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Local Aerie 3086 hosts Fraternal Order of Eagles midwinter conference

Basin Republican Rustler of Basin, Wyoming

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The Wyoming State of Fraternal Order of Eagles (FOE) came to Basin last weekend for their midwinter conference with 53 Aerie and 45 auxiliary members attending, according to local Aerie No. 3086 member Jim Willis.

"The Wyoming State FOE holds two meetings per year. A state convention held in June and a midwinter conference in January. Meeting sites are selected at different Aeries throughout the state," he said.

Attendees registered Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. Willis said that after breakfast on Saturday, the American Legion Post #29 presented the colors and Rachel Willis sang the national anthem.

A joint meeting with the auxiliary followed. During the meeting the local, state and grand Aerie officers were introduced. The Grand Aerie officers were Trustee Carl Burnett from Clovis,

N.M., Aerie #3245, Outside Guard Chuck Weber, Casper, Aerie #3006 and Madam

Conductor Elaine Regi from Carlisle, Pa., Auxiliary #1299. The topic during this meeting was membership.

After lunch the Aerie met in the Basin City Arts Center while the Auxiliary met at the Masonic Hall. The Aerie held classes on leadership, the member maintenance system and the duties of the officers, Willis, who is also the state president, said.

He said that during their meeting the auxiliary held classes on grant writing, membership and fundraising for charities.

There was a banquet Saturday night that was cooked by auxiliary members as were all the meals.

A silent auction was also a part of the conference with items donated by local businesses and members.

Willis said that a portion of money raised went to the charity of his choice, Hands across the Saddle.

The other portion of the money raised went to Madam President Val Staley's charity, which is a hospice.

"We are people helping people," said Willis. A lot of people don't understand what we do or our history. Did you know that it was the FOE that founded Mother's Day? Did you know that the FOE served as a driving force in founding the Social Security program?" He added that the FOE is an international nonprofit organization uniting fraternally in the spirit of liberty, truth, justice and equality to make human life more desirable by lessening its ills and promoting peace, prosperity, gladness and hope.

Willis also talked about history and role of the Auxiliary FOE. "It was established to help and assist the Aeries. They hold their own meetings and work on their own charities. Without the auxiliary the Aeries would struggle to exist." He noted that they do fundraisers during the year such as raffles, dinners and bake sales to help support 10 different charities as well as help the Aerie with expenses.

He said that the FOE donates more than $10 million a year to local communities, fundraisers, charities and more. "As a philosophy we give back 100 percent of the money raised in the form of grants. The fundraisers are conducted for eight major charities including kidney, heart, diabetes, cancer, spinal cord injury, children, memorial and the Golden Eagle fund.

If you are interested in joining the Eagles you can ask for an application from a current member in good standing. Return the completed application with $25 (Aerie) or $10 (Auxiliary). A committee will then interview you. If you are chosen you will be initiated in to the FOE. The annual dues are $35 for Aerie and $25 for Auxiliary. Contact the Eagles at 568-2378.

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Original Publication Date: January 15, 2015

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