Nelson’s Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie No. 22 played host to the first annual Community Appreciation Event on Dec. 7.
Live music was provided by Kyle Hollings and Ryan Hagen to entertain during the event and as attendees dined on a home cooked meal provided and prepared by the Aerie.
Master of ceremonies Miriam MacFarlane, the current Ladies Auxiliary president, introduced Eric MacFarlane, a 51-year member and long serving secretary and bingo organizer who was able to speak to the history of the Eagles and the charity bingo.
The fraternity began in Nelson in 1898 as Aerie No. 22. In 1909 the Aerie took out a $25,000 mortgage and built the hall where the Eagles have resided ever since and where the bingo has always happened. Since 1940 the Eagles have held bingos nearly every Thursday to raise funds for many charities and worthwhile causes. In the close to 80 years running, an estimated over $1 million in proceeds have been raised and distributed to numerous local and provincial causes.
Eric also spoke of longtime member Cameron Mah, who was the previous bingo chairman for quite a few years until he passed away this spring. He was well known as a kind man who was generous with both his time in the Eagles for many years as well as other places and ways in our community. In memory of his legacy, a scholarship is being created in co-ordination with Selkirk College for the cooking program with a portion of the bingo proceeds.
Eric introduced Tamara Morgan, the current bingo chair, who was excited to inform all in attendance that this year the F.O.E No. 22 raised $23,000 in proceeds from the Thursday night charity bingo, all thanks to the women and men who attend weekly and loyal volunteers.
This total was allocated to a range of local community groups, most attending the inaugural celebratory dinner. Each recipient was introduced and were presented with cheques from Morgan and Steve Kennedy, the Aerie vice president.
This inaugural dinner was well received and will now be an annual event. Non-members are welcome and encouraged to attend the future galas.
If you would like more information on how to get involved, become a member, volunteer or join bingo, please get in touch or come out and play any Thursday at 6 p.m. Call 250-352-5644 or come by 641 Baker St.