full of all the things the Marines said they would like but could not get where they were going. I don’t know if you have ever tried to get on a Military Base with twenty to thirty people, all the supplies and vehicles to do this event. I will tell you it is a huge project. This group woke up at 3:am packed all the food and supplies and headed down to the base where they prepared, cooked, served and, cleaned up. Then handed out all the care packages, came home and worked Wednesday night Bingo.

Recently we had a local active Military family with children who were in need of help. They had fallen on hard times and their electricity was turned off. Our Lodge stepped in and paid the late and current bills courtesy of Charity Bingo. This family could not believe the act of kindness they received and wrote great emails to the Lodge expressing their gratitude. To us it was just something we do, but to this family it was awesome. So the next time you see Harvey and his crew of Bingo workers, thank them for their hard work and dedication to this Lodge and to the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

We have started a new program called the wELKome Wagon. This program is designed to organize the new members who would like to volunteer for a project in the Lodge either small or big. Also to have a pool for anyone who needs a volunteer? The Chairperson for this committee is the Lecturing Knight Jamie Camunas. Anyone looking to volunteer or anyone who needs a volunteer may contact her at this email, or call 949-235-3288. This program is a work in progress and it will take some time to finish all the spread sheets needed to organize all the information. Please have patience and please use the program. Until next month from the Station of Fidelity, see you at the Lodge.


Dave McLeod

Exalted Ruler

October 2016

What Elkdom is all about?
This Labor Day there was a little confusion on who was doing the Labor Day event, and it might have been canceled if not for the spirit of our members. With little time left to plan this event a dedicated group of members jumped in and volunteered to carry on our yearly Labor Day Barbeque. At home it is not a problem to grill a few burgers at the last minute for your guests, but at Mission Viejo, Saddleback Valley Lodge we seem to go all out for our fraternal brothers and sisters. You just can’t go down to the corner store and buy food for two hundred and fifty people, but with the help of the kitchen manager and the rest of the volunteers we were able to serve half pound burgers, brats, potato salad, macaroni salad, baked beans, grilled corn and, strawberry short cake. Also the Entertainment Committee came up with music and dancing by Roy Southerland who had an event earlier that day and was still able to show at our event and stay late at the request of the members. It was a great day with the back yard filled with people just having good time eating, visiting with each other, and listening to good music. Inside, the Lounge was also standing room only and Lounge manager Harvey Ohman did a great job with this huge crowd. I am not sure but I think we had about three hundred people pass through the Lodge on that Monday. I might be a little biased but we have an outstanding Lodge and our members are top notch. I would like to recognize these volunteers for their hard work and dedication. Kevin Lindley, Kevin Hughes, Laura Lumley, Vicky Long, Mike Long, Harvey Boelts, Steve Rusie, Stephanie Bongartz, Pat Ohman, Pam Mackay, Basia Bills, Mike Fenton, Gwen Williams, Michael Boelts, Barbara King, Lorene Tierney, Sandie McClure, and Andy Costello. I would also like to thank you, the members of our Lodge for your participation. Together we are what Elkdom is all about.

This month there is someone else we need to recognize. Our very own Loyal Knight Mike Klinger. He is responsible for our first place award nationwide for the Elks Lodge website. Webmaster Mike has spent endless hours on our web site, posters in the Lodge, Face book posting and, the colorful emails you receive from the Lodge. He has gone above and beyond the duties of his office. Next time you see Mike thank him for his dedication to this organization. Until next month, from the Station of the Exalted Ruler, see you at the Lodge.

September 2016
This month I would like to talk about communication. I have noticed the last few months many members stated they have ideas that might help the operation of the Lodge. Other members told me they would like to see some changes made how we conduct Friday dinners, karaoke and, the hours the Lodge is open. These are all good recommendations, but the truth is if you don’t attend Lodge meetings, House Committee meetings or Trustee meetings your voice will probably not be heard the way you would expect. This is the reason you need to attend the weekly Lodge meetings. All major decisions are made and voted on at this time. The Lodge has about eleven hundred members, but sometimes a few twenty five or thirty people are voting on these issues. The members that vote at meetings are the voice of the Lodge. The complaints I hear most of the time are from members I do not see at the Tuesday Lodge meeting. I know everyone cannot attend all the business meetings but there are other ways to communicate. We have a suggestion box that is located in the bar next to the popcorn machine under the Hot Spot board. To have your suggestion or recommendation heard you must write a short note and leave your name and contact information. The letters in the suggestion box will be read at the next House Committee meeting a decision will be made and you will be contacted with the result. Also if you have a well thought out plan you can make a motion on the floor at a Tuesday night meeting and, with a second on the motion there will be a discussion and then a vote. You can also write a letter to the Lodge Secretary and state that you would like him to read your letter on the floor of the Lodge. If all else fails you can contact me the Exalted Ruler and I will do my best to have your voice heard. All contact information is in your monthly newsletter inside the first page. Communication is the key to success. So far this year the input from the membership has been positive and most everyone I talk to is happy with the direction the Lodge is headed but, there is always room for improvement. Please get involved and help us continue to make our Lodge shine. We have many events on the calendar this year and could always use some fresh ideas. Until next month, from the station of the Exalted Ruler, keep communicating. 
David Mcleod
Exalted Ruler

August 2016

This month I am required to give the membership a report on the Grand Lodge Convention. The 152nd Elks Convention was held in Houston Texas on July 3rd thru July 6th. From Mission Viejo Saddleback Valley Lodge 2444 it was attended by Exalted Ruler David McLeod, First Lady Basia Bills, Leading Knight Mike Long, wife Vicky Long, Loyal Knight Mike Klinger, wife Judy Klinger, and 6,000 other Elks. Anticipating a large crowd we arrived early to register and set up the Hospitality Suite. The representation from the Orange Coast District was outstanding. All Officers meet in the morning at 6.30 am. After this meeting you are bussed over to the Convention Center. The opening session started with the presentation of all state flags, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Philippines, and Panama; the flags of the US armed forces; the POW-MIA flag; and the flag of our great country.

