MILTON - The Supreme Governor for the Loyal Order of Moose brought his message of community outreach and volunteerism to the Milton Moose on Friday, marking the first time in several years that the Milton chapter had been honored with a visit from the head of the international fraternal organization.
Rodney Hammond, who was elected Supreme Governor in July at Moose International's convention in Las Vegas, said he was trying to visit as many chapters as he could in his first year in office to spread the Moose message.
"I'm traveling around encouraging more public relationships with nonmenbers and more community outreach," he said. "We have to get out and show the Moose story and grow our membership."
The Loyal Order of Moose currently has about 650,000 members throughout 49 states, four Canadian provinces, Great Britain and Bermuda.
Major beneficiaries of the organization include Mooseheart, a 1,000-acre community for children and teens in need located 40 miles west of Chicago; and Moosehaven, a 70-acre retirement community for its members near Jacksonville, Fla.
Local Moose chapters including the Milton Moose also donate countless hours to community projects like the ballfield behind MES and improvements to the Milton Beach playground as well as food donations to needy families at Thanksgiving.
The Milton Moose also helps pay for a group of kids from Mooseheart to spend a summer weekend enjoying New England.
Nationally, members of the Moose conduct some $70 million worth of community service (counting monetary donations and volunteer hours worked) annually.
Other major initiatives facing all Moose chapters is the decision voted on in July to have all clubs go smoke-free by Jan. 1, and a continuing drive to unite the Loyal Order of Moose with its female auxiliary, the Women of the Moose.
Milton Moose officers have said they expect to make the transition to smoke-free smoothly, with the possibility still being discussed of possibly having a sequestered smoking area for members.
As far as the unification of LOOM and WOTM, Hammond said it's about time the two join forces and become one.
Hammond, who lives in Kissimmee, Fla., is expected to visit the Portsmouth and Dover lodges today.
He said since he became Supreme Governor he's visited 100 lodges in 15 states.
The Milton Moose is located on White Mountain Highway across from the Milton Veterinary Clinic. Anyone may come by the lodge and inquire about becoming a member.