One hundred years and going strong. That was the message members of the Alexandria chapter of the Fraternal Order of Eagles heard Saturday night as they celebrated their 100th Anniversary.
"Life is about service to humanity and that is exactly what your organization is all about," Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille told the overflow crowd packed into the F.O.E Lodge at 1015 Cameron St.
"The Eagles constantly help those in need."
Euille was the lead speaker in a list that included Alfred "Tony" Paytes, Worthy Virginia State President, F.O.E.; Wayne D. Clark, Junior Past Grand Worthy President; Don Sexton, Worthy President Alva #871, the local organization; and Lorraine Allen-Smith, Madam President-Alva Auxiliary 871.
Prior to his speech, Euille read a short story entitled "The Cab Driver." It told of a night shift taxi driver that befriended an elderly woman on her final journey to a hospice. He cited the piece as an example of the mission and compassion of the Eagles.
"This organization is about caring, love, life and family. Alexandria is also about family. And, it warms my heart to know we have an organization like the Eagles in this community," Euille said.
Alva Aerie #871, Alva standing for Alexandria Virginia, is the fifth and final Virginia Eagles lodge to reach its 100 anniversary in 2004, according to Paytes. "And, there will not be another state lodge to reach that goal for another 60 years," he said.
In recognition of the lodge's 1904 founding, Euille presented the organization with a proclamation designating October 23, 2004 as "Alexandria Aerie of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Day." It stated, "The Alexandria Aerie of the Fraternal Order of Eagles is to be congratulated for its commitment to its motto, ‘People Helping People’."
THE PROCLAMATION ALSO noted the lodge "gives every cent it raises to the charity it sponsors, and supports many important organizations in Alexandria such as DARE and the Alexandria Police Boys and Girls Camp and many child health organization."
Robbie Lowman, secretary of the local lodge, emphasized, "There are absolutely no administrative expenses taken out of the monies we raise for charitable purposes. That comes out of our dues. All contributions go to aiding the organization's we support."
The chapter's donations to charitable causes was also cited by U.S. Rep. James P. Moran (D-8) in a congratulatory letter. "By helping to raise money for research to find cures for heart disease, diabetes, cancer and all the various illnesses that affect children, you are bringing about a brighter future for all those who are afflicted," he said.
"You are truly helping the children and adults of Alexandria and Northern Virginia. Your dedication to these causes is a shining example to every organization," Moran wrote.
Following the speeches, Lowman presented pins to those that have been members of the Alexandria Lodge ranging from five to 50 years. "After 50 years we make them a life member," Lowman said. At the present time there are nearly 20 in that category out of a membership of 500 plus.
Throughout its history, the local group has also produced 10 state presidents. All but three are deceased. The three living past state presidents are Sydney I. Rogers, Charles R. Hicks, Sr., and Lowman.