Los Angeles, California (PRWEB) June 08, 2011
When J. Herbert Klein joined the Benevolent Protective Order of the Elks (B.P.O.E.) in 1951, the country was experiencing a post-WWII boom – and Los Angeles Lodge #99 was the ideal spot to socialize and make connections. “In those days, anybody who was anybody belonged to the Elks,” Klein remarked recently. “The lodge was a great place to make friends, establish business relationships, and give back to the community – and it still is!”
On June 14, Klein celebrates 60 years as a member of the Elks. “I joined the Elks on Flag Day,” Klein, 89, recalled. “My membership coincided with an inspiring ceremony at the lodge honoring the stars and stripes.”
Established in 1868 in New York City, the Elks got its start when some local entertainers were looking for a place to get together on their day off. The group evolved into a fraternal organization – where members rely on each other for help – and grew from a few individuals in one lodge to nearly a million people in 2,000 lodges nationwide. Today, the Elks contributes more than 80 million dollars annually for benevolent, educational, and community programs – living out its motto of “Elks care and Elks share.”
Part of the organization’s mission has always been to “quicken the spirit of American patriotism” – and the Elks played a pivotal role in bringing Flag Day into prominence by mandating a formal June 14th ceremony to honor the flag. The Elks’ emphasis on June 14th as Flag Day contributed to the date’s eventual designation as a recognized holiday – with legislation signed in 1949 by President Harry S. Truman, a member of the Elks lodge in Kansas City, Missouri.
Truman isn’t the only U.S. President who has belonged to the Elks. Other members include Warren G. Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Gerald R. Ford.
In 2011, 60 years after he joined the Elks, producer J. Herbert Klein has a new mission – to attract younger members to lodges throughout the country. “The Elks will only continue to thrive if it can attract people from the younger generation and show them the personal, professional, social, and community benefits of the organization.” To this end, Klein, executive producer of International Film Arts, is developing a high school talent competition entitled Stars of Tomorrow, which he has dubbed “The World’s Biggest Reality Show.” He plans to release details about the competition during the coming months.
A native of Detroit, MIchigan, Klein has written about his career in his recently released memoir, Beyond Hollywood: A Memoir of Fate, Luck, the Unexplained & Living the American Dream. The book, which features fascinating stories about people Klein has known and worked with – including Howard Hughes, Frank Sinatra, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Jayne Mansfield, Jon Hall, and Yvonne De Carlo – is available on Amazon.com.
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