By John Calvert
Oak Ridge Lodge Number 1684 of the Benevolent and Protective Order for Elks, or BPOE, is celebrating its 70th birthday this week. The lodge was formally chartered on July 11, 1946.
Many people have probably passed by the local lodge located at the corner of Emory Valley Road and Briarcliff Avenue many times and wondered: Who are the Elks and what do they do?
Oak Ridge Lodge 1684 is one of the nearly 2,000 BPOE lodges located across the country that have a combined membership of nearly 800,000 members. The Elks organization was founded in New York City on February 16, 1868, under the name “Jolly Corks” by 15 actors, entertainers, and others associated with the theater. In ensuing years, membership expanded to other professions.
The Order spends more than $80,000,000 every year for benevolent, educational, and patriotic community-minded programs. These may be in such fields as benefiting physically handicapped children, sponsoring Elks National Foundation scholarships, scouting, athletic teams, veterans’ works, a national “Hoop Shoot” free-throw contest involving more than three million children, physical and occupational therapy programs, and patriotic programs. For many years the Elks were second only to the federal government in the dollar amount of college scholarships awarded annually. [Read more…]