Millstone Elks donate wheelchairs to schools


MILLSTONE — Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) members often joke that the acronym for their group actually stands for “Best People On Earth.”

BPOE makes many contributions to the community, the latest of which are four wheelchairs, worth $1,500, for students in need in the Millstone Township School District. The BPOE presented the donation at the Dec. 14 Board of Education meeting.

Dave Bergeron, a school district employee and a past exalted ruler of BPOE Lodge 2613, said the BPOE has a history of charitable endeavors, with the Millstone lodge active in the township and surrounding communities.

“We have an active special needs program, along with many others, that address the needs of senior citizens, veterans and children,” Bergeron said.

He said that a few months ago a middle school student needed transportation from school as a result of an accident. The student required the use of a wheelchair to get from the school to the Millstone Board of Education van.

“As there was only one wheelchair at the school, the student’s parents had to supply a dedicated wheelchair,” he said.

Knowing that the Millstone Elks has a program to loan and/or provide hospital equipment, such as canes, crutches and walkers, to those in need, Bergeron contacted the group’s Special Needs Committee. Committee Chairman Edward Bazelewsky told Bergeron that that the lodge had donated a wheelchair to the school in the past, and could appropriate funds for a new wheelchair. Bergeron told him that the elementary and primary schools might have similar needs.

Business Administrator Bernard Biesaida, ascertained the district’s needs for wheelchairs. Bergeron passed the information along to Kevin Moore, current exalted ruler of the BPOE.

During the lodge’s next business meeting, a motion was made to appropriate the funds, and passed with complete approval. Making the presentation at the Board of Education meeting were Moore, Bazelewsky and trustee Chuck Semanchick.