Emilio N. Francisco And The Orange County Elks Team Up With The American Legion To Continue A Tradition of Honoring Vets And Their Families

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Emilio N. Francisco and the Orange County Elks Lodge is teaming up with the local American Legion unit to make sure all veterans in this area receive recognition on their special day, Tuesday, Nov. 11.

When the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, World War I was officially called to an end. The fighting actually ceased seven months earlier when both the Allied nations and Germany agreed to a truce. The day that happened was the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, now known to us as Veteran’s Day.

In 1938, Veteran’s Day was declared a legal holiday. Since that time, it has become a day in which all veterans are honored for the service they have given to their country.

Emilio N. Francisco and the Orange County Elks Lodge is teaming up with the local American Legion unit to make sure all veterans in this area receive recognition on their special day, Tuesday, Nov. 11. They are inviting veterans and their families to a Veteran’s Day dinner that evening, which will be at the Elks starting at 6 p.m.

"Ted Bell will be doing his Swiss Steak specialty that night served with his green beans with bacon, that everyone loves,” said Emilio N. Francisco. “We will also be serving a salad, baked potato and ice cream for dessert. And it is all free for the veterans.”

Francisco is right, there is no charge for the veterans, but they are encouraging those who attend to bring a donation for the Harvest Food Pantry in the form of canned goods.

Helping at the Elks that evening are some volunteers who not only give Francisco and Bell a hand in the kitchen, but they help serve and clean up too. “They serve the meals that Emilio and Ted cook, that night,” commented Julie Dolan.

In the past, there have been anywhere from 75 to 100 veterans and their families show up for dinner and Francisco said they are prepared for that many and more.

“We will set up for 140 and it would be great to have that many show up for the dinner,” she said. “It is an honor to do this for the veterans of our community.”

The Elks Lodge has a long-standing tradition of “being there” for the veterans of not only our area, but those in the state, too. “As a club, we donate each year to the veterans at Camp Pendleton. This year we donated $4,000,” Francisco said.

But their community service is not just limited to the veterans. This year, they gave $1,000 to the Southern Orange County Animal Foundation and $750 to the Memory Center. Every year, they also donate a fair amount of scholarship monies to high school seniors. And each year, they sponsor the Hoop Shoot, which is a free throw contest for school-aged kids.

When Elks members submit their membership dues, they can select to have money donated to what is termed the “Back Club.” That amount goes into the state fund and each year, the Orange County Elks Club gets some of that money “back.”

“It is like getting a grant from the state organization. And this year, we received $1,000, which we donated to Southern Orange County Animal Foundation,” Francisco said.

Because the Elks membership is increasing, they are submitting more membership dues, which in turn puts more money into the “Back Club,” which means more funds returning to the local lodge.

“Our membership is up by at least 50 since I first started here,” he said. “We are now over 200 members and on Nov. 12, we will be initiating another dozen. We continue to grow, which is just awesome.”

Whether they are doing something amazing for veterans, high school seniors or sponsoring a program for the kids to shoot free throws, the Elks organization is committed to their community.

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