Oglesby Elks Lodge #2360 Chartered January 15 1967
In 1966, a local Oglesby businessman and former President of the Illinois Elks Association, led the cause to start a new Elks Lodge. George Shields, an active member of the LaSalle Lodge and former Exalted Ruler, who worked his way up to the top State position, was passionate about the City of Oglesby and worked tirelessly to assemble support for a new lodge. He personally garnered the support from other businessmen and community leaders who felt as strongly as he did.
There were a number of Oglesby residents who were long time members of the LaSalle Lodge that agreed with him. At least one hundred demit members from other Lodges and new members were needed to fulfill the Elks Association requirements. The recruiting efforts and enthusiasm easily surpassed the minimum and in October of 1966, a petition to form the Oglesby Lodge was sent to the National Association for consideration. This petition was signed by George Shields, William Delvallee, Jr., Michael Szott et al (83 others). After review, the Elks agreed and the Oglesby Lodge Charter was issued.
On January 15th 1967 the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, (BPOE), Oglesby Lodge No. 2360, the 100th Lodge in the State of Illinois was chartered. The initiation was held in the Washington School Gym. The Lodge was dedicated to Richard Moyle Sr. who was affiliated with Marquette Cement Co. and rose to be an International Leader in the Cement Industry.
From the program I quote,” His many acts of charity and philanthropy is (sic) known only by those he helped. This Class of new Elks, who pledge to carry on the ideas of Mr. Moyle, are honored to be known as the Richard Moyle Senior Elks Class.”
Our Centennial Lodge accepted 36 demits from other Lodges and initiated 185 new members for total of 221 charter members. Of that Charter Class, there are 23 who are still members, serving the community for over 50 years as Elks.
Larry Snyder was our first Exalted Ruler. Other Officers included: Harold Mindock, Leading Knight; William Delvallee, Loyal Knight; John Rodighiero, Lecturing Knight; Would the Past Exalted Rulers who are present, please stand. Thank you for your time and leadership.
The Lodge’s first clubrooms were in the Labor Temple, which was the former St. Constantine’s Catholic Church. Thar building served us well for almost 15 years.
Membership rose over the years to a high of over 400 members. As the Lodge outgrew the first Lodge building, an active group led by Ron Sharpe and Henry Moore took a leadership role to consider a new building.
Former Lehigh Cement Company property was obtained from the city and this building rose, but not without true dedication to the cause. Ron and Henry personally signed notes to finance the building and along with other members they contributed their talents to the actual construction. For their work we are eternally grateful. Henry is here this evening. Thank you Henry and the others involved for your foresight and courage to move forward with the building project. That is why we are here today enjoying this wonderful facility.
However, attrition has taken its toll and 50 years later our Lodge like so many others across the country has fewer members, just over 200.
- The quarterly Children’s Care Corporation orthopedic clinics, helping children at no cost.
- Financial assistance is available to the family of any child who needs help from our Childrens Care Fund.
- Our hall is made available for benefits, fund raisers, and for community events.
- The Annual Easter Bunny appearance and Easter Egg hunt.
- The Annual Christmas party for needy children conducted with local Marines
- Through the Elks National Foundation Grants we have
- Help fund the Students in Need Initiative at the public school,
- Purchased computers for the Library and local Catholic School,
- Purchased hams and turkeys for the IV Food Pantry,
- Helped with medicine and food for the local homeless shelter PADS,
- Purchased outdoor furniture for the LaSalle Veterans Home.
- Help fund a new emergency exit door at the Library
- Sponsored an 8th Grade Ball for 35 years, an evening of dress-up, drug-free fun for Oglesby and other small school district teens going into high school.
- Sponsored a “Say No to Drugs Fun Day” for over 35 years, led by member Rudy Gandolfi.
- Assist with the popular successful BB Gun Club
- Served breakfast to 400 during the Central States Baseball Tournament
- Took a leadership role in the Elks Annual Hoop Shoot, thanks to Joel Gerdovich, NW District Chair.
- Visit the Veterans home twice a month to play cards with and walk the Vets. Thanks to Bill Johnson, our veterans Chair.
- Provide Veterans Day and Memorial Day lunches for any veteran.
- Sponsor our vets at the Fish Fries
- Cooperate with the City during Oglesby Fun Fest and other community functions.
For these and our other contributions to our community, we can be proud.
As we start on the next 50 years, let us rededicate ourselves to making a difference, and as we pass the torch, in the paraphrased words of JFK. “Ask not want your community can do for you, but what you can do for your community”. We are Elks and Elks Care and Elks Share.