Thanks All Around For Elks and Eagle Scout Projects

Members of the Jackson Elks Lodge 2744 assemble Thanksgiving packages for needy families in Jackson Township. (Photo courtesy Jackson Elks Lodge)

JACKSON – Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for the blessings of one’s life. Members of the Jackson Elks Lodge 2744 not only received a thank you in a unique way but provided a service that 10 families will be thankful for.

A recent weekend marked a busy time for the Lodge’s membership with a flag raising ceremony held on Saturday (Nov. 18) and a special project on Sunday (Nov 19) when members were busy assembling Thanksgiving baskets filled with food items for needy families.

Patrick Walther joins members of his family during the Nov. 18 ceremony at the Jackson Elks Lodge. (Photo courtesy Jackson Elks Lodge)

“Okay, they weren’t actually baskets. They were really boxes but they served the same purpose,” said Jackson Elks Lodge member Joe LaMonica. He added that the boxes were for some needy families in Jackson so they can enjoy a Thanksgiving meal this year.

“This is something we are proud to do every year to help those in our community who may be experiencing some difficult times during this time of year,” LaMonica said.

“This year we were able to help 10 families enjoy Thanksgiving Day,” LaMonica added.

A day prior, the group’s membership held a flag dedication ceremony for a new flag pole and sitting/rest area that was designed and constructed by Boy Scout Patrick Walther, as his Eagle Scout Project.

Patrick is a member of Boy Scout Troop 34 and decided to make The Jackson Elks the beneficiaries of his project due to their work with Special Needs Children, of which his sister, Sarah, is one.

His mother, Maureen Cassidy Walther, said of her son’s project “when we moved to Jackson nearly 12 years ago some of the first folks we met were the Jackson Elks. They offered something we thought would never be possible….a week at sleep away summer camp for Sarah.”

Walther added that “the Elks have a very special camp, Elks Camp Moore. Sarah’s spent many summers there and again is planning to go in August. For us parents, it was a gift too, a week of respite and time to recharge our batteries.

“Some years my husband and I did trips alone and other years we had Patrick with us. Fast forward to last fall. Patrick was trying to plan his Eagle Scout project and we only asked that it be something personal. Patrick immediately thought of the Elks and began the process with Elks member Frank W. Scotto,” Walther said.

Jackson Elks Exalted Ruler Tom Szeszko presents Patrick Walther a Certificate of Recognition for his Eagle Project which can be seen behind them. (Photo courtesy Jackson Elks Lodge)

A week prior, Patrick’s project was finally finished. “We, as a family, are forever grateful to the Elks who have given us a gift no one else could: Elks Camp Moore,” Walther said.

“We, as Elks, are glad we could help the Walther’s, and are extremely grateful to Patrick for the wonderful gift he bestowed upon us. He is an amazing young man and we wish him the best in his future,” LaMonica said.

LaMonica added that, despite an active group of members involved in a variety of programs helping special needs children and veterans, the local lodge is looking for additional members.

“We are busy with so many projects we could still use some additional members to help us out with the projects of our varied committees,” LaMonica said. Anyone interested in joining the Jackson Elks can do so by calling 732-363-4101, emailing [email protected] or visiting online at elks.org/lodges/contactus.cfm?LodgeNumber=2744.