Next the introduction of all Grand Lodge Officers and committee members and moved on to the nomination of the new Officers and appointed committee members. The new GER. Michael F. Zellen and First Lady Donna from Saugus-Everett Massachusetts Lodge were introduced. Zellen has been an Elk since 1968 and was Association President in 1996. All Grand Lodge Committee Chairmen gave their yearly reports. Tuesday was Grand Lodge business; voting on the resolutions; reports of the Scholarship winners, Hoop shoot winner, Ritual Contest winner and the progression of all Grand Lodge programs. After the business sessions the Officers attend workshops that pertain to their position in the Lodge. At night, depending on the day you will attend the South West Dinner, the District Deputy Grand Exalted Dinner, and the Exalted Ruler Ball.

The weather in Houston in July is usually about eighty to ninety degrees and eighty percent humidity. The locals say you will get use to the weather but I am not so sure. The dress code is coat and tie for meetings and formal attire for dinner. This leaves little time for tom foolery, but we did sneak away one night for a pedal pub party. You may see it on face book or the Lodge Web Site. I think it is a little more pedal than party. At closing session on Wednesday all members and guest were invited. The Grand Lodge Memorial was performed and we paid our respect to our absent members. Our new District Deputy Grand Exalted Rulers were installed.

The results of voting on Grand Lodge Resolutions are as follows. Resolution numbers 2016-01-To rename the Grand Lodge Public Committee the Public Relations and Marketing Committee to better reflect practices, duties and responsibilities of the committee. 2016-02-To eliminate any responsibility for the Elks National Home given its recent sale. 2016-03-To allow a Lodge, by By-Law, to set the initiation fee at any amount it wants, or to eliminate it altogether. 2016-04- To allow a Lodge, by By-law, to set the initiation fee at any amount it wants or eliminate it altogether. 2016-05 To amend the Grand Lodge Constitution to clarify that Lodge trusts and other related entities are subject to applicable provisions of Section 16.030. 2016-06-To amend the Grand lodge Statutes to clarify that the lodge trusts and other related legal entities are subject to the applicable provisions of Sections 16.030 and 16.050. 2016-07- To provide seven members shall constitute a quorum in local Lodges with membership of 99 or less. 2016-08- To return an incorporated Lodge the choice of having a Board of Trustees or a Board of Directors as the managing body of the Lodge. 2016-09- To clarify that the number of elected Trustees of a Lodge shall be not less than three nor more than five. 2016-10- To clarify that the widow or widower of a deceased member, who subsequently remarries, is not eligible for an identification card. 2016-11- To increase the filing fee in Local Forum proceedings to more accurately reflect the coast to the Lodge. 2016-12- To confirm the obligation of a Lodge to disclose the existence of all related legal entities. These are the twelve resolutions and all passed by a landslide vote. These Resolutions did not make it to our Lodge in time for a membership vote.

This is my report. Until next month from the station of the Exalted Ruler, see you at the Lodge.
Dave McLeod, Exalted Ruler

July 2016

The summer is here and as you would expect our events are moving outdoors. Memorial Day was outstanding with four hundred people all gathering together for an afternoon of good food, great music and the comradery of the Elks. The standing room only crowd must be a record at our Lodge. Thank you all for supporting this event. I am also very proud of all the volunteers who came early, worked all day and stayed late to clean up, you people are awesome. The Lodge has acquired a commercial smoker-barbeque thanks to donations made by members. This will come in handy for all the outdoor summer functions. It can also be used for slow cooking or just grilling for large events. So check the dates in your bulletin for the next backyard party.

We have made it thru all the California Hawaii Elks Association State Vice President’s visitations. This year we had a good showing of members at our Lodge Visitation. It is nice to see more members involved in the District events. The Ladies dinner was held in our very own backyard and was the talk of the town. Our First Lady Basia Bills and her team of volunteers put on the most amazing dinner I have ever seen for the ladies in our District. The backyard was turned into an outdoor dining experience. I here they will be kicking it up to the next level for the District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler’s visitation with a winter wonder land in August. Attend the next visitation August 16th, and see for yourself.

We are preparing to leave for the National Convention and this year I am lucky to have my Leading Knight Mike Long and Loyal Knight Mike Klinger traveling with us. These Officers and their wives are very dedicated to this organization and will be traveling at their expense. The Chair Officers of this Lodge have represented us in top fashion and have attended every District function outside our Lodge. With this kind of representation we are setting a trend along with Garden Grove Lodge as the most dedicated Officers in the Orange Coast District. Well that’s all for now. From the station of the Exalted Ruler always remember, Full Throttle for Elkdom!


David McLeod

Exalted Ruler   

June 2016

Hello members and thank you all for the kind words and support. Many members have stated that the atmosphere in the Lodge headed in the right direction. I am very pleased to hear these happy words. The Officers, Committees, and volunteers are responsible for the positive mood in the Lodge. I also would like to thank everyone that came out to support us at the annual Ritual Contest. The Lodge Esquire Kevin Hughes placed third and Lecturing Knight Jamie Camunas missed third place by a four one hundreds of a point. This year we did not have a full team until late in the season and this made the practice time extremely short. Your Ritual Team did a great job and I was proud to compete with them.

