Elks, Emblem Club mark holiday with donation to local Explorers posts

The young generation joined the older generation on Saturday to celebrate the birthday of the American flag.

During the Crescent City Elks' Flag Day ceremony, members of the Crescent City Emblem Club illustrated the evolution of Old Glory starting with the flag of England and the pine tree flag used during the battle of Bunker Hill and ending with the current version. Each Emblem Club member was escorted by U.S. Navy Sea Cadet or a police, fire or EMS Explorer.

Tom Hopper, past exalted ruler with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks Crescent City Lodge 1689, gave a brief history of each flag, including the dates they flew and what they represented.

"The (use) of banners has been a custom among all people in all ages," Hopper said. "These banners usually contain some concept of the life or government of those who fashioned them. The evolution of the American flag marks the progression of the government of the American people."

This year's Flag Day ceremony also marked the beginning of a new service project. Janette Burlison, the lodge's lecturing knight, and Tim Borges, the lodge's esteemed leading knight, presented a $2,000 grant to local Explorer groups from the Del Norte County Sheriff's Office, the Crescent City Police Department, the Crescent City Fire Department and Del Norte Ambulance.

"I want to thank you all for being motivated and dedicated and pursuing, learning about the area that you are in," Burlison said.

The grant money came from the Elks National Foundation, according to Borges. The Crescent City Elks Lodge contributed to that grant, he said. The Elks Lodge then treated the Explorer groups to a hamburger lunch.

Tom Phillips, a paramedic with Del Norte Ambulance, said the grant money the EMS Explorers group received will probably go toward textbooks and other equipment needed to train his crew.

The Explorer program is an offshoot of the Boy Scouts of America and gives teens an opportunity to experience what law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services careers are about.

Phillips said the youngsters who joined the EMS group, which was formed only two months ago, had to go through a panel interview and were questioned about their goals for the program. A handful of his Explorers are also enrolled in the fire department's Explorer program, he said.

"We're not nearly as prevalent as the police and fire," Phillips said, adding thathe's been working since last fall writing the program's bylaws. "The original group has passed their basic first aid and CPR. They'll be able to go on ride-alongs."

On these ambulance ride-alongs, the Explorers may be called on to assist, Phillips said. They can do any non-invasive procedure, he said. Just last week they learned how to put a cardiac monitor on a patient.

"Being a paramedic, I typically wish I had a third or sixth hand," Phillips said. "They can easily be directed to help out with things."

Reach Jessica Cejnar at jcejnar@triplicate.com.