On November 7, 2023, the Grand Exalted Ruler (National President) Randy Shook and First Lady Wanda arrived in Maine for a two-day visit to the State of Maine. The couple are traveling the country to meet with Elk Members and visit Lodges, and to promote the good works of the Order. Maine was the 22nd State they have visited since July, so they are nearly half-way through their travels.
The two were picked up at the Rochester, NH Lodge by State President Sandi Anderson and First Man David, along with Special Deputy Andy Constantine, Grand Trustee Wayne Cotterly, and Past District Deputy Kathleen Cotterly. Also traveling with the Grand Exalted Ruler were Maine’s Past Grand Exalted Ruler Sponsor Michael Zellen and his wife Donna and Past Grand Esteemed Leading Knight Anthony Piccolo and his wife Maureen all of Massachusetts. The two were driven to the Gardiner Elk Lodge #1293 for a luncheon in their honor that afternoon. That afternoon, the couple, along with several Maine Elk dignitaries visited Waterville member Peter Reny’s home in Winslow to view several classic and antique cars in his collection. In the evening, the two dined at the Waterville Elks Lodge #905, where they had they had the opportunity to eat Lobster in the shell for the first time.
The next day, the GER and First Lady visited the First Amendment Museum in Augusta, which is located next to the Blaine House and near the capitol building. The museum focuses on the five freedoms guaranteed by the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, including Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, Freedom of Religion, Freedom to Assemble, and the Freedom to Petition the Government. Following the visit to the museum, the two were shown the Veterans Cemetery in Augusta before arriving at the Augusta Elk Lodge #964 for a luncheon, and an opportunity to meet members. That evening, the Grand Exalted Ruler and First Lady were the guests of honor at a banquet held at the Waterville Elks Lodge. Following dinner, the two had the opportunity to address the members in attendance. First Lady Wanda, who is a Past Exalted Ruler of her Lodge in Lawrenceville, TN as well as a Past Secretary of the Lodge explained her pin design. GER Randy Shook spoke about the importance of the Lodges and the membership’ involvement in promoting the Order, and the good works that we do. He focused on the Elks National Foundation’s Community Investment Grants, along with getting the word out to the communities in which the Lodge resides to show that “We are THE ELKS.”
The two were then presented with gifts from many of the Lodges in the State of Maine, thanking them for their service to Elkdom. Following this, the two signed membership cards for members, and collected donations for the Elks National Foundation and the Elks Disaster Relief Fund. On Thursday, November 9, 2023, the two headed to the State of New Jersey for their next State visitation.