Observer Staff Writer
Amid the bustle of the Memorial Day holiday, Vivian Biegun doesn't want people to forget Michigan's ailing and needy veterans — or what her Plymouth Elks do for them.
In 2008, for example, folks at the Plymouth Elks Lodge 1780 raised over $4,500 to buy Christmas gifts for veterans in the Detroit, Ann Arbor and Battle Creek Veterans Administration hospitals, and at three homeless shelters; donated more than 230 bags of clothing to the Michigan Veterans Foundation; sponsored regular game days and ice cream socials for hospitalized and homeless veterans; hosted steak lunches for veterans who are bused to the Elks lodge from around the region; and donated deer hides used to make gloves given to veterans who use wheelchairs.
The work last year meant 2,124 man-hours and more than 22,000 miles of travel by participating Elks, said Biegun a Plymouth Township resident and an Elk for three years. Their service reached nearly 6,300 veterans, she said.
“I feel like it's giving something to people who helped our country,” Biegun said.
Biegun said the Plymouth Elks have won state and national honors for their work with the veterans.
“I don't think people know exactly what the Elks do for the veterans,” she said.