by Joni Astrup
The Fraternal Order of Eagles No. 3264 in Elk River is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
The club was organized on July 24, 1965, in a ceremony attended by 300 people. Fifty-five men initially became members, followed by about 30 more a month later, according to the Sherburne County Star News.
Five decades later, the club has about 120 members. Michelle Kliber is the Elk River Eagles’ current president and its first female president.
Kliber said the organization’s mission has remained unchanged through the years.
“Our main thing is people helping people,” she said.
The Fraternal Order of Eagles was founded in Seattle, Washington, in 1898. Its mission statement reads, “The Fraternal Order of Eagles, an international nonprofit organization, unites fraternally in the spirit of liberty, truth, justice and equality, to make human life more desirable by lessening its ills, and by promoting peace, prosperity, gladness and hope.”
The Elk River club sells pulltabs and has sold brats at Cub Foods. Proceeds are donated to a variety of community causes, including Boy and Girl Scouts, sports teams, the Elk River graduation party, Guardian Angels’ music therapy program, the Land of Lakes Choirboys and Special Olympics. The club even helped purchase the first police dog, Barron, for the Elk River Police Department.
The Eagles Club is located at 824 Railroad Drive. It is open from 1 p.m. to close Monday through Wednesday and from 11 a.m. to close Thursday through Sunday.
Kliber said the building has been undergoing some improvements. The outside is being painted and a new sign has been ordered. Other recent upgrades include painting the inside, installing new flooring and getting some new TVs.
Membership is $40 for the first year and $30 for each year after that. The first year of membership is free for police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and honorably discharged military.
Among the benefits of membership are a picnic in August with free food and beverages, a Christmas party with a free meal and a kids Christmas party that includes a free meal, games and a visit from Santa, Kliber said.
The Eagles has a meat raffle every Friday at 5 p.m. and Texas Hold ‘Em on Wednesdays. In addition to a bar, the club serves pizza, sandwiches and a variety of cheeses.
In 2016, the Elk River Eagles will be hosting the Eagles’ golf tournament for Minnesota.
The Elk River Eagles’ first president was Harley Rohlf. At least four charter members are still part of the local Eagles. They are Bill Konop, Brian Brindamour, Wayne Eull and George Deschenes.
Current officers, in addition to Kliber, are Geraldine Jedlicki, secretary, and Yvette Jacobson, treasurer. Trustees are Karl Schiebel, Bruce Williams, Randy Knitter and Tim Harvey.
Kliber has been a member of the Eagles for 13 years.
“It’s nice to be involved and help out the community,” she said.
As president, she hopes to get more people involved in volunteering for the community and to increase awareness of the organization.
If you go:
Eagles 50th anniversary celebration
What: Fraternal Order of Eagles No. 3264 in Elk River 50th anniversary celebration
Where: Elk River Eagles, 824 Railroad Drive, Elk River
When: Friday and Saturday, July 24 and 25
Activities: Meat raffle, 5-7 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday; Live music by Terry Dubois from 7-11 Friday; live music by T.J. Kramm and the Last Chance Band from 5-9 p.m. Saturday. There also will be outdoor events on Saturday as well as food, games, prizes and drink specials.
Other: Anniversary T-shirts and hats are for sale at the club. There will be a membership drive both days of the celebration.
About the Fraternal Order of Eagles
•The Fraternal Order of Eagles (F.O.E.) was founded in 1898 in Seattle, Washington.
•It is an international organization headquartered in Grove City, Ohio.
•The Eagles pushed for the founding of Mother’s Day.
•The organization has provided support for medical centers across the United States and Canada to build and provide research on medical conditions.
•Every year the Eagles organization raises millions of dollars to combat heart disease and cancer, help children with disabilities, and uplift the aged and infirm.
•The lodges are known as “aeries.” The aerie instituting number is appointed based on the order in which an aerie is instituted; at current date the Grand Aerie is instituting aeries in the 4500 range. Elk River is Aerie No. 3264. Aerie No. 1 is located in Seattle, Washington.
•Seven U.S. presidents have held membership in the Eagles, including Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, John Kennedy and Theodore Roosevelt. Other famous members include former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, former Vice President Walter Mondale, entertainer Bob Hope, golfer Arnold Palmer and NASCAR driver Tony Stewart.