SAN ANTONIO, June 26, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Way back in 1931, 63 years after the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks formed and three years after the organization established its Elks National Foundation, the Elks began awarding college scholarships. Since then, the ENF has invested in tens of thousands of students, awarding more than $120 million in scholarships.
Now, 150 of those scholarship recipients are heading to San Antonio to help the Elks celebrate their 150th anniversary. They'll be part of the largest gathering of Elks scholars ever from June 29 to July 2.
"It's huge," says Maryann Dernlan, a 2011 scholarship recipient from New Jersey who now works in the ENF's scholarship department in Chicago. "The Elks opened doors for all of us, and we want to be part of their sesquicentennial to say, 'thank you.'"
Sean Loosli, a 2003 recipient from Utah who won the top male scholarship, then worth $60,000, was so intent on being part of the experience that he rearranged a trip to Russia for the FIFA World Cup.
"We're part of the Elks' story," says Loosli, who now works for a financial software company in the Bay Area. "We're living examples of their good work. Much of what we've done and will do sort of ripples from that scholarship. So, I shortened my trip to Russia so I could be in San Antonio."
During the gathering, billed as the 150 for 150 Service and Celebration Weekend, the scholars will serve at Haven for Hope, a campus for families and individuals experiencing homelessness. They'll also join the Elks conventioneers in service at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center by packing hygiene kits for local veterans in need.
In addition, the weekend will feature programming and networking opportunities. The scholars also will participate in the Opening Ceremonies of the Elks Convention on July 1, which will be headlined by Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band.
"When I accepted my scholarship at the Elks Convention in St. Louis," reflects Bryce Caswell, Loosli's 2003 top female counterpart and a recipient from California who now lives in Seattle and works for a tech giant, "I was living with a friend's family. I was there with them.
"But I joined an Elks family that day," Caswell continues. "Today, I'm a member, I serve on the ENF's Scholar Advisory Board, and I'm connected to all these amazing Elks scholars who truly are changing the world in so many ways. I can't thank the Elks enough for embracing me and changing my life."
For more information on 150 for 150 and Elks scholarship opportunities, visit elks.org/scholars.
Contact: Christine Robinson | Communications, Elks National Foundation
2750 N. Lakeview Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614-2256
773/755-4856 | firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Elks National Foundation