The Elks Lodge No. 1632 in Cut Bank had cause to celebrate on Wednesday evening, Sept. 23, as the lodge welcomed 11 new members into its ranks. The group, which became official members after the initiation, are a welcome sight for fourth-term Exalted Ruler Shawn Campbell.
“We are really excited to welcome this group and for them to join us here at the Elks,” Campbell said. “This is a good-sized group coming in and we are always looking for opportunities to grow so this is a very exciting time for us.”
The initiation fell just a few months following the 80th anniversary of the Cut Bank BPOE No. 1632 Elks Lodge. The local lodge first opened its doors in July of 1940. The current enrollment of the Cut Bank chapter of the Elks Lodge sits at 169 members, including the 11 newly-initiated members. However, when oil was flowing in and around the town, the Elks Lodge membership swelled to nearly 700 members at one time, recalled Campbell.
Both the membership and the population of Cut Bank have diminished in the past 50 years. Despite that, the Cut Bank Elks Lodge still maintains a strong sense of family and takes pride in the services it brings to not only the local community but around the country.
“Elks is very much about veterans and the youth, whether that be with food, scholarships or things,” Campbell said. “We take pride in that here in town but also across the country as an organization.”
The Cut Bank Elks Lodge supports one of Montana’s longest chartered Boy Scouts of America troops in Troop 559, which meets on the upper level of the Elks Lodge building. The chapter also helps to provide rent and utilities aid, along with other services, for veterans.
One of the national campaigns the Order of the Elks organizes is the National Hoop Shoot. This free-throw contest is open for youth from the ages of 8-13, and is designed to develop character and grit in children.
On a more state-based focus though, the Elks project for Montana is rural fire departments.
“These rural fire departments are generally full of volunteers so it’s definitely an important part of what we support as well,” Campbell said. “Whether we are working here in Cut Bank or on the national level, we take a lot of pride in the things that we do.”
The Cut Bank chapter of the Elks Lodge already has a considerable addition to look forward to in October, with eight new individuals expected to join the group’s already growing ranks. Nationally, the Elks boast over 100,000 members.
“We are thrilled about having these new members and are ready to get them involved,” Campbell said. “I can’t wait to see what the future brings for them and for those that may join in the future.”
In addition to Campbell, officers of the Cut Bank Elks include Dave Bell, Leading Knight; Linda Luther, Loyal Knight; Ken Luther, Lecturing Night; Judd Milender, Secretary; and Scott Gage, Treasurer. The organization’s five trustees are Linsey Milender, Valerie Vermulm, Brandon Kavanagh, Dave Henderson and Tom Seifert. Linsey also serves as the Elks Club manager. Campbell and Tom Siefert are the “cyber assistant” and manage the website and social media.
The Elks dining room and bar, located in the lower level of the Elks Lodge, is open to the public every Friday night for dinner. Steaks, seafood, burgers and an evening special are served from 5-8 p.m. The Elks Lodge is located at 18 South Central in Cut Bank.