This year’s Mother’s day Brunch was fantastic with over two hundred fifty people throughout the morning. Thank you Lodge Chaplin Greg Morgan, and your crew of Volunteers and all the members and family that made this Sunday event into a great day. The next Lodge events coming up are, Memorial Day BBQ, Father’s Day BBQ, and 4th of July Parade and backyard BBQ. Please come and join the fun.

The Officers have attended the California Hawaii Elks State Convention and some are preparing to head off to Houston Texas for the Elks National Convention. The Conventions are an important part of Elkdom. This is where we gather with all our Lodge brothers and sisters. We all exchange ideas and information on what works at our home Lodge. We attend all meetings and workshops that pertain to each Officers position and bring this information home to our Lodge. We will meet the new state President and Grand exalted Ruler, They will pass along their message for the membership and plans for the year. It sounds like a vacation but I assure it is not. The meetings and workshops keep each Officer busy for most of the day and will leave little time for play. That is all for now. Hope to see you at the Lodge.

Until next month, from the Station of the Exalted Ruler.


David McLeod, Exalted Ruler

May 2016

The Lodge Officers have made through their first two months and things are starting to settle into place. After attending the other lodge Installations and Inaugural Balls, Ritual Practice and the contest, the Ladies Installation of Officers, we can now focus on the business of our Lodge. The House Committee is working on the most successful events and change up the other events that don’t do so well. The Thursday night turn it up program has turned out to be a success thanks to Greg Morgan and his crew. The Lounge Manager Harvey Ohman is doing a great job keeping up with the business in the Lounge. This area of the Lodge has never been so clean and organized. Try to come and enjoy the music and comradery on Thursday and Saturday evenings.

Remember Mother’s Day is just around the corner on May 8th. Please bring your Mother, Grandmother and family to enjoy the great brunch the volunteers of this Lodge put together every year. If you came to Easter brunch you saw the huge spread to choose from. These events are not a success do to the Chairman who is responsible for the event, but as an entire team of volunteers all working together to achieve the same goal.

Thank you all that attended and supported the Exalted Rulers Ball and Officers March. The room looked beautiful and the food was excellent due to the hard work and dedication from the members of our Lodge. We had people attend from every Lodge in the Orange Coast district. We received compliments from everyone. So a huge thank you form Basia and myself to Harvey Boelts, Laura Boelts, Mike Boelts ,Dennis Boelts, Robbie Boelts Kevin Lindley, Ed Mackay for the GREAT food. Laura Lumley, Vicky Long, Jack Jacobs, Sandy Jacobs Judy Klinger for the setup of the Ballroom. Mike Klinger, Dennis Lumley for the photography. Charles T. Hart and Irene Romero for March line up. Norm Jones the Master of Ceremonies. Lorene Tierney for making tickets and seating arrangements. Stephanie Bongartz, Pat Ohman for their help. I hope I didn't forget anyone else. See it really does take a village to have a great event. There is one person who took the time to come set up the table center pieces and decorate the arch, even though she has not been feeling well and should been home resting, Betty Boelts. Basia and I love you very much and thank you for everything that you have done. You’re amazing!

Until next month, from the Station of the Exalted Ruler, see you at the Lodge.


David J McLeod

Exalted Ruler

April 2016

I would like to first and foremost thank you, the membership for your support and kind words of encouragement for my year as the Lodge Exalted Ruler for the 2016-2017 year. Let’s continue on the road to bring back our brotherly love, live the life and not just speak the words. We all make mistakes in our lives, the time has come to forgive and write those errors upon the sands and build in stone a successful and fun year.

For the next couple of months, our Officers will be working hard to prepare for the Ritual Contest which will be held at the Santa Ana Lodge on April 23rd and 24th. If you walk by one of your chair officers, take the time to say thank you to them for their hard work in memorizing their parts. SPECIAL thanks to Laura Lumley, who takes time out of her life to be our candidate for ritual contest. We can’t thank her enough for her hard work and dedication. Members, the Ritual Contest is not just for Officers, all Members should clear their calendars to come to Santa Ana Lodge and support the Officer Corps. These two days are filled with excitement. Starting with the competition on Saturday April 23rd and continuing Sunday with a fun-filled the tailgate party in the Santa Ana Lodge parking lot and the excitement of the Award Ceremony.

I would like to invite the membership to join us for the Inaugural Ball on April 16, 2016. No host bar will be from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. At 6:00 p.m. your new Officers will make their formal debut with the Grand March and a sumptuous dinner and dancing will follow. The menu for the evening will be a choice of filet mignon or roasted half chicken with grilled asparagus, carrots, mashed potato, Caesar salad, rolls, and desert. Ticket price will be $35.00 per person and tickets will be available from your Officer Corps, in the Lounge and from the Office. Cover Story will be the band for the evening. Please come join the fun.

On May 8th we are having our fabulous Mother’s Day Brunch, come and celebrate the day with your Mothers, your Wife, Grandmother or any one special in your life.

Mark your calendars for our Memorial BBQ on May 30th with good food and music held in our back yard. Hope to see you all there.

Check your calendars as we will have some new and different events (Hint – “Not Ready for Anytime Players) this year I hope you will enjoy.

Again, thank you all for your support, from the station of the Exalted Ruler see you at the Lodge.


