Community News

Elks parade paying tribute to local Veterans

by: Andy Costello
Posted: July 15, 2019

Elks Lecturing Knight event organizer Kim Maestri


MISSION VIEJO...Lake Forest Annual 4th of July Parade and the Mission Viejo, Saddleback Valley Elks were once again in force honoring their commitment to patriotism. Fifty members walking, biking, and riding, participated in this year's event handing out American Flags, and patriotic trinkets to the people lining the parade route. Veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq along with Viet Nam, Korea & WW II rode in vintage cars. The crowd favorite "Big John 2" fire engine again led the way with Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of Elks sponsored Troops carrying the Elks banners and American flag. Elks Lecturing Knight Kimberly Maestri organized the Elks contingent and thanked the many Elks volunteers who participated. "We all had lots of fun doing it and it was wonderful to hear people in the crowd shouting out to our Veterans 'Thank you for your service' as we went along." Long time member Army Veteran Norm Jones said, "I really got a kick out of seeing the kids who rode bikes, scooters, and skateboards. That just shows the current direction the Elks are taking of welcoming new younger and women with young families."

Tucker Morgan son of Elks Leading Knight Greg Morgan & Sherie Scott hitch a ride on Big John


Absent from this year's parade was Elks Lodge Exalted Ruler (ER) Jamie Camunas and some of the Lodge Officers who were attending the Elks National Convention in St Louis. ER Camunas texted from the convention with the good news that the Elks enjoyed an increase nationally of membership and the California, Hawaii Association led the nation with 1,285 new members. The Mission Viejo, Saddleback Valley Elks Lodge is among the leaders in membership in Southern California with increasing numbers of local men and women joining the Lodge every month. 

Tucker looks on with Veteran Norm Jones in convertible


Following the parade Elks members and their families returned to the Lodge for a back yard barbeque. The Lodge patio sparkled with red white and blue colors and patriotic trappings inside and out, keeping up the spirit of the 4th of July celebration. The sweet fragrance of lodge-smoked meats, and the music of DJ Doug Houston filled the air as members and their guests dined and danced throughout the afternoon. 

Elks put finishing touches on Big John


The Mission Viejo, Saddleback Valley Elks #2444 in one of the eight Lodges making up the Orange Coast District, and proud to be an integral arm of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United States of America, the nation's Premiere Social, Charitable and Patriotic organization. For information call the local Lodge at 949 830-3557. Photos:MVSVElks

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