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Important visitors give Elks food for thought

posted Nov 5, 2018, 9:55 AM by Kathy Carr
As Al Sjolie said in his Elks article last Monday (October 29), the Elks had some special visitors at their October 22 meeting. Chad Bodnarchuk and Marie McKean, representing the Austin and Area Lions Club, attended the meeting to present the Elks information about their new piece of equipment, the Welch­Allyn Sport Vision Screener.
The Lions Club, who once had Helen Keller tell them to be “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness,” work on projects that provide eye care to hundreds of millions of people, whet­her it be to prevent blindness, restore eyesight or even improve eye health. You can definitely say sight is one of the defining causes for the Lions Club.
In continuing their work with sight programs, Chad and Marie attended the Carberry Elks meeting to show them their district’s WelchAllyn Sport Vision Screener. The program that involves the scanner is called Kids Sight and was started in Minnesota a number of years ago. It is a free program and completely voluntary. Three years ago, Chad said their district decided to do a pilot project with this piece of equipment and purchased a machine. The scanner is worth $8,000 and in the pro­vince of Manitoba there are three of them for the three corresponding districts. 
The machine, which is very easy to use, has the operator stand about three feet from the person who is being scanned and can complete the job in 10 to 15 seconds. Once the scan is completed, a blue screen will appear and either say “high-five you’re good” or “complete eye exam required.” The information is then downloaded to a computer and a report will print out for the person to take with them.
The scanner, which does not replace an actual visit to the eye doctor, but instead picks up any changes that might be happening in your eyes that would have you return to your optometrist for a full check-up. Chad actually mentioned a story during our interview, where they had a child have a scan done and was told that a complete eye exam was required. When they went for the check-up it was discovered that the child had a tumour on their optic nerve, this is a great little machine and gives remarkable results.
In making the presentation to the Elks Club, Chad said “I think it’s important we’re working together, we’re neighbours and this is a great way to get into the schools for both the Lions and Elks. Children are our priority and we want to help them any way we can, so we have this tool here at our disposal and we want to see if we can make some noise in the community.” 
Chad said that the more people they can check, the more likely they will be to purchase another scanner. He said that they’re hoping to have one in every zone of their district and since the Lions work with the Elks on their Central Speech and Hearing, why not work together “shoulder to shoulder” on this project and show that service groups can work together as they all exist for the same thing which is proving a positive impact on their communities. 
The presentation that Chad gave was no doubt very interesting and probably gave the Carberry Elks members quite a bit to think about. This is quite a fascinating ma­chine and will be extremely interesting to see what happens in the future with this project.
Also in attendance at the meeting to hear the presentation from Chad and Marie was Elks Provincial President Guy Mullen, who started his role as President in Sep­tember and Rheina Schel­lenberg, who serves on the Member Services Com­mittee for Elks Canada. Both of them are from the same lodge which is Lodge 447 in Altona.
Guy Mullen began his Elk adventure when he moved to Altona from Winnipeg. He was looking to get involved in the community and thought this was a great way to do it. He worked his way up through his lodge, participating in all the different roles there, before moving on to the provincial association. Once he became a part of the provincial association, Mullen once again worked his way up through the ranks to president. It was interesting to note that you have to go through quite a bit of training before you can become the President. 
What brought Presi­dent Guy to Carberry is part of one of his mandates which is to visit the local lodges all over Manitoba and assess how they are doing, kinda like a performance appraisal as he says. He firmly believes in building up the positives that the lodges are doing, but at the same time will point out the areas of weakness and how they can be imp­roved. He also thinks it’s important to network and meet new people and this is a great way to do so.
Guy also talked about other areas that he would like to work on which is using the technology that is out there, improving their social media presence along with getting the message out about what the Elks are and what they do for their community. He also is focusing on membership and the future of the Elks and where they can go. It is important, he said that we have a great board with great ideas and it’s time to move on it. “We are going to drag people kicking and screaming into the new world.”
His hope is that one day there will be more lodges and members in Manitoba and he thinks the way to make that happen is with technology and having virtual lodges. This is something that they are looking at right now up north. Quite an interesting thing to think about, with a virtual lodge your sim could be whatever you want in a virtual lodge and maybe if there was enough people joining a virtual lodge in one area, they could actually have a real lodge where they could get together. This is a start as he says. “They can get involved and be involved in all the provincial and national charity things they could assess provincial and national charity money for their community, I think it’s a great idea.” It will be very interesting and exciting to see what the future may hold there for present and future Elk members in Manitoba.
When it comes to thinking about the past, present and future of the Elks, Guy said that being an Elk member isn’t like being in a service club, it is so much more than that. He said he loves being an Elk because it’s not just another service club, it’s a family. As he continues his term as president, he’ll feel like a mother hen as he said he does, because he wants his chicks to do well.

by Kathy Carr