David McLeod

Exalted Ruler

ER Camacho Alvarez April 2015-March 2016
March 2016

Hello Members:

This is my farewell article as an Officer, it has been truly an honor and privilege to have served as the Exalted Ruler of our Lodge and it saddens me that it is coming to an end. When the year started, my goal was simple - just mind the store and don't screw up! So it gives me great pleasure to be able to inform you that we have had a very successful year. We have complied with all our Grand Lodge mandated programs and activities, and our Lodge events and fundraisers have been great. Financially we have a solid foundation and we are in better shape than in previous years. We have exceeded Budget expectations with sales being up in the Lounge and in the Kitchen, and our Budget was submitted on time. We continue to be one of the most active and successful Lodges in our District, and have been widely recognized at the State and District level with awards and certificates for our ENF, Purple Pig, Public Relations, and Ritual Programs. We have remained one of the most prominent service organizations in the Saddleback Valley community and as a result, the number of members increased to over one thousand (1000) for the first time in the history of our Lodge.

The success of our Lodge is not determined by the kind of year that I individually may have experienced. It is rather a testament to the support of you our members and to our Officer Corps for being able to stay focused on the goals of the Lodge by carrying out their duties and responsibilities. I am very grateful for their contributions and for not allowing distractions to get in the way of conducting the business of the Lodge. For me personally, it was a great experience and I really enjoyed all the challenges that came my way. Contrary to what some members may think, there were no surprises. The position of Exalted Ruler was everything that I had expected it to be and was ready for. I can guarantee you that it was not boring at all, and at times it was extremely exciting, with drama and controversy contributing to it.

As I reflect over my years as an Officer, I have learned and experienced many things. I believe it has made me grow and become a better person. The Order of Elks has done much for me in that regard and I will forever be grateful for it. Years ago, when I first introduced myself to the membership and mentioned that I was a descendant of the Mayans, it was to make people aware of my heritage and my upbringings. Growing up as a child, I learned to persevere and survive in dire environments, living in conditions with no running water, gas or electricity. Nevertheless, these hardships made it easy for me to enjoy the better things in life as I grew older. Basically I learned that "you can't miss something that you don't have if you never had it to begin with." I can only tell you that our family was happy living life together. These early hardships prepared me to overcome life's challenges. As a business owner, managing and dealing with people helped me transition to the ER position. Not because I have a Masters Degree (I only wish!), but because surviving the hardships that life brought, made me feel like I had graduated from the University of LIFE.    

Being in the manufacturing business all my life, I am used to getting things made, starting something from scratch until it becomes a finished product; it must get done in order for us to get paid. There is no other option, and it therefore becomes a routine way of life. That is the reason why, when I was told that every Exalted Ruler needs a slogan for his year, it was easy for me to come up with "Elkdom JUST DO IT." I know it is simply stated, but it's just that I don't relate to people that talk about doing something over and over again, sometimes for months at a time, without getting anything accomplished at the end. It becomes like a Groundhog Day, which is symbolic of the saying "When all is said and done, MORE is SAID than done."

Maybe that is the underlying reason, that this past year, even though I had the option of delegating all events and functions, I was happy to personally contribute and be part of fundraising efforts as the Chairman of the events such as the Exalted Ruler Roast, St. Patrick's Party, Inaugural Ball, Country Western Night, NFL Program for 5 months, Rose Bowl Game and the Super Bowl Party. More importantly, the two primary goals of all functions are to raise funds for the Lodge charities and also for the member’s enjoyment. The events mentioned, after expenses, raised a combined net figure of over $10,000 for our Lodge charities. Needless to say, they also helped increase our lounge sales at those events. Over and above my Exalted Ruler responsibilities, it gave me great satisfaction chairing those events.

I can't say it enough. Thank for your support of my year, and thank you for your support of our events and programs; it is your support that really keeps our Lodge active and successful. Again, it has been an honor to serve you and the Lodge. Now, it is time to let the new Officers Corps continue our success, and for me to take a break and spend more time with family and in my business, I plan to continue supporting the Lodge as a PER (Past Exalted Ruler) and enjoy life as a POM (Plain Old Member), vacationing, traveling, and enjoying the pleasures that life has to offer.

Thank you for allowing me to serve you.

Fraternally Yours

Camacho Alvarez

Exalted Ruler

February 2016
Hello Members:

It gives me a great deal of pleasure to inform you that our Lodge, is a Plus-One Lodge. What it means is that, we have increased our membership from the previous year (and also the year before), and to emphasize that point, last month we initiated new members that boosted our membership total to over ONE THOUSAND (1000) members. This is a historic accomplishment for our Lodge, as we have never reached this number before. We are also the only Lodge in our ten Lodge District that is Plus-One. This 1000 membership figure is for active paying dues members, it does not include any delinquent or departed members. Congratulations to our Membership Chairman Harvey Ohman who has done a tremendous job recruiting new members over the last few years, and to all of you who have sponsored new members.


This month we have the annual Nominations and Elections of Lodge Officers for the coming year. These are very important positions in our Lodge that require commitment and dedication. As members we need to be informed of the rules in regards to the Nomination and Election of Officers, and one of the Exalted Ruler’s responsibilities is to uphold and enforce the Rules of the Order. Here are some other guidelines to consider when nominating an Officer:

  • According to our Annotated Statutes Section 3.080, "Only a member in good standing shall be eligible for Nomination to office in the Lodge of which he is a member” a member in good standing has all the rights and privileges of membership. Opinion 13 further clarifies, “A member who has been suspended from Club privileges, either through Section 16.040 or by Executive Order, is not a member in good standing."
  • According to our Lodge By Laws Article V, Elective Officers and Duties: "No Lodge Officer shall simultaneously occupy another Officer position in the Lodge, whether as a paid employee or otherwise, when the relationship between the Lodge office held and the other position occupied is such as to give rise to an apparent, potential or actual conflict of interest."

