Community backs fundraiser to help Elks rebuild lodge
The Oktoberfest fundraiser, organized by members of the Mountain Home Elks Lodge, was a resounding success.
The event was designed to raise funds for repairing the lodge due to the recent fire that left the building gutted.
The Oktoberfest theme featured beer and bratwurst served by the members of the lodge and popular German music playing throughout the event.
Outhouse 5 provided live country music for the supporters.
The Idaho National Guard assisted in building an A-frame tent for the event. "I hope this fundraiser will rebuild this lodge," said ING Sgt. Darrin Henecke. "It's a huge community focal point. I'm sure with events like this it will be rebuilt better than it ever was before."
Henecke recognized the generous donation the lodge made for the Cheer Basket Project, a group of community members working together to provide Christmas dinners to local families.
The Elk members and supporters all shared in the same sentiment for the community landmark.
"My husband is an active Elk and I know how much the lodge means to him. I have empathy for these people, and for their terrible loss," said Darla Adams, wife of Darwin Adams (Esquire to District Deputy).
"As members, we have a very close camaraderie, it's a good lodge here," said Darwin Adams.
"It's a place for social events, weddings, and other events, and we felt we should come down and support this cause," said local resident Lewis Clags along with his wife Laura and best friend Shelly Rose.
"One of the best organizations in America, they take care of young people and veterans," said Bill Manning, current secretary of the Weezer Lodge.
"The Elks mean a lot to everyone in this community, and for these people to be here and support this cause, it's great," said Dick Stoddard, District Deputy.
"I think this event is important for the lodge and I hope that the funds received today help rebuild the lodge as soon as possible, a lot of people miss this lodge," said resident DJ Johnson.
"I was just devastated over the loss, because this has been a foundation for this community," said Barbara Lambert.
"I hope the building gets repaired quick, but I'm enjoying the event, it's a nice hometown atmosphere, a quite beautiful day for this," said resident Jimmy Gould.
"I think the event is terrific, and we should definitely have more of them," said Don Bauer, the Elk Lodge's Past-Exalted Ruler.
A memorable moment of the event was the honoring of Nancy Fincher, wife of Lynn Fincher (current Exalted Ruler), for her recent graduation from college, "It was a wonderful, much appreciated surprise," said Fincher.
In proving their steadfast spirit as Elks, Bill Thurbur (loyal knight) and Jim McCluer (lodge secretary) said it best.
"We want to let everybody know, that we're still here, we're not going anywhere, and we're still here to help," said Thurbur.
"We aren't going anywhere. We will rebuild. We've got a little work ahead of us, but we will get it done," said McCluer.
The Elks Lodge has set up two 28x70 double-wide trailers located in the back of the building. The trailers will be used as temporary housing for upcoming meetings and as lodge offices.
A donation jug to assist with the Elk's Lodge reconstruction efforts has been set up at the Mountain Home News. Insurance will not cover all the costs associated with rebuilding the lodge, which burned down last month. The Mountain Home News is encouraging donations and other signs of support for the lodge, which has played such a vital role in the community over the years.