We Will Not Forget
Glenn F. Friedl
Submitted by: Glenn Friedl, PER
The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) is one of the oldest and largest private organizations in the United States formally meeting since February 16, 1868. Fifteen actors and entertainers attended that first meeting in New York City. The organization has since grown to approximately 1 million men and women in about 2000 local “Lodges” throughout the country embracing all occupations and professions.
The organization’s philanthropic bent grew out of the founders’ desire to assist members in need and young actors who were out of work. In 1871, the Elks staged a benefit for the Chicago Fire and the organization has responded to every major disaster since then, from the Seattle fire and Johnstown flood in 1889, to the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995 and the Red River flooding of 1997. This is in addition to the community service that has become an Elks tradition.
The Order is noted for its work with youth, veterans, patriotic activities, and service to local communities. This tone was established in 1868 and the Elks continue to make a difference in their communities, their states and their country.
In 1901, The Watertown Elks Lodge was chartered by BPOE. Through the years the Lodge has made an impact on the community i.e., various programs for the youth and veterans, establishing the Home Health Care Equipment program, furnishing Christmas meals on Christmas day for the elderly and shut-ins, and other activities.
In 1917, the World was at war. The Order of Elks was only 49 years old. GER Edward Rightor appointed a committee to study what the Order of Elks should do in this crisis. The committee was order to present its findings to the Grand Lodge Session in July.
The membership enthusiastically and unanimously approved a resolution appropriating one million dollars for the “War Relief Fund”. This money was raised by the membership at the local Lodge level.
An Elks War Relief Commission was established. The Commission began evolving toward the organization we have today; the Elks National Veterans Service Commission.
During WWI, The Elks, through the patriotism and generosity of the members, the Commission organized and equipped the first two base hospitals to reach France.
In 1918, to accommodate the maimed and wounded, the Elks built a 700 bed Reconstruction Hospital in Boston and gave it to the federal government. This hospital was the forerunner of the VA Medical Centers we have today. That same year, the Order built a 72 room Community House to take care of families visiting the forty thousand soldiers stationed at Camp Sherman, Ohio.
During the war, the Salvation Army was severely handicapped in its great work for the servicemen by a lack of funds. The Elks War Relief and the local Lodges undertook campaigns to raise funds for the Salvation Army. In addition, the Commission, at Christmas time, in 1918, gave the Army $60,000 to continue its work.
The commission made 40,000 rehab, vocational, and educational loans to disabled veterans who were ineligible for government help or were waiting for approval of their applications for assistance. This service was so effective that the Feds followed the Order’s example; they set up a revolving fund and took over this activity. The GI Bill, which makes funds available to veterans for education, had its genesis from this Elks program.
More than 70,000 Elks served in the Armed Forces during WWI. The supreme sacrifice was paid by over 1,000 Elks.
December 7, 1941, as FDR said in his address to Congress the next day: “Is a date which will live in infamy”. The US entered World War II. The attack on Pearl Harbor united the Nation and effectively ended the American isolationist movement. There was only one dissenting vote, believing we should negotiate. After Germany and Italy declared war on the US several days later, the Congress unanimously declared war on those two nations.
The Elks, directed by its National Defense Commission and its War Commission, gave a total effort throughout the war. By the time hostilities ceased, the Grand Lodge had spent more than $1.5 million, while the subordinate Lodges spent hundreds of thousands of dollars more.
Local Lodges aided in the recruitment of Army flying cadets, by conducting refresher courses that qualified thousands of young men for training.
In 1942, The Adjutant General asked for help in recruiting 45,000 men for the Air Corps. A program was set up that recruited 97,000 men. As the result of this effort, the Secretary of the Navy asked for assistance in recruiting for the Naval Air Corps.
In 1943 there was a critical shortage of construction specialists in the armed services. The Elks were the only organization asked to help to recruit personnel. The required number of Army Engineers and Navy Seabees were obtained three months ahead of schedule.
The Merchant Marine notified the Elks War Commission that there was a shortage of reading materials for their men aboard the ships. More than 500,000 books were collected and given to the Merchant Marines, making it the world’s largest floating library.
Servicemen also enjoyed the hospitality of Elk fraternal centers stationed throughout the country. More than one million GIs were guests at the New York City Center. Thousands of gift boxes containing smoker’s supplies, candy and personal hygiene items were sent to the fighting men, while thousands of slippers were distributed to hospitalized service men.
Our Local Lodge supported the various programs of the Elks War Commission. The day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Lodge offered the entire Ladies room and the northwest ante-room (now the lodge room bar) to the local chapter of the Red Cross for their war program. These rooms were used for over three years, until they moved to larger quarters. Members were encouraged to donate blood. The first gift box was mailed to Fred Kretchman. A carton of cigarettes was sent to all members in service and Christmas remembrances were mailed to service personnel. Bingos and other parties were held in behalf of veterans in hospitals. Yes, the Elks were involved.
Please bear with me my own personal observations. I was a kid of thirteen (since I was the only child, my parents always said I was the best and the worse kid they ever knew). The day when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, I was attending a movie, with a buddy of mine from elementary school, at the Hollywood Theater on the north side of Milwaukee, when all the building lights came on. The manager went to the stage an announced that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. We all looked at each other stunned, where the H___ is Pearl Harbor? During the ensuing years at HS, I was involved in various war effort activities. Five cousins went into service; one was in the African Campaign; another was with the 32nd Division in Burma; another was aboard a Naval Destroyer that survived a Kamikaze attack in the battle of Okinawa which killed over 120 men; another was a company aid-man in the Battle of the Bulge and also was involved in the liberation of a Holocaust camp, where the furnaces were still warm; another was involved in the invasion of Anzio, were he received the Purple Heart. My father died in March 1945 and prior to his death, he told me that he saw his five nephews come marching home. Upon graduation from HS, I enlisted in the Navy for 4 years. My reason for relating this information, is that you will agree with me that everyone, all families from babies to great-grandparents, were involved during this period of crisis. God bless our veterans.
