TEWKSBURY/WILMINGTON - Celebrating Flag Day a little early this year, the Tewksbury and Wilmington Elks Lodge offered an evening of honors, history, and community at their South Street location Friday night.
Elk elders opened the evening with their traditional ceremonies and then moved on to a multi -layered program, starting with the Tewksbury Interfaith Choir’s robust rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” directed and accompanied on the organ by Norm DeMaris.
DeMaris has been conducting over 30 years and spent 10 years singing with the choir. He previously also served as director of “Teen Theater” in Tewksbury.
The Elks went on to make donations to both Tewksbury and Wilmington Food Pantries at this annual event. Joan Searfoss, one of the directors from Wilmington’s pantry, and Bill Welsh from Tewksbury graciously accepted the Elks generous donations.
“This donation is something the Elks have done for years, they donate 2 checks, one for general purposes to the Wilmington Community Fund and the other towards our Food Pantry,” said Searfoss.
Both food pantries provide short and long-term food assistance to residents in financial need and to people referred by local clergy. The Pantry offers help in other ways when needed and informs clients of other resources through a client resource list, monthly newsletter, flyers and posters. The Tewksbury Community Panty is governed by a board of directors comprised of residents from the town who are business owners, clergy and retirees, dedicated to helping their community. Volunteers staff, operate, and manage the Pantry. Confidential assistance is given to everyone who receives help from both Tewksbury and Wilmington Community Food Panties.
Gary Millward and Lou Connolly narrated a history of the American Flag in its various incarnations over the years. Tewksbury's Boy Scout Troop 322 processed the flags into the hall for the annual Flag Day celebration.
The Elks Lou Connolly gave an impassioned description and historical context for each flag. Music followed with the choir singing “Grand Old Flag” and ending with the “Pledge of Allegiance.”
Lastly, four 6th grade Tewksbury students from the Ryan School, Shane Aylward, Zachary Graczyk, Kaitlyn Staskywicz, and Emily Butler were recognized by the Elks for their accomplishments as “Student Ambassadors,” outstanding student leaders and role models demonstrating responsibility and dedication to their community. Refreshments were served to end the evening.
For more information about the pantry in your town:
The Tewksbury Pantry is located at 999 Whipple Road and can be contacted at 978-858-2273 or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Wilmington at 142 Chestnut Street (Old South School House). You can contact the Wilmington Community Fund at 978-658-7425, write to P.O. Box 147, or email them email@example.com.