Auburn Elks captures state honors

Auburn Elks Lodge No. 1808 recently received several honors at the Washington State Elks Association Convention in Pasco.

“I felt like I was wearing a path in the carpet going up to get awards,” said Cheryl Richards, who was honored as the WSEA Central District Officer of the Year for her work as Leading Knight.

Auburn won all three state top honors for its district.

In addition to Richards’ award, Rita Hanley was named WSEA Central District Elk of the Year, and Phyllis Cavanaugh was named WSEA Central District Citizen of the Year. All were nominated by the Auburn Lodge.

Auburn also placed first in giving most per capita to the Washington Elks Therapy Program, a state charity. The program funds licensed therapists throughout the state who work with handicapped children in their homes free of charge.

The Overall Excellence Award for lodges, the F.O. Garland Award, went to the Tri-Cities Lodge, but Auburn ranked second.

Ken Valentine, Auburn past exalted ruler and Elks past state president, also received recognition as Auburn veterans chairman. Auburn Lodge was tops in its membership category for service to veterans. He is also the state veterans chairman.

“I wish that 2009-10 Exalted Ruler Tom Platt had been there to pick up all these awards for his year. I only hope that this year will be just as successful. I am proud to be the leader of such an outstanding organization,” said Richards.

Richards organized community events including the hoop shoot, children’s community Christmas party and the Easter egg hunt. She also works as office support staff.

Hanley, who is a retired Auburn High teacher, was active as scholarship chairman, contacting schools and encouraging students to apply.

She also helped organize the golf tournament, worked on the hoop shoot committee and organized several events for singles who brought in new members.

The Citizen of the Year Award honors someone in the greater community served by the Lodge who has made significant volunteer efforts. Cavanaugh, who is a retired teacher from Kent with 31 years of service, was the union representative until she retired.

She is an active volunteer for many organizations including serving as the past president at the Kent reading council (Washington Organization for Reading Development membership chair, vice president west side treasurer for conferences), and IRA (International Reading Associate), delegate to national and international conferences. These organizations sponsor many projects and activities for literacy development world- wide.

Cavanaugh is an active member of the Maple Valley Library Guild, which supports the library with book sales and other activities, served on the Maple Valley Advisory Board for library for eight years, and was Vice Chairman for six years.

Cavanaugh is a member of St. Barbara Catholic Church in Black Diamond. Church activities include: Christian education for many years, fund raising activities to support food banks, PIC (pediatric in term center for drug addicted babies), rides for Dr. Appointments for seniors, refreshments for workers (habitat for humanity).

As an active member of the Eastern Star for 41 years, she served as treasurer for 31 years. She did fundraising activities to support community activities, such as PIC, cancer research, veteran’s organizations, and Salvation Army food bank.

She is not a member of the Auburn Lodge but often helps her sister, Lodge Chaplain Janice Goodman, with decorating for holidays and special events.

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