Gone fishing

Siri Hedreen / The Outlook

James Burton poses with his catch. Bill Nichols State Veterans Home residents spent the day fishing at Hardy Farms in Coosa County in an excursion organized by the Alexander City Elks Lodge.

Every Tuesday the Alexander City Elks Lodge hosts a get-together at Bill Nichols State Veterans Home, about $275 a week for ice cream, popcorn and bingo.

Now that there's a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, they've been able to reprise one of their other activities — a fishing excursion hosted by Hardy Farms in Coosa County.

"I've been holding that $750 for two years waiting to spend it on account of COVID," said Jerry Burnette, the veterans affairs liaison for the Elks.

The Benevolent Protective Order of Elks is a social club founded in 1868, with local chapters that organize charity and community events. Though considered a fraternal order, Alex City's club also includes women.

Rick Nickolson, "exalted ruler" — as they call their elected leaders — of the Alexander City Elks, said the chapter has a public relations problem, especially among those who only know it as the clubhouse on the Tallapoosa River, just north of the bridge.

+12 
+12 
Gone fishing
+12 
+12 
Gone fishing
+12 
+12 
Gone fishing
+12 
+12 
Gone fishing
+12 
+12 
Gone fishing

"Unfortunately, for a long time we were classed as 'nothing but a bunch of drunks down there,' but we're not," he said. "I think a lot of the Elks is misunderstood. Charity is our number one goal."

Indeed, the group's motto is "Elks care, elks share," Nickolson said.

A few dozen Bill Nichols residents took part in the field trip Friday, some of whom happened to be skilled fisherman.

"I hope to catch five or six," said Mike Bearden, as he reeled in his second fish.

Recommended for you