White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker, White Rock Elks Lodge 431 president Leah McGovern and Elks Canada Grand Exalted Ruler Derek Barkley during the latter’s visit to the lodge on Feb. 22. (Contributed photo)

Elks Canada head pays visit to White Rock lodge

Grand Exalted Ruler learns first-hand about members’ commitment to community

A recent visit by Elks of Canada 2019-20 Grand Exalted Ruler Derek Barkley to White Rock Elks Lodge 431 reinforced connections to lodges across the country – and provided an opportunity to discuss members’ proud contributions to the community – president Leah McGovern said.

Barkley and his wife Marilyn visited the lodge on Feb. 22 and welcomed the opportunity to talk to members including Al Pradine – one of only two lifetime members of the lodge and a national lifetime member as well.

Also present was White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker, who presented Barkley with a gift and spoke about the close connection the lodge – founded in 1958, a year after the incorporation of the city – has had with the city for over 60 years.

“Derek is on a tour of lodges across Canada called ‘Thanks For Caring’,” McGovern said. “He visited Vernon and lodges on the Island and in Cloverdale and Langley, so we said ‘please come and visit us, too.’”

McGovern noted that it was the first visit by a national representative in two years to the lodge, one of the largest in B.C., with a strong record of helping children and young people – including sponsorship of an annual essay-writing contest and the White Rock Youth Ambassador program.

“I and my husband joined in 2017, because the lodge had sponsored our daughter Emily as a youth ambassador, and she became a White Rock Princess, and the youngest-ever member of the lodge, at age 16,” McGovern, now serving her second and final year as president, said.

In 2019 the White Rock Elks donated close to $17,000 to local charities, including Peace Arch Hospice, the Senior’s Come Share Society, the BC Hearing Resource Centre, the White Rock South Surrey Stroke Recovery Club and Alexandra House.

“Everything we do is volunteer, including managing and cleaning our hall and staffing the upstairs lounge with volunteer bartenders,” McGovern said. “That enables us to donate most of the proceeds from our events back to the community.”

She said the lodge – which which is available as a venue for many local groups, and also hosts many regular entertainment evenings and events – is always seeking younger members to volunteer “and perhaps help with special events.”

For more information about events and becoming a member, about the White Rock Elks, visit the lodge at 1469 George St. or the website, whiterockelks.ca

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