Candidates are not just volunteers, as they will represent the management of the Lodge; as such, their character, principles and values, are part of the qualifying factors for their consideration. This is especially important to keep in mind for this coming election. We must avoid electing an officer who will overstep his authority or cause a conflict of interest during judiciary proceedings or with legal and office matters. Those actions in the past have interfered and conflicted with the Exalted Ruler’s duties of conducting the business of the Lodge. As I have stated previously, there is nothing wrong with transparency and accountability.


It is also my duty to inform the membership of any issues and concerns that may affect the financial operation of the Lodge. As such, it saddens me to inform you that, on August 18, 2015, our Lodge was served with a Law Suit from a Legal Firm representing a former bartender whose employment was terminated on November of 2014. The case was filed in Superior Court of the State of California, the Legal Complaint names Mission Viejo Elks Lodge, BPOE in Chicago, myself individually, and last year's Bar Manager individually. The Complaint alleges wrongful termination among other causes of action. I was not involved in this employment termination, but my name was included since I am the current Exalted Ruler representing our Lodge. Our Insurance company has retained legal representation and is defending our Lodge in these legal proceedings as it runs its course through our Judicial system. Rest assured that our Legal representatives will defend our Lodge vigorously against these allegations. We will keep you informed of any developments as they occur, and let's hope for a speedy and successful resolution to this matter. Please know that in spite of the above mentioned state of affairs, your Lodge is operating and performing at full throttle, is financially sound, and is accomplishing our mission of service to the community and to our members. We are looking forward to another successful year in 2016.


On a lighter note: if you want to have some good humored laughs and spend an evening of comedy with Officers of our Lodge, come and join us for the second annual Exalted Ruler Roast in Feb (date TBA). There will be Hors D’oeuvrs available with a $10 donation fee. Last year it was a blast, so don't miss out on this adults only evening of amateur comedy. Another event to mark on your calendars is the St. Patrick's Day Party in our Lodge on March 12. This has always been a sold out event in the past, so get your tickets early; you will have a choice of Shepherd's Pie or Corned Beef Cabbage with live entertainment from the band "Frenzy" for your dancing pleasure. We will also have a best costume contest, and it promises to be one of the great events of the year, so don't be left out. Get your tickets early - available at the bar.


Fraternally Yours              


Camacho Alvarez 

Exalted Ruler

January 2016
Happy New Year Members!!!

We should be thankful to survive another year and I want to wish all of you a prosperous New Year, may 2016 bring you continuous health and happiness. As usual the New Year is a time for new resolutions that we hope stick around long enough to see the results (diet, healthy habits, etc.), before these wishes are forgotten. There is nothing wrong with setting personal goals, it is the journey to get there that is full of obstacles, but such is life, and we have the human spirit to persevere.

As I continue to count my blessings another year, it is still a privilege and an honor to be serving our Lodge as the Exalted Ruler. I have tried to stay true to myself and be the same level headed person that I have been all of these years; even though after much socializing, Conventions and Visitations, I cannot say the same thing about my waistline. I do feel very fortunate to have an excellent Officer Corps that are committed and dedicated to our Lodge Rituals, Fundraisers and Community programs. I'm very proud of them and you should be too. Their contributions and accomplishments this year, is what makes our Lodge successful in everything we do. One of those dedicated officers is our Lodge Esquire Mike Klinger. He has done a tremendous job, not only fulfilling his duties as an Officer, but he is also our Lodge photographer, District Deputy GER photographer, Lodge graphic ad designer, and Lodge website manager. Mike also coordinates with our Public Relations committee to ensure that our events are promoted and get exposure in the local papers as well as in the different mediums of Social Media on a weekly basis, sometimes the next day after an event happens in our Lodge. His outstanding work with our website has been rewarded and deservedly so. Due to his commitment and dedication our Lodge was awarded First Place Division 4 in the California Hawaii Elks Association (CHEA) Website Contest and in the State, this in turn enables our Lodge to qualify for the Website Contest at Grand Lodge (nationals). If you haven't checked our website lately, please do so, you will be impressed, it is very interactive and full of information.The next time that you see Mike Klinger at the Lodge, please let him know that we are proud of him and appreciate his excellent work, which has greatly benefited our Lodge, by creating awareness among our members and our Community. My intention is not to single out just one Officer, as we have some many others that also deserve recognition, I am only mentioning our Lodge Esquire as an example of the quality of Officers that communicate and work together, and that we have the good fortune to have in our Officers' Corps. Since we are mentioning awards, our Lodge has also been recognized for the best CHEA  bulletin in our District and  just recently at the Mid Term Convention, our Lodge placed Third in  CHEA for contributions to the Elks National Foundation and Second place in our District with  donations of $16,592.00. Our ENF Chairman Derek Randles has played a BIG part in this award. Again these accomplishments are something that we should be proud of, and that we should acknowledge and commend the Officers involved;

We will be electing new Officers next month and some of these Officers will be hard at work practicing the Ritual of Initiation for the Ritual Contest in Santa Ana at the end of April; hopefully, the membership will continue supporting them in their new positions as they move forward in the Officers Corps. Please remember that there is a lot of dedication and commitment involved in order for each and every one of these Officers to succeed during the year.

