$10,000 grant to offer vets moment of peace
The Moscow Elks Lodge has a long history of working with veterans. That’s why when Steve Meier was charged with writing a grant to give back to the community, he thought of them first.
“There’s a real need for working with individuals who are, for lack of a better term, wounded warriors,” Meier said. “Many veterans have physical disabilities, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, so this was an opportunity to let them know they’re not alone.”
Meier is a former University of Idaho professor who has been active in the Moscow Elks Lodge for over a decade. He said sometimes veterans simply need to relax and get away from the stressors of their life.
He said fly-fishing was the perfect solution.
The program Meier and other members of the Elks Lodge designed is intended to teach wounded veterans how to fly fish from start to finish, from teaching them to tie flies to techniques to actually fishing. The program will culminate in a fishing trip.
“Fly fishing is one of those things where you’re basically in your own environment, even if there are other people around you,” Meier said. “If you’re doing it correctly, you should be thinking about where your fly should be placed, watching the water, and you’re doing all of this, and all the distractions that go on in our lives kind of go away.”
UI Veterans Adviser Dan Button said he and officers of the UI Veterans Club will meet later this week to compile a pool of local combat veterans who incurred injuries or other disabilities during their service to be invited to the program.
He said he sees this program as an opportunity for veterans to focus on themselves.
“It’s rewarding in so many ways,” Button said. “It’s a tremendous bonding experience and has a therapeutic effect. They’re doing something challenging, but doing something very rewarding and arguably fun together.”
According to Lodge Secretary Wayne Krauss, the grant will bring the Moscow Elks Lodge total funds received for the year to $18,000.
“Our impact is pretty broad,” Krauss said. “Our goal for our programs is for them to be sustainable within our community.”
Besides the $10,000 community outreach grant, the lodge has also received four $2,000 grants for youth activities and other community programs.
Meier said that’s the mission of the Elks Lodge.
“The mission for the Elks is charity,” he said. “When we do our underlying work, that’s what we talk about.”
Meier said the Moscow Elks Lodge offers anti-drug and bullying programs for children, and provides literature and support to local youth. He said they also pride themselves on being a fraternal organization. According to Button, the Elks Lodge has had a substantial impact on local veterans in the past, most recently by awarding a UI combat veteran $1,000 for textbooks and a parking pass earlier this year. Button said he has high hopes for the upcoming fly fishing program.
“If — no, when — it’s successful, we may find it’s something we want to offer in the future, or some variation like this,” Button said. “I couldn’t be any more pleased, happy or grateful to the local Elks Club for extending this opportunity.”
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