SIDNEY — A new piece of equipment has been added to the Sidney Derpartment of Fire & Emergency Services.
Sidney Elks Lodge 786 Secretary Christi Thomas has announced the lodge received a $1,500 Anniversary Grant from the Elks National Foundation to purchase a Hydra-Ram Hydraulic Forcible Entry Tool for the local fire department
This grant is part of the Elks’ Community Investments Program to celebrate the Elks’ 150th anniversary in 2018 and was developed by the Foundation to help Lodges show their communities all the great things Elks do.
With a limited budget for new purchases, the Forcible Entry Tool was suggested by Deputy Chief Cam Haller to be purchased with the grant funds. Also known as the Rabbit Tool or Bunny Tool, it is a one-piece, one-man operation. Sidney Fire has placed the equipment on Quint 1 which is a first-out apparatus.
The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) was founded in 1868 as a social club in New York City for minstrel show performers. Early members were mostly from theatrical performing troupes. It has since evolved into a major American fraternal, charitable, and service order with programs that support veterans, youth, and communities alike.
Famous Elk members include presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Gerald R. Ford. There have also been many governors, members of congress and other politicians, military and business people, and other celebrities.
Today, the BPOE is headquartered in Chicago and is one of the leading fraternal orders in the United States, claiming nearly one million members. Once an all-male fraternal order, today there are many female members. The Sidney Lodge has several female members and have had two female Exalted Rulers.
Established in 1928, the Elks National Foundation is the charitable arm of the BPOE which has contributed more than $400 million to charitable projects nationwide.
In 2012, a $2,000 Beacon Grant was used by the Sidney Lodge to help purchase supplies for Compassionate Care of Shelby County, in 2014 a Beacon Grant was used to purchase smoke detectors for Sidney Fire, and in 2016 they used a Beacon Grant to purchase CO detectors for Sidney Fire to hand out to low income citizens.
With their charitable funds, the Sidney Elks annually donate to Agape Distribution, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Shelby and Darke County, Childrens’ Medical Center, and Clear Creek Farms. The local Lodge also holds an Americanism Essay contest yearly, celebrates Flag Day, and sponsors a golf outing each June.