Our Lodge Made a Difference

Traci Williams
Veteran’s Committee Chair, Ballard Lodge #827

pierce_county_black_flagDeputy Daniel McCartney was shot and killed by what was thought to be burglary suspects in Pierce County early January of this year.  Deputy McCartney was a proud Navy Veteran of six years serving in Everett on the air craft carrier Abraham Lincoln as an Electronics Technician.

As the Veteran’s Chairman, I attended our January lodge meeting, just after the shooting, and asked our lodge members if we could donate to the McCartney family, utilizing our Veteran’s Committee funds that we’ve worked to establish.  My motion was immediately amended by a fellow member to donate 5 times what I was asking for and unanimously approved by the lodge floor!

I then contacted the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office about presenting this check from the lodge and a date was set to meet with them.  Two days after the Lodge meeting, I went to my Veterans of Foreign Wars meeting in Renton and told them that I collected a $500 donation from the Ballard Elks and my Post said, “They’re not even a Veterans organization; why are they donating?”  This, of course, gave me the perfect opportunity to talk about what the Elk members do and what our mission is as the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United States of America.  To not be outdone, the Veterans of Foreign Wars quickly voted to also match our Elks donation of $500, so I now have $1,000 to bring to the Peirce County Sherriff!

That following week, I went to a VFW meeting in Everett; told them the story as part of a report I was giving as a State Officer, and to not be outdone by “An ELKS lodge?!?!” and the Renton VFW, they too voted to match our donation and they handed me a check right then for $500.  Now, that’s $1,500!!

The following week, I went to our VFW State Convention that focused on Youth Essay winners.  At the awards dinner, one of the Everett members came up to me with someone else and said, “She’s the one taking donations.”  This biker (full leathers and all) said, “Don’t tell them where you got this” and handed me $100 cash!  That’s $1,600 to the McCartney family that they otherwise wouldn’t have had if we, as a lodge, didn’t recognize the worth of our public servants, our first responders and their help for our community!!

finally I had my meeting with the Deputy Chief of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office and took the time to talk with him and share our story, specifically asking where the money would be best put to work.  With tears in his eyes it was decided to donate to the fund that “paid the bills” associated with the funeral itself.  Unbeknownst to me, the family has to pay for a majority of all costs associated with the full funeral.  The Deputy Chief teared up when I handed him the money, saying the family so appreciates the outpouring of support from organizations like ours.  It was obvious how much Deputy McCartney will be missed by his family; family in blue; and community at large.  I’m sure our token of appreciation went to great use!!

Thank you for not hesitating to help when asked and thank you for letting me be your Ballard Elks Lodge #827 Veterans Committee Chairman.