Eagles help groups soar

‘Beautiful Day’ in Yukon among fraternal organization’s grant recipients

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Yukon Beautiful Day Foundation liaisons Gracie Kroutil (left) and Julie Simeroth (right) are all smiles as they accept a “big check” donation from Otis and Barbara Davenport of the Fraternal Order of Eagles. The non-profit fraternal organization has announced $50,000 in Oklahoma grants. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer

A storied international fraternal organization is again abiding by its motto “People Helping People” – and a new Yukon group has benefited.

The Fraternal Order of Eagles has announced $50,000 in grants to 10 charitable organizations in Oklahoma.

Recipients include Yukon’s Beautiful Day Foundation, which provides monthly birthday parties for Yukon Public Schools’ fourth and fifth graders. Beautiful Day does not judge people by their backgrounds or economic status; the birthday parties focus on celebrating all students equally.

“We’ll just raise more money,” said Yukon’s Otis Davenport, Oklahoma state worthy secretary for the Fraternal Order of Eagles. “One hundred percent of money that we raise for a charity goes to that charity. The state doesn’t have any overhead on our charities.”

The Fraternal Order of Eagles has allocated $28,000 for their state project, Wounded Veterans of Oklahoma.

Other recipients were granted between $1,000 and $4,000 to support various programs:

The Oklahoma Kidney Foundation, Ascension St. John’s Medical Foundation-Tulsa (cancer research), Oklahoma Alzheimer’s Association, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (spinal cord), Ascension St. John’s Foundation Heart Fund, University Oklahoma Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (diabetes research), Hydrants of Hope-Tulsa Children’s Fund, and Court Appointed Special Advocates-Bartlesville.

“Some of these have been recipients for many years,” Davenport said. “All that money was raised in Oklahoma by the Oklahoma state aerie and auxiliary.”

Funds have been collected locally through prize drawings, silent auctions, bake sales, and donations.

A WILLING VOLUNTEER

Davenport, a Yukon Chamber of Commerce ambassador, was glad to add the Beautiful Day Foundation to this year’s Eagles’ list.

Beautiful Day debuted last fall in two YPS sites, with hopes to eventually expand to sixth grade at Lakeview, Independence and Redstone intermediate schools.

“I enjoy the look on the kids’ faces and the happiness I see within,” said Davenport, among Yukon chamber ambassadors who volunteer at the parties.

Young celebrants sit at a special table decorated with balloons, birthday cards, “Beautiful Day” bracelets, plates, and napkins. A pizza lunch and cupcakes are provided through donations.

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Beautiful Day volunteers sit at the birthday table to interact with the children.
“We thought we could get some money (for the parties) through our non-profit organization,” Davenport said.

Davenport and his wife Barbara are charter organizers for a new Fraternal Order of Eagles chapter (called an “aerie”, defined as a “lofty nest of a bird of prey”) and auxiliary.

“We’re still trying to open one up here,” Barbara Davenport said. “We need to have 50 men and 50 women.”

All residents age 21 years and above are eligible to join the Fraternal Order of Eagles. Men comprise the aerie and women join the auxiliary.

“There are three requirements,” Otis Davenport said. “You cannot be a felon and you cannot be a registered sex offender. And you have to believe in a supreme being.

“For people here, we have a one-time $20 initiation fee. The dues are $30 per year.”

A nonprofit organization, the Fraternal Order of Eagles’ mission is to “unite fraternally in the spirit of liberty, truth, justice, and equality, to make human life more desirable by lessening its ills, and by promoting peace, prosperity, gladness, and hope.”

Since 1898, the Fraternal Order of Eagles has been working tirelessly to better communities across the U.S. and Canada and uphold the belief that people can make a difference in the lives of others.

The F.O.E. Charity Foundation gives research dollars to institutions related to diabetes, heart disease, cancer, kidney disease, spinal cord injuries, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, child abuse prevention, and more. The F.O.E. provides $10 million annually to hospitals, care centers and research facilities across the U.S. and Canada.

For more information, visit http://www.foe.com or call the Davenports at (405) 206-2738.