On Aug. 14 the Tahoe/Douglas Elks Lodge gave its Medal of Valor to three local families. Each family had a son killed in action in Iraq. The families and soldiers honored were Sgt. Timothy Smith's mother Patty Smith of South Lake Tahoe, brother Tommy Smith and sister Jackie Smith; Staff Sgt. Sean Diamond's mother Sally Wiley of Gardnerville and her husband Mike Wiley; Pfc. Phillip Brandon William's father Brad Williams of Minden and his wife Tracy Williams.
The memorial ceremony and dinner was held at the Elks Lodge in Gardnerville and Exalted Ruler Tom Zogorski presided. Guest speakers included Lt. Col. Mike Hanifan, U.S. Army Nevada National Guard, and Col Carleton Bingham, USMC retired. The invocation and benediction was performed by Capt. Mike Taylor, chaplain, USMC High Altitude Warfare Training Center. Elks organist Paul Conrad played and sang "Softly as I leave You." Vocalist Irene Van Pelt sang "You'll Never Walk Alone." Sgt. Major John Hefner, U.S. Army retired, was Patty Smith's casualty officer and attended with her family.
Elks historian and past Exalted Ruler Rodney Snead gave a history of Elks veterans service which included providing the first-ever field hospitals in WWI in France, the first VA hospital in Boston after WWI and the first monetary help to returning soldiers now known as the GI Bill. Supporting the veterans and troops continues to this day and is one of the Elks major charities. The Elks have a saying: "So long as there are veterans, the benevolent and protective order of Elks will never forget them."
The Elks provided various articles for our troops to Sally Wiley who is collecting items to send to our troops in Afghanistan. You may contact Sally at 775-783-9292 for any items or cash you would like to donate. For further information on the Elks, call 775-265-4523.