Elk of the Month - December 2016
Membership: 2 Years
Position: Esteemed Leading Knight
Currently Lives: Colonia
Hank Hart was awarded Elk of the Month for his consistent service and kindness, as well as, being the driving force in a very successful Halloween Benefit Bash fundraiser. Hank was able to get his band, Southern Steel, to donate their talents to the lodge for a truly rockin' time!
A word from Hank...
"As far as being "Elk of the Month"; that really is a team achievement from all the folks who pulled together to make the Halloween Benefit Bash happen and turn out to be a successful fund raiser for the lodge. I had always wanted to try and get the band I'm sound man for, Southern Steel, here at the lodge for some type of fundraiser. Our lodge treasurer, Arthur D'Amaro, had come up to me one day and said, "I heard that you work with a pretty good band, ever think about doing something here at the lodge".
Being a member of our Board of Directors, I could see the upcoming costs the lodge was going to have to absorb for some repairs that would sorely be needed. It was around August I asked our one lead guitarist, Dave Sober, and his wife Debbie, our band manager, about donating the band's time in doing a show here. They were all for it; Dave is big on volunteerism, having been a volunteer fire fighter and also a retired Keyport police officer. Debbie also, being a military brat, was of the attitude, "what ever we can do to help".
There are so many at the lodge to thank: Flavio (he is one person that can go by one name only!) and I went to Restaurant Depot to get the food we needed. He did a phenomenal job in the kitchen with help from his wife Carol and also Diane Szymanik. Third Year Trustee Brian Gilmore donated all the meat that was needed to make to top off the rigatoni as a Bolognese dish. MC powerhouse Viki Weber, and her daughter Samantha Freeman, helped with the making of the poster and printed tickets for the event at no cost. Also from the MC, Ed and Kathy Eismont were huge in selling tickets for the event. Rich Khron worked tirelessly getting the china cleaned up. Wanda Tomaskovicz, our lodge's secretary and Judy Galambos, our Esteemed Leading Knight, (and a PER) worked the door for additional ticket sales as well as relief from Peggy Qualy, the lodge's Tiler, Jane Bobel and Karen Imperatrice (Inner Guard). Joe Gonder and Rich also helped serve food along with the aforementioned ladies who also cleaned up. Rob Snowfield, Esteemed Loyal Knight, and our ER, Anthony Girgenti, passed the posters on to other lodges and I did see members from South Amboy and Carteret attend.
Arthur also served as a volunteer bartender along with Mary Lynn Passero in the back bar; while Billy Houck and Dave Rickert manned the bar in the Colonial room. There truly was a sense of noble service by all and I sincerely apologize to others whose name I can't recollect at this moment who contributed to the overall achievement for the lodge. I was merely the focal point in this, but this lodge has many who care and share.
I'd be remiss of course, if I did not thank my band of brothers, Southern Steel. I've worked for close to three years as their sound man... prior to that working as a roadie and sitting in on drums from time to time. The generous donation the band made to our lodge was even a surprise to me. As Dave Sorber, our lead guitarist, told Anthony Girgenti, "It's what we do". We play around the area a lot, mostly southern Middlesex and Monmouth counties. We've been fortunate enough to have opened for The Outlaws at B. B. King's in NYC a few times, as well as, playing with them at a large festivals, known as, the "Freedom Fest" and also the annual "Rock, Ribs & Ridges" festival held in Sussex County. In addition to Dave Sober on lead guitar, Kevin Rose played the other lead, Gary Roberts brought his thunder on drums,Tom Tibaldi was on keyboards and guitar, Tommy Kelly is our amazing front man/vocalist and our regular bass player is Ray Jandura. Ray had to attend a relative's wedding and was ably covered by Matt D'Esposito, who plays in The Spider Daniels Band.
The week after the benefit we opened for The Outlaws at the Boonton Elks... which was a blast... they played through our sound system. My highlight of the evening is when The Outlaws had our lead guitarist Dave Sorber join them on stage for their encore of , "Ghost Riders in the Sky" and let Dave take the solo!
So, I hope that sums it up... I'm merely someone fortunate enough to work with, and be involved with, many people (whether through my membership in the Elks or with Southern Steel), who know how to give, who care and share... and ain't that what being an Elk is all about!!!"