Elks to begin convention today in Charleston

The Mid-Year Convention of the West Virginia Elks Association begins today in Charleston.

Featured guest for the two-day convention is Robert L. Duitsman, newly elected National President of the Order of Elks. Duitsman was installed at the group’s national convention in St. Louis, Missouri last month.

A member of Culver City, California Elks Lodge, Duitsman is an attorney in private practice specializing in estate planning. In his spare time he is a runner. Duitsman is one of only 131 people on earth who have finished all 34 editions of the Los Angeles Marathon, with a best time of 3:52.

West Virginia Elks President Bill Verelst, Jr. of Weirton will preside over the business sessions today and Saturday. Some 150 Elks and their families from 19 Elks Lodges throughout West Virginia are expected to attend

.Today’s business session includes a report on the Elks program to assist hospitalized veterans at the VA Hospitals in Huntington, Beckley, Martinsburg and Clarksburg, as well as the West Virginia Veterans Home in Barboursville and the West Virginia Veterans Nursing Home in Clarksburg. Tomorrow’s closing session at the Marriott Town Centre will feature the presentation of Elks College Scholarships by Elks Scholarship Chair Nanci Hovermale of Martinsburg.

Scholarships of $1,000 per year for each of four years will be presented to six high school seniors from throughout the Mountain State. Additional Elks Scholarships of $1,000 for one year will be presented to 22 high school seniors in the State. Elks Legacy Scholarship Awards of $1,000 per year for each of four years will be presented to three West Virginia high school seniors. Awards will also be presented to the winners of the Elks Americanism Essay Contest for students in grades 5-8 throughout the state.

The Major Project of the West Virginia Elks Association consists of two summer camping programs for more than 100 mentally and physically challenged youngsters from the Mountain State. These free summer camps are conducted by the Elks near Princeton.