2016-12-01 / Columns

For Many Women of the Moose, Service Is a Family Tradition

All About the Town
By Betty Browning

Four women who are members of Women of the Moose Lodge Chapter 1484 on Mackinac Trail in St. Ignace regaled me with their purpose and their pleasure of being Women of the Moose as they prepared for their weekly Friday Night Fish Fry Friday, November 18.

It was clear to me, in talking with them, that their volunteer work here in our community is to be admired and applauded. This group of women step up and offer their help during emergencies, funerals, weddings, holidays, and local events in our community. They also help the Moose Lodge membership in preparing and organizing events, dinners, and parties at their lodge. The weekly fish fry is open to the public, and offers a delicious meal.

The Women of the Moose chapter was officially formed here in 1968 and there are 153 registered members in our area.

For several of the women, membership is a family tradition. It’s inspiring. Edna Collins has been a member for more tha 40 years. Her grandmother, Bernetta Soeltner, her mother, Jean Sheber, her daughter, Jennifer Sayles and herself have all been active members at one time.


At left: Edna Collins (from left), Tracy McCluskey, Alice Howe, and Denise Maxson at Moose Lodge 999. At left: Edna Collins (from left), Tracy McCluskey, Alice Howe, and Denise Maxson at Moose Lodge 999. Alice Howe, a 44-year member of the Moose Lodge, said she and her seven children are all active members today.

Denise Maxson, along with her sisters Lana Lennington and Cara St. Andrew, are also active Women of the Moose. Her father, James St. Onge, has been a member for more than 45 years.

Tracy McCluskey has been a member since 2014. She, along with the other ladies I spoke with said, they “grew up” at the Moose, through family involvement.

Not only do these women have a strong commitment to their community, they have a strong bond between them that makes them family to each other.

The attributes of this organization reach far outside of our community, from their sponsorship of a senior citizen living in the Moosehaven Retirement Center in Jacksonville, Florida, to sponsoring a young man at one of the Mooseheart School Centers for children in need of a stable home environment. The purpose of the international Moose organization is to offer a place for members to gather socially, and to help meet the needs of its members and community. The Moose Fraternity supports a residential childcare facility and the residential retirement community in Jacksonville.

A mascot, Tommy Moose, was introduced this past year to the children of our community. The goal of having the mascot is to help children understand and be aware of Internet safety. Tommy Moose also was given to the Mackinac County Sheriff’s Office in the form of stuffed animals. The officers carry the stuffed animals in their patrol cars and can give them out to children to help comfort them in emergency situations.

Tommy Moose will make an appearance at this year’s children’s Christmas party Saturday, December 17, at the Moose Lodge. The children’s Christmas party is open to the public.

An upcoming event hosted by the Women of the Moose Lodge will be a Christmas Bazaar Saturday, December 3, from noon to 6 p.m. at the Moose Lodge on Mackinac Trail. A variety of vendors will be on hand to sell handmade gifts. Admission is free. Burger baskets will be available for $7. Everyone is welcome and invited to attend.

As I left these busy women to their Friday night duties, preparing for their fish fry, I was in admiration for what they do for others and what they contribute to our community, and I was wishing I, too, were a member of the Women of the Moose.

If you would like more information on upcoming activities at the Moose Lodge, or information on becoming a Moose Lodge member, please call (906) 643-8785 and ask for Edna Collins.

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