During the month of January we will continue viewing and enjoying the NFL Play Offs in our Lounge, be part of the fun, and catch the action in our Lodge,  as maybe your favorite team advances through the Championship games, and eventually all of this action, will lead us to the Super Bowl Party on Sunday February 7, 2015; this is a Pot Luck Party, so bring a dish to share and don't forget to enter the Super Bowl Raffle in which large prizes will be awarded after every quarter of the Big Game. Don't be left out, Enter the contest early; come and enjoy TV's most watched sporting event of the season, it is great entertainment that you can enjoy among friends  For Super Bowl 50, advertisers are paying 5 million dollars per 30 seconds for a commercial. This is the only time that people look forward to watching commercials; they are funny and worth watching as an added bonus. It is estimated that the Super Bowl is the second biggest eating day of the year in the US, just behind Thanksgiving. Americans consume more than 100 million pounds of chicken wings, 5000 tons of potato chips and nearly 4000 tons of tortilla chips during the Super Bowl; that doesn't include all the pizza, guacamole, desserts and other food that is consumed on this Super Bowl Sunday, so there you have it, there is no better reason to have a Super Bowl Pot Luck Party !!!

Until next month, see you at the Lodge.

Fraternally Yours

Camacho Alvarez

Exalted Ruler  

ER Message December 2015

Happy Holidays:

It is that time of the year, where the Holidays bring family and friends together celebrating Christmas, here in our Lodge we maintain this tradition by hosting events that our members can enjoy among fellow Elks, family and friends throughout the month. There are events in our December calendar that fit different interests, but with the same Holiday spirit in mind; we have the Snowflake Ball on Saturday December 5, this event is hosted by the Elks' Ladies on the first weekend; the weekend after that on Saturday December 12, we have the Special Kids Christmas Party and on Sunday December 13, the Elks' Kids Christmas Party. By the third weekend on Sunday December 20, we are having the Tom and Jerry Party, and on Wednesday the 24th, you can come and join us for a Christmas Eve Dinner. We will round up the month with the New Years' Eve Party, which is always an elegant affair, of dining, dancing, toasting and celebrating the New Year among friends and our extended family of Elks.

Our first event on New Years' Day, is the Rose Bowl Party, this is an event that has always been very popular among our members and Football fans alike; this year we are changing the format of this event, to be in line with the Super Bowl Party experience. The Rose Bowl is now a Pot Luck Party, so bring a dish to share, the Lodge will participate by providing a main entree to complement our members' offerings; we will have a Big Raffle for the game, with winners for each quarter, tickets for the Raffle are already on sale with yours truly or at the bar, so mark your calendars and don't be left out of this fun event, it is highly anticipated by our members and sports fans, due to the nature and unpredictability of College Football, which is always exciting and entertaining.

Over the years we have experimented with different ways to accommodate seating reservations with our loyal members that come to the Friday night dinners and at the same time implement some costs saving measures; our current situation in the kitchen is one of unpredictable attendance and meal selection on these evenings, which leads to guess work on the part of the kitchen staff in estimating how much food to cook, this process eventually creates a lot of food waste, which affects  increase of costs of goods and our bottom line in a negative way.

At this time we're looking for members' suggestions on improving our current system, maybe we can start a reservation system where the members attending Friday Night Dinner can call and make reservations with their meal selection in advance; this could eliminate the food guess work, improve serving time and unnecessary food waste. Obviously this is just an idea, maybe a crazy idea, the point being that we want to eliminate excessive food waste, and there maybe someone among our members that has a background in the restaurant business, who could help us address this issue with a different approach.

I sincerely wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, I hope that you are as grateful as I am of making it through another year and looking forward to another one; I am also very thankful to all of you for allowing me to continue representing  and serving our Lodge.

Until next year.......

Fraternally Yours

Camacho Alvarez

Exalted Ruler Message - November 2015

Hello Members:

As we approach the Holiday Season, starting this month with Thanksgiving Day and next month with the Christmas Holidays, it is a time to reflect on the goods deeds that we do, as the volunteer charitable organization that we are, this is the time of giving, when we are proud to be part of the BPOE (best people on earth) and this Holiday Season is the right time to get in the spirit and show it with kindness of words and deeds.

We are expected to have a very rainy season, with El Niño weather that should help in getting us out of our present drought; hopefully after this rainy season, we no longer have to skip showers, drive a dirty car for months or have brown grass, just to name a few bad habits that we have been requested to do in helping to conserve water. Anyway, this is also a reminder that our 45 year old Lodge needs TLC, with this type of rainy weather,  it force us to address some of the pending projects that I had mentioned in last month's bulletin, some of them because of the weather have an added urgency to it. Our Trustees are working diligently to complete some of these projects, as usual our improvement needs far outpace the availability of funds to complete them; that is why some of our Fundraising programs and raffles are earmarked for our building improvements, we want to thank you for supporting these programs and contributing to our worthy cause; let's remember that in this Season of giving, Charity starts at home. In this bulletin we have included a membership report, it is good news, as it seems that by the end of the Elk year, we will be attaining the elusive goal of 1000 members in our Lodge; these are actual  numbers with active members in our roster (it does not include delinquent members), they are all due paying members. Needless to say, I am very proud to be part of another year of plus 1 membership in our Lodge as we continue to be the top Lodge in our District in percentage of membership increase; it is rewarding for me to be part of the Ritual of Initiation for all these new members and in hopefully accomplishing a membership milestone in the History of our Lodge, which can be reached by having new members at the rate that we are Initiating them monthly.

As the Exalted Ruler it is my duty to inform the membership of any issues and concerns that may affect the Financial operation of the Lodge; as such, it saddens me to inform you that, on August 18, 2015, our Lodge was served with a Law Suit from a Law Firm representing a former bartender whose employment was terminated on November 2014. The case was filed in Superior Court of the State of California, the Legal Complaint names Mission Viejo Elks Lodge, BPOE in Chicago, myself individually and last year's Bar Manager individually also; the Complaint alleges wrongful termination among other causes of action. Even though I was not personally involved in this termination of employment; I am named individually in this Law Suit, as the current Exalted Ruler of our Lodge when this case was filed. Our Insurance company, has retained legal representation and are defending our Lodge from this Legal Complaint, rest assured that they will vigorously defend our Lodge in these allegations; in the coming months I will keep you informed of these legal proceedings as they run its course through our Judicial system, let's hope for a speedy and successful resolution to this matter.

