Dear Seattle Elks,
Thank you for the opportunity to serve the lodge as Exalted Ruler for the last two years, it has truly been an honor and my pleasure. I am grateful for your support and trust in me. I am also thankful for your continued support of our beloved Seattle 92. In my time leading the lodge, I felt my role was to carry the spirit of the lodge, researching to connect our lodge’s past to our future. Now with two fires in our 132+ year history, we are no doubt survivors. The time without our lodge home has sometimes felt long, but I know soon it will feel short as this time period glides into our past. For me, I know these two years as E.R. have in many respects gone by very quickly.
Heading into this role in April 2019, our lodge building was set alight by an arson fire the previous November, so I anticipated it might be necessary for me to be E.R. for two years. A project of this magnitude takes time, from working with the insurance company, picking back up our relationship with the architects from the failed lodge expansion project from earlier in 2018 to lock in an appropriate rebuilding of our lodge, to securing qualified owner representation, to gaining the renovation project proposal approvals from Grand Lodge and Membership, to signing with the winning general contractor, to the permitting process with the city, and launching into the construction phase. I knew the lodge would likely be closed for more than a year, and keeping our leadership team consistent could be helpful during this time period. My thanks to Secretary Jessica Howes, PER, for handling so much paperwork and mailings associated with our renovation project!
As an unforeseen challenge, the COVID-19 virus caused us to move meetings to video conferencing this year and social interactions became close to nonexistent. To help bridge that gap, my thanks go out to Trustee Corbett Cummins, PER, for his creativity, ingenuity and research to host the Virtual Happy Hours we enjoyed with our lodge and others!
With the challenges our lodge has recently faced, there have also been silver linings. First, our officer team has been remarkably consistent throughout this time period, and I am thankful for their service. Though not being able to socialize as we had in the past to blow off steam has been trying, I am grateful for each officer’s continued dedication to our lodge. I would like to especially thank Aaron Correll, who quickly stepped up to become Trustee not long after being initiated as a member in Shoreline where Lodge #1800 was hosting us following the fire.
When the lodge expansion project failed before earlier in 2018 due to cost, we knew we would still need to renovate the existing worn building at some point in short order. There may never be a good time to close a lodge, but the fire forced us get on with the renovation now as the building was already closed. Since there was damage from the fire, we were able to come up with some creative solutions to save costs within our existing footprint this time around, with Trustee Jim Howes, PER, leading that charge. My thanks to him for his continued service to our lodge.
With the fire damage remediation and subsequent project renovation demolition required, we discovered the worn building was actually riddled with mold and rot. Thankfully, these issues were found now so our updated facilities will be strong from the ground up and without need for ongoing costly repairs.
Of course no one wants a global pandemic on their watch, but with our investment strategy change in course in 2019, our financial outlook was also placed on solid footing to weather the market fluctuations beginning in March 2020. My thanks to Chairman of the Board Roy Lee III, for not only stepping up to be Trustee after many years as a member in our time of need, but also for his leadership in proposing a sound and profitable direction with our investment strategy. Not being financially dependent on our lodge being open during the pandemic has been a blessing for the health of our lodge longevity and for our Membership.
During all of this, we have still been able to positively impact our community. For our lodge, we have received a record number of grants to support our U.S. Veterans, youth and community members in need. We have also been able to support our state major project, Washington Elks Therapy Program for Children, Seattle Children's, and also partner with various local charitable organizations with funding and in-person volunteer opportunities. We continue to explore ways to volunteer in this new world in which we find ourselves.
Passing the Torch
Now has come the time for a new chapter in our lodge’s rich history; it is time to pass the torch to a new Exalted Ruler and look forward to a brighter future. Nathan Belo, ER-Elect, will begin his term on April 1, the start of our Lodge Year. I am excited for him and will be there to help support him in my new role on the Board of Directors as PER and 5-Year Trustee. I wish Nathan a successful tenure, and the best of luck as he leads our lodge!
In the fall, we will reopen our updated lodge facilities and are excited to welcome everyone back to experience Seattle 92's new home! Hopefully the coronavirus will have subsided; I recommend everyone ready themselves by taking the vaccine when it is available to you to keep yourself and others safe! For those who are not current on their dues, please take the opportunity now to update your status before it is too late so you can also enjoy the lodge again with us!
Sincerely and fraternally,
Leslie G. Timmons, PER
Exalted Ruler, 2020-2021
Seattle Elks Lodge No. 92