On Feb. 16, 1867, Charles Vivian and a handful of friends established the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks in New York City.
The 150th anniversary of that date has been proclaimed Elks Day in the City of Delta and in cities and towns across the nation.
At the Feb. 6 city council meeting, Delta Mayor Ed Sisson signed a proclamation recognizing Delta Elks Lodge's contributions to the community.
The Elks are dedicated to charity, justice and patriotism. Across the nation, they invest millions of hours each year to build stronger communities, assist homeless veterans and ensure kids steer away from drugs. To that end, Elks have disbursed, over the course of the order's history, more than $3.6 billion in cash, goods and services to the nation's veterans, the disadvantaged and handicapped, and patriotic and civic programs.
In Delta, the Elks serve meals at the senior center, administer the Boy Scouts "Flags for Delta" program, conduct drug awareness activities, sponsor programs for veterans and those currently serving our country, serve meals for Special Olympics, provide Christmas food baskets to the needy, sponsor scholarships for graduating seniors and donate generously to charitable organizations and programs in Delta County.
The proclamation continues, "The Order of Elks always puts the needs of others before themselves. From building strong communities to donating time and money to disasters, the Elks answer the call when asked to serve. They are one of the first organizations on the ground during a crisis, providing needed supplies and relief to those affected.
"Each day they impart lessons of hard work, dedication to community, faith in God and support to those who simply may need a hand."
A round of applause followed the signing of the proclamation.