Centralia Lodge 493 is as active as any lodge in Illinois, and a key to the lodge’s enthusiasm has been the behind-the-scenes efforts of lodge Lady of the Elks member Shelly Ray.
Those efforts earned Ray the 2017-18 IEA Lady of the Year award. The award was announced at the ladies luncheon at the IEA Mid-Winter meeting in January in Springfield.
“The lady’s organization at Centralia 493 is very active and you can find Shelly at the front of the line to help,” said South Central District Vice President Scott Flota in a letter to IEA President Dave Jurmu in support of Ray’s nomination. “Raising money for people in need, gathering and delivering Thanksgiving baskets and wrapping Christmas presents for underprivileged children are just a few of the functions at which you will fnd her.”
For a volunteer meal or maybe just a special function at the lodge, Shelly is first in line to help cook, serve a meal or clean up after, he said.
“She will take any task asked of her,” Flota said.
But don’t take just Flota’s word for the impact that Ray has on the lodge. Exalted Ruler Bill Luebben said as much in his letter nominating Ray for the honor
“Shelly is very active at our lodge as a member of the lady of the Elks, baking desserts for the Lodge Operation We Care dinners on Thursdays,” Luebben said. “She is also active in helping to prepare and serve these dinners, thereby helping the lodge raise funds for our community donations and assistance.”
Shelly is always quick to jump in and help serve, clean up and do whatever is needed, Luebben added, alluding to the integral role she had in starting the lodge’s Wings Wednesday taking order, serving, cleaning up and keeping the money straight.
“Shelly takes part in all of the Lady of the Elks functions, going above and beyond what is asked,” Luebben said. “She helps with all the Elks projects and doesn’t wait to be asked to help. She steps up and says, ‘Let me know what you need me to do’.”
Flota said that while Shelly is involved in helping behind the scenes, she is equally involved at the forefront.
“There are many meetings and other outside activities that you will find her standing beside husband Joe, helping to promote Elkdom.
“She does so with a smile on her face and a welcome ear to listen to anyone,” Flota said. “Shelly has many times said, ‘What can I do to help?’ There are a few junior trustees in the district who can tell you they have taken her up on those words.”
“Lastly,” Flota said, “anyone who knows Shelly, she is always the first to give a please and thank you but never one to expect those words in return.”