The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Dane Osen
The Courier 

Elks Club Honors Smiley Johnson

 

Dane Osen/For The Courier

Smiley Johnson poses with his award at the Elks Club on Jan. 21.

Glasgow Elks Club held a retirement party for "Smiley" Johnson on Jan. 21. Johnson had managed the club for the past 11 years, during which time he turned the local chapter around by organizing fundraisers, setting nationwide enrollment records, made several improvements to the building and made sure the Elks Club was utilized more for local events. He credits his success to fellow members and his family, who were willing to help with many of the projects and events.

When Johnson took over managing duties for the club, the club only had about $280 dollars to its name and the future of the club looked bleak. Unwilling to accept this outcome, Johnson enlisted the help of his fellow Elks members to assist him to keep the local chapter open and return the lodge to its former glory. Darryl Morehouse of D&G Sports & Western donated a rifle to be raffled as a fundraiser to raise funds, Jerry Koski helped by repairing the coolers and ice machine and Orville Fossum provided machinery to remove snow and assisted in acquiring additional parking for the Elks. Johnson's family also provided a helping hand when the lodge needed assistance with staffing functions and other pet projects he needed assistance with.

Everyone also assisted in improving the interior of the Elks. Improvements to the building included remodeling the stage, carpeting the floors and restoring the basement. The dining room and kitchen was better utilized and is now home to Fiesta Mexicana. The outside of the building also got a facelift during this time with a new sign and a large statue of an elk. The cannon that fires during home games when the Scotties score is also on display. Paul Monson of the Montana Bar and Elks member since the 60s stated that "Smiley has done more improvements for the Elks than anyone else since I've been here, he's been getting people in and turned the place around."

His enthusiasm for the organization was contagious, which is evident as Johnson led the nation twice in new recruits while managing the Lodge. One year, he recruited 143 new members and another time enlisted 119. For his achievement he was awarded a trip to two Grand Lodges, one in California and another in Oregon. The improvement and momentum at the Elks led the lodge being selected to host the State Convention in 2008. Johnson dedication to the Elks runs deep, the 51-year member has also served as District Deputy at the Grand Lodge in Great Falls, Mont., and served as the Membership Chairman for The Elks State Association.

Johnson still plans to remain active in the Elks in his retirement, and would like to see a few more projects through around the building. He plans to get back to restoring and selling furniture and attending events with Flat Land Cruiser Car Club. Taking over the management duties at the club will be Brandy Loran, who also is enthusiastic about the position and is eager to improve the venue, as well as utilize its space to host events and other occasions.

The Elks Lodge is located at 309 2nd Ave. S., and can be reached at 406-228-2233. If you are interested in becoming a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks contact any member.

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