Greetings fellow Elks, distinguished guests and a special hello to all my friends, supporters and fellow members of Houlton #835 as well as our friends from Dennysville, who made the trip here today. As you are probably aware, I am Mike Hannigan. I’d like to start by introducing my family. Many of you have met my youngest daughter Heather. My second son Seth is here with his fiancé Abby Glidden, my oldest son Gabe could not make it. And most of you know my wife Denise. Myself, Denise, Heather, Seth and Gabe are all members of Houlton Lodge #835.
Now, let me address what I believe is the elephant in the room.  I’d love to stand here and tell you it seems like yesterday when I started this journey, but compared to most who have stood at this podium, I did.  I am also aware that this opportunity arose from the misfortune of a brother elk, and for them I am truly sorry.  But, to paraphrase the lecturing knight, we cannot retrace our steps nor call back the days that are gone, but I will make the most of the opportunity I have been afforded.  I think it will be helpful to you to understand my goals by being aware of one of my personal philosophies; Lust for the Future and Treasure the Past.

Before I get into my hopes for the year, I am first going to introduce myself to you, this is likely the only time you’ve heard about me from me and will likely be the last time you’ll listen to me tell you about me.  I only do it now so that you know where I come from and so that you can help me get us to where I want us to be. I am Michael Hannigan, Ph.D. the sixth member of the Houlton Lodge to serve as a state president, and the second doctor.  The first was Dr. Ebbett in 1950-51, he was a physician, what most of my students would call a “real doctor.”  I recently learned he delivered my mother back in 1945.
I am a scientist by training and a teacher by vocation.  As a teacher, I follow in a long and storied line of Maine Elk leaders.  Perhaps foremost among these is the Honorable Amos McCallum, whom I did not know well but learned many of his ways from his beloved followers. In addition to Amos, there have been many others, the gentleman who just installed me as well as his late wife, Michael and Freddie Powers are among these.  They have acted as mentors to myself and many others in the state association and our Lodge.  Now, could I ask that all educators here, please raise your hand?
No, I am sorry, I don’t think you understood what I said.  I said, all educators, not all “teachers.”  All of you should have your hand raised. No matter what your profession is, you by choice or chance are an educator to those around you.  Whenever you perform a good deed honestly and promptly you educate others about your character and our mission.  However you act, it educates someone about you and what you represent.  Remember this when you go back to your Lodge and continue to strive to be a great educator, you new ERs especially, for to paraphrase Ann Lieberman “Great educators empathize with people, respect them, and believe that each one has something special that can be built upon.”

Enough of me, let me introduce to you my appointees. Robert Cleary, PER, HLM, and former secretary extraordinaire from Houlton Lodge #835 will be my Tiler. I am particularly proud of this as he has been a great mentor to me and I served as his esquire when he was E.R. in Houlton. Representing the youthful side of the crew is Sergeant at Arms Jeff Bosse PER, from Old Town Lodge #1287.  Jeff was a great E.R. when I was a district deputy and he’s been involved in the state association for awhile.  He was also recently named as an olympic coach.  In the role of chaplain representing the other end of the generational spectrum is Michael Powers, PSP, PDDGER, from Houlton Lodge #835.  He has been a friend and guide since I began in Elkdom, and honestly even well before, he was my junior high teacher.  This mix of the past and future exemplifies my underlying theme, I believe, like Jimmy Buffet that to succeed and enjoy life we must lust for the future, but treasure the past.
Ok, let me explain the symbolism behind my pin design.  I think it nicely reflects the undercurrent of my philosophy: lust for the future but treasure the past.  The State shape is obvious but the colors, tree and the north star are nods to the State flag that flew at the turn of the 20th century.  In the tree trunk is 835 which is where my roots in elkdom are still found.  The motto this year alludes to the ritual of initiation, and I hope to encourage a renewal of ritual in our Lodges.
Now for more of my vision of the year ahead.  A vision I hope you will embrace and help me fulfill. I’ll start with my hope for communicating information to our membership.  I have appointed highly qualified and enthusiastic committee chairs.  They are anxious to provide as many of our members as possible a great deal of useful and important information.  I’d like to share some things that I believe are keys to communicating an idea.  The first is to be able to clearly define the idea yourself. Decide what it its you are going to try and communicate in as succinct a way as you can.  Write it down and use your notes.  Secondly, as a research scientist, educator, and teacher I have learned that the trick to getting a point across is “brevity leads to clarity”.  I encourage all of our committees to pick one important topic for each quarterly meeting to communicate and report pertinent information about.  Use the opportunity to educate the association members present. While there are many important aspects of each committee I encourage our chairmen to use the numerous and wonderful other venues of communications available such as the web site to keep membership informed throughout the year.
As I have stated I was trained as a biomedical researcher and worked numerous years researching in the field of immunology, the science of how we protect ourselves from diseases, and in particular a cell called the neutrophil.  Other than Bob, and possibly Claris, most of you have likely not heard of the lowly neutrophil.  However, this cell type is involved in many things including infectious disease, autoimmunity and cancers; including childhood cancers.  In that career as a scientist I spent many days, nights, weekends, and holidays tied to a lab bench and a word processor, maybe because of that I have a special place in my heart for those who continue to do biomedical research, as well as those who use the tools developed at the bench top to treat patients.  And I know we all feel for those patients, families, and caregivers including the bedside staff that faces this devastating disease daily. I therefore am going to particularly focus on MCCP fundraising.  MCCP, has programs that directly touches all the individuals I just alluded too.  My goal for MCCP will be $350,000.00.

Now Grand Lodge programing.  I whole heartedly stand by all of our missions especially ENF and ritual.  All Lodges should to participate in as many of the Grand Lodge programs as possible, including hoop shoot, soccer shoot, drug awareness, and americanism.
We all know that it is the duty of Elks to support our country and communities, lets also take advantage of the privileges Elkdom bestows on us with ENF grants.  I really want every Maine Lodge to put in for all grants available to them. To make this happen, all Lodges need to meet their per-capita, it is a small investment with a huge return. My goal for the State ENF will be $115,000.
I also want to challenge all Lodges to be represented at the 11th hour toast and flag presentation contests.  Again we should always look to the future and treasure the past.  These contests do just that and hopefully rekindle the love of ritual, but reduce the challenges to Lodges.
In short, I hope to lead with a invigorated freshness, having not carried the burdens of leadership as long as many of my predecessors.  I promise sincerely I will speak to you when I have something to say, not just to say something.  And I know, I have a lot of work to do, and you my colleagues with leadership titles, we have a lot of work to do.  So lets get on with it, I am confident you will be both great working partners and my constructive critics. I will need no less.
I think all of these lofty goals are summed up in my motto for the upcoming year. “Helping ME in thought word and deed; Taking care of MCCP, Vets, Communities and each other.” Notice ME represents Maine, as I hope to represent the Maine Elks Association.  Thought word and deed have always been our higher and nobler charity, for undoubtedly as the year progresses the kindliest feelings we have today will be strained, and our resolve will be tested.  So may we each be aided in our parts and together catch the inspiration of a high resolve for We Are THE ELKS.

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