Elks move forward with plans for Veterans Banquet

The Borger, Texas Elks Lodge plans the upcoming Veterans Banquet
Tabitha Fleming
Staff Writer

The Hutchinson County Veteran's Appreciation Banquet Committee met last night, Thursday at the Borger Elks lodge to continue the planning of this annual event. This year marks the 10th annual Veteran's appreciation banquet and the group has come a long ways. “Remember,” said Bob Tiffany, a Navy veteran who is also a member of the Elks, “our first year, we had a total budget of about $400.” That reminder was echoed by Ralph Humphrey, “We started that first year, with only $400, but plenty of people reached into their own pockets when we needed something.”
A group of traditionally competing organizations coming together for an event like this is rare. Not only are the branches of the United States Military competitive by nature, those who have previously enlisted know that the various branches have very different ways of doing things. This is a meeting of people passionate about one thing, showing appreciation for those who have served our country to protect the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. Additionally the Elks lodge, the VFW, the VVA, and the American Legion don't do a lot of joint programs, they, like the various military branches are organized differently and have different rules and procedures in place. That's what makes this gathering so special, people from all walks of life come together to share ideas and work as a team to really celebrate veterans with dignity and honor.
Everyone that attends the meeting is part of the committee, “if you're here and you're sitting in a chair you have a vote tonight.” said Clayton Norton, chairman. The meeting opened with the usual business of reviewing the previous meetings minutes. Afer approving the minutes, Norton led the group though reports as quicklly as possible while still giving do consideration to each item. Although Joe Childress was unable to make it, he did send word that he would be trying to do his best to make it to the next meeting.
A treasurer's report brought the positive news that a checking account had been opened at Pantex in conjunction with the already in existence savings account. A great round of applause was brought at the annoucement that the new account would include a mobile account so that any financial matter could be readily reviewed during meetings.
The opening ceremony is one of the highlights of the event and Bob Tiffany has planned two practices prior to the banquet on November 7th. The practices will be held following the regular committee meetings on October 22nd and 29th
Good Lord willing,” said Tiffany, Joe Childress, a WWII veteran and Joe Martinez a Korean Conflict veteran will be bringing the Elks Honor Guard in attendance, [to start the opening ceremonies]” This is truly just the beginning of the grandeur that will mark this banquet in honor of veterans. The banquet and activites will start at 3:30p.m. With a social hour for people to catch up and make new friends.
The opening ceremony witll start at 4:30 p.m. During the ceremonial portion of the banquet small towkens of appreciation will be given to veterans in attendance. Afterward, Colonel James Fleming of the USAF, one of only 79 living Medal of Honor recipients will be the keynote speaker.
In new developments centerpieces were chosen for the banquet and a Facebook page for the banquet will soon be in place. A design for the commemorative medallions will soon be availble for final approval as well.
The public is still invited and encouraged to attend planning meetings and contribute skills and knowledge to honor those who have served in the armed forces. The next meeting will be held October 1, at 7 p.m. at the Borger Elks Lodge. For more information contact Clayton Norton, committee chair at 806-231-7499.