These Eagles live in Junction City

December 22, 2004|LIZ MAPLES

JUNCTION CITY - The ladies stood in a semi-circle drinking soda from straws, some smoking cigarettes.

This ain't a garden club.

They spend their evenings plotting good deeds for the community. They spend the rest of their time in fellowship and fundraising. They are the Fraternal Order of Eagles Auxiliary.

The founders started the order in 1898 as a club for common men. In the 1920s, the first ladies auxiliary was formed. Their mission is to be bound together to help each other and do good deeds.

The Junction City Eagles and their auxiliary try to live up to that mission.

They provide lots of different kinds of help

They gave $500 to Toys for Tots. Bought new flags for the city. Threw a Christmas party for local kids. Delivered fruit baskets to people who don't have holiday company, have lost a spouse or been in an accident.


They've bought braces for children. Paid college tuition. Bought prescription medicine. Gave a child a baseball glove, so that he could play sports. Found clothes for families to go to funerals.

There are hundreds of stories just like these. At their Tuesday meeting they heard of a family who didn't have any money for Christmas. The Eagles and the auxiliary pitched in, and found $100 to give to them.

The Eagles and the auxiliary find out about the people they help by word of mouth. Sometimes they are co-workers, neighbors, and sometimes they are the Eagles themselves.

It has been rumored that the Eagles have a rough reputation.

That idea ruffles the auxiliary members' feathers. They say it is about fellowship and camaraderie.

Third largest organization of its kind

They point out that former President John F. Kennedy, comedian Bob Hope and the late musician Jimmy Durante were Eagles. It is the third largest organization of its kind, behind the Masons and the Shriners.

The national motto is "People Helping People."

The auxiliary takes this idea seriously. The money the club raises goes right back to the community.

Delivering fruit baskets is one of their favorite things. The auxiliary members visit with the people.

"Some lady said, 'You sure you got the right place?'" said Karin Bernard. "Some cry... they are just so surprised."

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