The Grand Exalted Ruler of the Elks Club of Canada, Derek Barkley, stopped in Langley Tuesday evening to meet with members and emphasize his theme for the volunteer organization – thanks for caring.
“It means that we care about each other, we care about our communities, and we care about what the Elks do. Without this caring we have no reason to join, partake in meetings or fundraisers, or help others,” Barkley said.
Barkley set off on a national tour last fall, which has taken him across Ontario and the prairies. After a holiday break, the tour resumed, bringing him to B.C. where he has engaged with dozens of Elks clubs to give people thanks for their support and words of encouragement.
Since 1912, the Elks of Canada have given many volunteers hours to promote and serve community needs with the help of 250 Lodges and 11,000 members.
Barkley, a member of North Bay Lodge in Northern Ontario, was elected ruler for the 2019/2020 term.
He’ll give up the position in the summertime at the National Elks Convention – as per tradition – but said he has been grateful for the chance to travel and see first hand what members of the Elks have been doing.
“The Elks in High Prairie, Alberta raised money for an MRI machine at the hospital. While I was visiting there, I met a fellow whose life was saved because he didn’t have to be driven to a larger centre to use their machine,” Barkley recounted. “If that doesn’t move you and tell you what the Elks are about, then you must be made of stone.”
While at the Langley Elks Lodge #259, Barkley mingled with members from across the Fraser Valley, cut the first slice of a special cake brought for the occasion, and was gifted a drum from the local 10,000 Villages store.
He was joined by special guests City councillor Rudy Storeboom, Mayor Val van den Broek, and Township Deputy Mayor Steve Ferguson, who all gave thanks to the organization for their volunteerism and help in Langley.
Barkley told the Langley Advance Times that Langley is well known in the Elks community, and he felt it gratifying that elected officials came to show their support, as that is not often the case.
“I’ve never had the opportunity to really drive the province like we’re doing now, and everything I’ve read about beautiful British Columbia is true,” he said.
The Langley Elks Club was founded in 1935, and have organized fundraisers including the Bright Futures Walkathon, lent support to the Langley Good Times Cruise-In and Aldergrove Days, and raised funds for children with disabilities such as hearing loss.
While the organization, like many in modern times, is struggling to spark the interest of younger members – Barkley said the inherent good in all people will help the Elks prevail.
“All the people here are here because they care. The reason they’re Elks is because it’s positive for society,” the grand ruler explained. “What people don’t often know is that meetings equate to about eight hours a year and you don’t have to be committed to flipping pancakes for a full day – you can come and go and make it work for your schedule.”
The Langley Elks Club meets at 7:30 p.m. on every second and fourth Tuesday of the month at Unit #6 – 4044 – 200B St. in Brookswood.
They are accepting new members.
People can find more information at www.elksofcanada.ca.
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