Louisiana Elks Association, Inc.
Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks

National and Local Awards

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Sheriff Bobby Guidroz
2021-2022 Louisiana Elks Association Elk of the Year

2021-2022 Louisiana Elks Association Elk of the Year

LA Elks Association Elk of the Year Sheriff Bobby Guidroz

As the Exalted Ruler of the Opelousas Elks Lodge #1048, I would like to officially nominate Sheriff Bobby J. Guidroz for the Steve G. Jenkinson, Jr. Louisiana Elk of the Year Award. Sheriff Guidroz is a long-standing member (18 years) of Lodge 1048.

The past two years has been challenging to say the least, not just for our lodge, but for all of Elkdom. Our lodge, specifically, has faced a unique set of challenges. Pre-existing financial hardships were only exacerbated by the shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, an aging building in disrepair, a diminishing membership, and a severe lack of volunteers all combined to place our lodge in real peril of having to close its doors permanently.

When I assumed the mantle of Exalted Ruler, I knew the challenges we were facing would be difficult to overcome. Sheriff Guidroz approached me and graciously offered to help. It is only with his aid and with the resources that he has provided, that we are not only still in operation, but have turned the corner and show renewed signs of life.

It is true everywhere, even more so in South Louisiana, that the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach. With the Sheriff’s help we have reinstituted selling meals on Tuesday, generating revenue and renewing interest in the lodge.

In conjunction with the lodge, we have instituted an inmate reintegration program, which helps a select group of young men to contribute to society and to realize a better way of life based upon the guiding principles of the Elks, Charity, Justice, Brotherly Love, and Fidelity. These young men clean and maintain the lodge, saving us money and time. Another group of inmates maintains the grounds of the lodge. Seeing the benefits of comradery, the aid the elks provide to youth and veterans, and Brotherly Love, some of them even wish to become members at some point in time.

During the lodge renovations, Sheriff Guidroz, rolled up his sleeves, grabbed a broom and a paintbrush and lent a helping hand. Over the course of several weekends, he and a crew of trustees from the jail accomplished what would have taken a few elk volunteers months to do.

On a separate matter, the Sheriff was instrumental in using his influence and voicing his opinion when the time came to vote on an increase in dues. With the backing of Sheriff Guidroz the increase in dues passed without any opposition. This long overdue increase will set us on a path to financial stability.

Finally, in keeping with the membership goals of the State and Grand Lodge, the Sheriff has advocated for and assisted with recruiting new members. We have added 25% more members in the last year, many of them young people.

These are just some of the many examples of selflessness and dedication Sheriff Bobby J. Guidroz has contributed to the lodge, I can honestly say that without this Elk, the Opelousas Lodge, which has stood for more than 100 years, would probably be closed today.

Shane Garrad, ER
Opelousas Lodge #1048


Randy Bergeron
2021-2022 LEA Male Veteran Volunteer of the Year

This year’s male L.E.A. Veteran Volunteer of the Year Award recipient is an individual who is always behind the scenes in the kitchen preparing and serving food for different events held for our veterans. Each month he accompanies the Veterans Chairman of his lodge to visit veterans in the local retirement homes. At least once a year he travels to several veteran war homes across the state to deliver checks from funds raised by the veterans committee of his lodge. These checks help to pay for different events at the homes. At Christmas he shops and helps put fruit baskets together then helps to deliver the baskets to local veterans at the area retirement homes.

All the veterans know that when they attend a function at the Elks lodge, this year’s recipient is going to take good care of them. When visiting the area retirement homes the veterans look forward to spending some one-on-one time in conversation with him. He goes the extra mile with everything he does to make every veteran feel special and not forgotten.

He works the weekly bingos at his lodge to help raise money for the local vets. He was instrumental in building a pavilion to hold outdoor events for the veterans, such as the fishing rodeo held annually.

This year’s recipient is a veteran himself, having spent three years in the Army, sixteen months of that being served in Korea. A special place has developed in his heart for the veterans he serves. Anytime he is asked, he is there to help and support our veterans.

With no further ado it is my pleasure to award this year’s Louisiana Elks Association Male Veteran Volunteer of the Year Award to Slidell Lodge #2321 member Randy Bergeron.

Brandi Wendt
2021-2022 LEA Female Veteran Volunteer of the Year

After becoming a VAVS representative in 2018, this year’s Female L.E.A. Veteran Volunteer of the Year Award recipient hit the ground running. She started planning and executing monthly events for our veterans, and until the pandemic hit the nominee attended every one of those events, plus other events that the facility held. Once the facility went on lock down, it didn’t stop her from organizing and communicating with the staff to make sure our veterans had their monthly events to keep their spirits up.

She knew these events made the veterans feel as though they still had some sort of connection to the outside world. She made sure gifts were sent to the facility for birthdays, Veterans Day, Christmas, and other holidays. These events and gifts brough smiles, and tears of joy to the veterans for the love that they felt.

Not only is this year’s recipient a VAVS representative, but she is also a nurse and first responder working on the front lines caring for the public while working through the pandemic.

At no time did she forget about our veterans or discard her responsibility to them.

It is my pleasure to present the Female Louisiana Elks Association Veteran Volunteer of the Year Award to Shreveport Lodge #122 member, Brandi Wendt.



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