The Cold War Era began immediately after WWII in 1945 and ended in1991. During this period of time, the United States went through a period of various wars and Conflicts, i.e., Korean War 1950-1953; Lebanon Crisis 1958; Dominican Intervention 1965; Vietnam War 1964-1975; Grenada 1983; and Desert Storm 1991. The Elks were very active in supporting the veterans.
The cornerstone of the ELKs Veterans Memorial Building was laid June 7, 1924. Upon completion, two years later, on June 4, 1926 the edifice was formally dedicated to those who served in World War I. The building was rededicated in 1946 and 1976 to honor veterans of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
In 1991, WEA President Reinie Palm named Glenn Friedl, WEA Chairman for Restoration and Rededication of the Elks Veterans Memorial Building in Chicago, which also serves as the Elks National Headquarters. On July 3, 1994, the building was dedicated to peace and to those who served in Grenada, Panama, Operation Desert Storm and future conflicts.
During the Vietnam Conflict, the Elks answered the call to send “Letters from Home” to men and women in defending the freedom of communist aggression because of the ant-Americanism being reported on the home front.
During the Gulf War, Lodge dues were suspended for members on active duty while they were in service.
The American Flag on display in our lounge was flown over the American Embassy, Amman, Jordan during 1993, and was presented to Watertown Elks Lodge by Lodge Member, Staff Sgt., Investigator Patrick J. Meyer, USMC.
At the BPOE Convention in July 1946, the convention adopted the Elks motto: “So Long As There Are Veterans, the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks Will Never Forget Them”.
In 1981 the Elks National Service Commission appointed Elk Member William Connor as Deputy Representative to Veterans Administration Volunteer Service Committee at the VA Hospital in Madison.
In a survey of Elk activities for the year April 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014, the Volunteer Veterans Service Programs reported that cash and non-cash contributions (which included Federal allowances for mileage and hours) totaled $33,407,789.00. This total is typical of years past.
During the 1990s, the Marine Corps League began having their monthly meetings at the Lodge. In 1997, the League presented the “Distinguished Service Award” to the Lodge. It read: “In appreciation and gratitude for meritorious service in the interests of the United States of America and the U.S. Marine Corps and Marine Corps League.” The award was signed by Kenneth L. Maas, Detachment Commander.
Watertown Auxiliary Member Harriet Daley and Elk Doris Friedl knitted “Lap Robes” for veterans in the area which were distributed by Elk Connor and his entourage.
Recently, Veteran Dinners are served in honor of area veterans in November. The activity is headed by Chairman Tom Godfroy.
The Lodge co-underwrites, with the American Legion Post #189, the “Blue Star Flag” program.
“SO LONG AS THERE ARE VETERANS,
THE BENEVOLENT AND PROTECTIVE ORDER OF ELKS
WILL NEVER FORGET THEM”
01 28 GLENN F. FRIEDL, 1928-2016
Glenn F. Friedl, age 88, passed away on January 28, 2016 at the Golden Living Center in Watertown.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday February 5, 2016 at 11:00 AM at St. Bernard's Catholic Church with Father Patrick Wendler celebrating. Burial with military graveside rites will be in Glenview Memorial Gardens. Family and friends may call on Thursday from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Schmutzler-Vick Funeral Home and Cremation Service and on Friday after 10:00 AM at the church. Memorials would be appreciated to St. Bernard's Catholic Church or the Elks National Foundation. Online condolences may be left at svfuneralhome.com.
Glenn Ferdinand Friedl was born on January 13, 1928 in Milwaukee, the son of Michael W. and Magdalene (Weber) Friedl. He served in the US Navy during WWII from 1946 to 1950. On September 1, 1951, he married Barbara Stauss at St. Michaels Catholic Church in Milwaukee and she preceded him in death on June 5, 2009. On April 24, 2010 he married Doris Quinn at St. Henry's Catholic Church.
Glenn had been employed by the Wisconsin Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations and had been the District Job Service Director for the Watertown area. He was a Life Member of 42 years and Past Exalted Ruler of Watertown Elks Lodge #666, where he served as the secretary for 25 years. Glenn also served as the Past District Deputy Exalted Ruler, Past Vice President of the Wisconsin Elks Association and as State Trustee of the Wisconsin Elks Association.
Glenn is survived by his wife Doris, his children Mary Beth (Neal) Meyerson, Michael (Laurel) Friedl, Matthew Friedl and Andrew (Lynette) Friedl, step children Kevin (Julie) Quinn, Michael (Deborah) Quinn, Kathy (Ed) Hannas, Margie (Jeff) Walsh, Patti (Karl) Bickel and Erin (Jim) Mundt, grandchildren Phillip and Rebecca Meyerson, Uriah, Jasmine, Noel and Zachary Friedl, Nicole (Mike) Linsenbigler, Kara (Scott) Sobrilsky and Kevin Friedl, numerous step grandchildren, eleven great grandchildren, numerous step great grandchildren , two brothers in law Edward (the late Rita) Varick and Robert (Jane) Varick, other relatives and friends. He was further preceded in death by his parents, a daughter Ellen Friedl and a son David Friedl.
History of Watertown, Wisconsin