Elizabethton Elks Lodge receives Freedom Grant

Published 8:05 am Friday, March 29, 2019

It might look like just another bar in Carter County, but no one in the building believes that exterior impression for a second, and one look at the pictures and posters on the walls will tell the same story.

The Elizabethton Elks Lodge received a $2,000 Freedom Grant from the Grand Lodge, and already they have begun putting it to use for veterans in Carter County.

Jacklyn Morris, “Exalted Ruler,” or President, of the Elizabethton Elks Lodge, said they have been receiving this grant for the past eight years, but missed it last year due to missing the application deadline.

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“We have to give back to veterans, especially for what they have done for us,” Morris said.

The $2,000 went towards a large donation of supplies to the local VA Office.

“Roughly 300 lodges a year receive this grant,” she said.

The Elizabethton Elks Lodge may look like a bar at first glance, but behind one of the doors is a whole different experience. The lodge has been around since 1952, and every inch of their space is dedicated to veterans and their families. They hold weddings, induction ceremonies, celebrations and much more.

“Our lodge is dedicated to veterans above all else,” Morris said.

This will be Morris’s sixth year as Exalted Ruler of the lodge, but she said she originally joined merely for the convenience of its location.

“I saw what they did for the community, and I had to stay,” Morris said.

Part of what they do is donate parts of their multi-acre land back behind the building to organizations for events or other projects. In particular, roughly half an acre currently serves as an educational opportunity for Carter County students to learn about farming and harvesting.

“We are having a clean-up day Saturday due to the flooding,” Morris said. “We are trying to get all the river rocks out of the field.”

The half-acre field is part of the lodge’s plans for the annual Impact Grant, an $8,400 grant the Elizabethton Elks Lodge has yet to receive.

“We are applying for everything we can on April 1,” she said.

She said the work she has done as part of the organization is inspiring.

“It touched my heart to see what is going on, and I wanted to be a part of that,” she said.