Our calendar of events during this time of the year is full of options for you to choose; myself along with some of our Officers will start this month attending the CHEA Mid Term Convention in Riverside on the first weekend of this month, you can come visits us there, we will have a Hospitality Suite for guests members, or you can attend our Thanksgiving Dinner later on the month; or you can save dates for the December calendar of events, as we will have events every single weekend, starting with the Snowflake Ball, Christmas Dinners, Kids Christmas Parties, Tom and Jerry Party and finishing the month with the New Years' Eve Party, so many choices, so little Holiday time, so come and joins us, get in the Holiday spirit and enjoy good times among friends and family.

Until next month, hope to see you at the Lodge.....

Fraternally Yours

Camacho Alvarez

Exalted Ruler

EXALTED RULER Message /  October 2015
Hello Members:

As we approach the half way point of our Elk year, it still continues to be an honor to represent our Lodge in my current position; as such, it is my duty to inform the members that have entrusted us with conducting the business of the Lodge, in all the facets of our organization, whether it be good or bad news.

For the most part my messages are positive, which is a reflection of the success of our Lodge, as we continue to improve our operation; this year among other things, we have been able to accomplish certain goals like: being one of the top Ritual Teams in our District, submitting our Budget on time and staying on budget thereafter, we continue to have successful Lodge events and mandated Lodge Activities from Grand Lodge, our Financial Reports have improved from  last year's, which reflects that everything in our kitchen  and bar sales are up.

Our House Committee has contributed to our success in Friday Night dinners by having the weekly special fundraiser, this has added to large attendances on these nights while the game was being played; this Fundraising game will help with some much needed improvements in our Lodge, we will inform you in the future, specifically how this funds were spent in our building.

The House Committee is also responsible for our BBQ outdoor Summer events ( Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day) these gatherings are very popular with our members, and the Labor Day event in particular, where we had an attendance of approximately 325 people, it was a very successful event on a very hot day!!! Lodge Officers and their spouses volunteered for this event: Mike and Vicky Long, Mike and Judy Klinger, Dave and Sheryl Tucker, Kevin Hughes, Bill Bongartz, Mary Ann Alvarez, Sandy Bergan, Laura Lumley, Linda and Mike Marquis; while it is  great to have committed and dedicated Officers that support our Lodge at every function and lead by example, we cannot forget that we are a volunteer organization and we need volunteers to stage these events, the Officers should volunteer at these events as a last resort, not as the first option, as they already volunteer a lot of their time in fulfilling their duties and responsibilities as Officers, basically we need more VOLUNTEERS to step up and contribute to the success of our Lodge,  just as they pledged when they became members.

With the NFL Program in progress, we are also looking for VOLUNTEERS TO HELP us with the NFL raffle games during the days that the games are being played, again we are a volunteer organization and our success depends in the involvement and participation of the members to continue being the successful Lodge that we are; we cannot have the same members doing the volunteering time and time again, year after year, we cannot afford to burned them out.

During the NFL season we will be offering Pancake Breakfasts on the Sundays where we don't offer regular Sunday Breakfast, and on Sunday afternoons a variety of food at the Lounge.

These NFL  Game Raffles help us pay for Direct TV's Sunday Ticket Package, as this is not a budgeted item, and any surplus after that, it will be used for Lodge improvements.

Our Building is over 40 years old and is starting to show, there are a lot of things that need to be replaced or improved, like: the wrought iron fence, flooring (carpet and tile), new sound system, new outside building paint job, A/C units, etc., that is just to name a few projects; these projects are not part of our yearly building maintenance budget, as most of them are major improvements.

We need Fundraising events specifically for these improvements, and that is why, we have to come up with different ideas and events like our Friday Special Fundraiser and NFL game raffles to help raise the funds for these building improvements.

We also have on  the drawing board, an LED sign to replace the old sign that has been there for as long as the building; this will greatly improve our visibility in the community, as it will make the city residents aware of our events and what we are all about, by announcing Bingo, our Lodge activities and Community related events, it would help generate interest and will be a good recruitment tool, as an added bonus, we can advertise Lodge rentals that can help us improve the rental program and our bottom line.

On another note, I want thank all the members that attended Country Western Night, it was a very successful Fundraising event, thank you for continuing to support our Lodge Activities.

My deep, gratitude and appreciation to all the volunteers that made this event happen.

Football Season is here along with The Baseball Play Offs, so come and watch your favorite team play in our Lodge, NFL games are being played on Mondays, Thursdays and Sunday's, watch the games and have a good time with friends and who knows, you may get lucky playing in one of our raffles.

I think that I have given you enough food for thought this month, see you at the Lodge.

Fraternally Yours

Camacho Alvarez
Exalted Ruler 

EXALTED RULER Message / September 2015
Hello Members:

Hope that all is well with all of you, as we head into September and the Fall season; for Football sport fans it is also the beginning of another NFL season and the end of Major League Baseball season, where hopefully our local teams, be the Angels or the Dodgers could enjoy a deep run into the play offs, who knows, they may reward the patience of some die hard loyal fans with a World Series Championship.

But enough of Fantasy Baseball, the real excitement comes from watching the NFL games,  as usual, our Lodge will have the NFL Sunday Ticket Package, where you can watch your favorite NFL team in any of our many Flat Screen TVs that we have in our Lounge, Game Room or in the enclosed Smoking Room, we will have these games every Monday, Thursday and Sunday; bring friends or family to watch and enjoy the games, have some cocktails and eat from many  different menu offerings depending on the day of the week, see our enclosed calendar for available food during these days.

