by Mary Morgan, ENVSC Director
After many months of supporting veterans from afar, Elks HQ staff recently made an enthusiastic return to in-person service.
In the past few weeks, there have been multiple opportunities for us to get out and serve veterans directly. Inspired by the Elks’ commitment to service, we jumped in and helped at 3 separate events.
For Programs Associate Nadezh Mulholland, who started with the Elks in August of 2020, this was one of her first opportunities for hands-on experience as part of the Elks community.
She took a couple days out of her schedule to help with the National Veterans Wheelchair Games earlier this summer, which the Elks sponsor every year.
“This was my first time volunteering at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games and I had a great time,” Mulholland says.
“I helped out at the registration table, which is the first stop for veterans arriving at the games. It was so much fun to welcome athletes and coaches from all over the country, and to feel the excitement in the room!”
Following her lead, 8 Elks staff headed to the Lincoln Park Archery Range, not far from the Elks National Memorial, to volunteer at the Valor Games Midwest. We spent the day learning about archery and acting as personal scorekeepers for the competing veterans.
“Volunteering at the Valor Games was incredibly meaningful and I am so thankful for the opportunity to participate,” shares CIP Program Coordinator Meaghan Morris.
“Adaptive sporting events provide transformative benefits, inspiring both strength and hope in our nation’s disabled veterans. Being able to witness first-hand the social, mental, and physical impact the Valor Games had on disabled veterans and wounded service members was such an enlightening experience!”
Finally, delayed a bit but not forgotten, the Chicago Summer Stand Down took place in the waning days of August. This two-day event was different than in years past, with veterans visiting during specific time slots to increase safety and offer veterans more time to connect with the available resources.
Colleen Conrad and Brianna Thompson from the ENF Scholarships department lent a hand on the first day of the event.
“Each time I volunteer at a Chicago Stand Down, I am always struck by the camaraderie and passion for service that exists between all of the VA staff and volunteers. This year was absolutely no different. It felt great to spend the day serving veterans in our community who have given us so much,” writes Conrad, the ENF Scholarships Manager.
Thanks to Elks everywhere for the continued inspiration and commitment to serving veterans and communities.