Felt was installed as Grand Exalted Ruler in July and came to Picture Butte on Sept. 22 but it was not his first time in the community. He first came in 2006, when he was serving as provincial president for the Elks and again three years ago in 2011, when the local Elks were celebrating their 75th anniversary.
His theme for the year is “Step up to the plate” and he noted for 78 years Picture Butte Elks have “stepped up.”
He was delighted to be in Picture Butte and impressed with the local lodge, which has contributed 19,000 hours of volunteer work and donated over $210,000 to the community in the past 12 years. “They are really busy down here.”
Picture Butte is just one of many stops Felt will make across Canada during his time as Grand Exalted Ruler for the Elks of Canada. He will travel to Manitoba and Saskatchewan in October and to B.C. in November. Come April, he will begin the eastern part of his tour of the country.
In all he will visit about 35 lodges across the country over the next year, along with additional visits for special occasions.
Along the way, he is encouraging Elks members to make a difference in their communities.
“I believe we cannot simply watch from the bleachers or sidelines but need to take things in our hands, step up and make a difference,” he said in his address to the Picture Butte Elks.
“It is the responsibility of all members to get involved and continue our passion and the reason we are Elks. That of helping others, as well as maintaining existing friendships and creating new ones.”
He told the Elks they need to be deeply committed to their passion, mission and the change they want the Elks to achieve in Canada.
“If our resolve is powerful enough we can pull old and new members into action and trigger their enthusiasm.”
He noted at this year’s Elks national convention a resolution was passed to update the Elks’ mission statement to read: “A Canadian volunteer organization of men and women serving communities.”
He made the trip down from his home in Calgary to Picture Butte but said he will be moving to Vulcan in the new year.
Felt has been a member of the Elks for 40 years and has served on the national committee since 1998. He has made connections all over the country through the Elks. “Everybody knows everybody.”