FM Elks spin spaghetti dinner for city’s hoopsters

Fort Madison Elks Lodge Exalted Ruler Scott Meller greets members of the Fort Madison High School and Holy Trinity Catholic High School boys and girls basketball teams. The Lodge welcomed the players for a spaghetti dinner prior to the crosstown rivals playing each other on Saturday night at the Hound Dome. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC


FORT MADISON – It was a room of red and blue Wednesday as the Fort Madison Elks Lodge put on a full spaghetti dinner for members of the Fort Madison and Holy Trinity Catholic boys and girls basketball teams.

Scott Meller, the Exalted Ruler of the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks Lodge #347, said this was the first time the event was put together and he was happy with the response of the kids and the coaches. He said the idea of the event came up during a conversation earlier this year.

“I was talking about something different with Dusty Kempker and this just kind of came up,” Meller said. “The football team gets a lot of love from this community and we thought this would be a good chance to showcase the basketball team, too. We thought this would be a neat way to bring everyone together.”

Meller, a 2003 graduate of Fort Madison High School, is just finishing his first year as the head of the lodge and said support of the event was good and it could continue to be an annual event.

“Almost all the food was donated by members and parents and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves so we’re just gonna try to keep this thing rollin’,” he said.

He also took time during the meal to explain the scholarship program of the BPOE of the United States.

The Elks donate more than $3 million annually to high school seniors across the country, including $2.5 million to its Most Valued Student and Legacy scholarship programs.  High school students that are children or grandchildren of Elks members are eligible to apply for the Legacy scholarship program until Feb. 2. Applications can be found on the Elks website here.

One local student will receive a $500 scholarship as part of the Legacy program. That student then moves on to regional competitions where they could win additional scholarships. HTC student Maggie Walker won the scholarship in 2017.

Sara Bernhart, center, of the Fort Madison High School girls varsity basketball team, and her teammates enjoy the Elks-sponsored spaghetti dinner on Wednesday night. The lodge put on the dinner for both the Bloodhounds and Holy Trinity Catholic as the two square off Saturday night in a cross-town battle. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

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