The first NFL regular season game will be on Thursday September 10 at 5:30 PM, it promises to be a good one, as the defending NFL Champions New England Patriots take on the Pittsburg Steelers, get pumped up for the game and let's hope that Tom Brady's footballs are too;  so plan on coming down and have some Brats or Gourmet Burgers while watching the game.

While our Lodge provides events and entertainment for our members and guests, we are also  aware that we are running a business; as such, we have implemented rest and break periods for our paid employees ( bartenders), they are informing the members of a last call for drinks, before they take their lunch break, so if you see a sign that says " back in 10 minutes" or "back in 30 minutes" from your friendly bartender; please remember that we are complying with  Labor Laws that are necessary in the work environment. Your understanding, support and patience are greatly appreciated on this mandated policy.

As I travel to Conventions and functions at other Lodges, I am often asked by my fellow Exalted Rulers and their wives, " are you enjoying your year?", I hadn't really given it much thought at first, because the year is going by so fast, and with my business, family and my extended family of Elks brothers and sisters, there really isn't much time to stop and reflect.

However, as my wife and I are enjoying some time off in Puerto Vallarta, relaxing in this beautiful resort town, walking the beach and the cobblestone streets; the answer to the question, is a resounding, Yes!! I'm still very thankful and grateful for the opportunity to be serving and representing our Lodge in this capacity, chances are that like in High School, this is a wonderful period in my life that I will not have the opportunity to relive again, so why not enjoy it and live in the moment? We need to enjoy life to the fullest, you never know what the future holds and there may not be a tomorrow; granted, as I mentioned in previous articles, this organization is a business, there are challenges that come along with it, but there are also a lot of rewards in knowing that we are serving our members and our community, there is a lot of camaderie and support from our dedicated and committed Officer Corps and volunteer members, they are the ones that make our Lodge go.

Last month we had  California Hawaii Elks Association State President Don Schultz visiting our Lodge, and as I gave him a tour of our facilities, he was very interested in the many things that we do that make our Lodge an active and successful Lodge, he was very impressed with the number of events that we have on a weekly basis, this makes for a vibrant and growing membership, which he mentioned, he also commended us for the membership growth that we have sustained in the last few years; presently over the last 2 years, we are number 1 in our District percentage wise in membership growth, meaning that even though we are not the biggest Lodge, we have the largest percentage of new members joining our Lodge.

Being a part of the Initiation process in welcoming our new members is one of the many rewards that I enjoy, and that is what I'm talking about.

Until next month, see you at the Lodge.

Fraternally Yours

Camacho Alvarez

Exalted Ruler

EXALTED RULER Message / August 2015

Hello Members:

I would like to extend my congratulations to our new District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler for the Orange Coast District, our very own Harvey Boelts, and best wishes for a successful year as he leads our District in the coming year; Harvey for many years has been a very dedicated and committed member of our Lodge and our District, and as such he has earned this honor and has been rewarded accordingly for all his hard work.

He was Installed as DDGER at the Elks National Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana on July 9, 2015; I was there to celebrate the occasion, there is separate Exalted Ruler's report on the Convention proceedings, at this time, I would like to share with you a part of our history and tradition, which we were reminded of at the Convention.

The 11 O'clock Toast, which Elks make at meetings and social functions, traces its roots to the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes. It is believed that the affiliation several of the Elks' founding members had with the Buffaloes may have influenced the Toast in that they also practiced an 11 o'clock toast in remembrance of the battle of Hastings in October 1066.

Following his victory, William of Normandy imported a set of rules to keep control of a seething Norman-Saxon population always on the edge of revolution.

Among those rules was a curfew law requiring all watch fires, bonfires( basically all lights controlled by private citizens that could serve as signals) to be extinguished at 11 each night.

From strategically placed watchtowers that also served as early fire-alarm posts, the call would go out to douse or shutter all lights and bank all fires. This also served to discourage secret and treasonous meetings, as chimney sparks stood out  against the black sky.

A person away from his home and out in the darkened streets, risked great peril from evil doers or patrolling militia. The hour of 11 quickly acquired a somber meaning, and in the centuries that followed, became the synonym throughout Europe for someone on his deathbed or about to go to battle: i.e. " his family gathered about his bed at the 11th hour" or " the troops in the trenches hastily wrote notes to their families as the 11th  hour approached when they must charge over the top". Thus, when the 15 Jolly Corks ( of whom seven were not native born Americans ) voted on February 16, 1868, to start a more formal an official organization, they were already aware of an almost universally prevalent sentiment about the mystic and haunting aura connected with the nightly hour of 11, and it took no great eloquence by Charlie Vivian, founder of the BPOE, to establish a ritual toast similar to that of the Buffaloes at the next to last hour each day. The great variety of 11 O'clock Toasts, including the Jolly Corks Toast, makes it clear that there was no fixed or official version until 1906-10. Given our theatrical origins, it was almost mandatory that the pre-1900 Elks would be expected to compose a beautiful toast extemporaneously at will. Regardless of the form, however, the custom is as old as the Elks.

Don' t forget to get your tickets for Country Western Night on  Saturday August 22; the Country band "Borderline" will entertains us after a delicious dinner of BBQ Tri-Tip Beef or Chicken with all the fixin's, we will also have a Big Raffle for $ 500, so mark your calendars for this fun event and get your tickets early with any Officer or at the Bar, see you there.

Fraternally Yours

Camacho Alvarez

Exalted Ruler