Throughout the years Winchester Elks Lodge No. 2816 has provided multiple scholarships, raised thousands of dollars for various local charities, sponsored the Winchester Christmas parade, conducted multiple veterans dinners and is in the process of conducting their third annual Kids with Cancer Golf Scramble.
“Everything we do here at the Elks is for charity, a lot of people don’t know that,” Elks trustee member Jennifer Tuttle said.
It was Tuttle and her husband, John, who recently reached out to state Sen. Ralph Alvarado from Winchester to mention the Elks Lodge, which is located at 255 Shoppers Drive, was in need of a new American flag.
“John and Dr. Alvarado have a good friendship and I’ve known Dr. Alvarado for a long time,” Tuttle said. “I work for the state and I was able to email him and we are just tickled to death.”
On a stormy Thursday morning, Alvarado visited the Elks Lodge and dropped off an American flag which flew at the Capitol building in Frankfort on March 29 — which came with a certificate of authenticity for framing — along with a Kentucky state flag for the Elks Lodge to use.
“Schools will often put the same type of request in,” Alvarado said. “So, what I do is, I go out and buy these flags and put in a request to the state to fly them over the Capitol. We have to get in line for them and there’s lot of other legislators who want to get their flags flown. We have several requests.
“Once we know they’re going to be flown over a certain day, we coordinate a time and a day to present them to people back home.”
Alvarado said he enjoys presenting the flags to various schools, non-profits and service organizations throughout the country, especially the Elks Lodge, which typically gives between $125,000 and $150,000 to charities each year and helps benefit the Children’s Miracle Network, Kid’s Wish Network and other discretionary needs.
“It’s been fun,” Alvarado said. “We’ve had St. Agatha Academy already call and local schools in the area call to see if they can get new flags. We buy them and the LRC (Legislative Research Commission) staff, they know where to get them.
“It’s good for a lot of our non-profits and other service organizations that serve our community. It’s good for them to fly these flags. Often our schools need new flags and they’re operating on a tight budget. It’s an opportunity for me to give back to them.”
Alvarado said it’s key to show respect for the American flag.
“These flags get beat up and tattered and you don’t want to be flying something that’s beaten up. Hopefully these flags will endure for awhile,” he said.
Pat Spaulding, Winchester Elks Lodge No. 2816 exalted ruler, said the lodge goes through about four or five flags a year because of the weather.
“They’re up 24 hours a day and there’s lights on our flag pole and on our sign,” Spaulding said. “We never take them down until we have to.”