Person of the Week
Paul Salisbury Excited to Continue Weaving Elks Into the Fabric of Community
With a new lodge in the works in North Haven, the Elks Lodge #25 is growing its efforts to grow the community, thanks in part to its exalted ruler, Paul Salisbury of East Haven. (Photo courtesy of Paul Salisbury )
While Paul Salisbury has been involved with the Elks for more than three decades, he still carries the same passion for the group as he did when he first started. Paul is now serving his fourth term as exalted ruler of Elks Lodge 25.
Lodge 25 recently closed the doors of its New Haven location and is in the process of outfitting its new lodge, which is located on Old Broadway in North Haven. The group draws members from throughout the area and serves those in need in the community as well as on a statewide level.
“We’re in a very interesting position of being able to become part of the fabric of North Haven as we were in New Haven for many years,” says Paul, who has lived in East Haven for the past 24 years. “We have and always will be a community-oriented organization. We look at any avenue where we can be of help.”
According to elks.org, “ Elks invest in their communities through programs that help children grow up healthy and drug-free, meet the needs of today’s veterans, and improve the quality of life.”
Each state supports a statewide charity with Connecticut’s being the Connecticut Children’s Hospital. The various lodges work to raise money to support the purchase of incubators and other equipment needed for the care of children. On the local level, Lodge 25 works to support veterans and others in need in a number of ways. They have held donation drives for items such as clothing, shoes, socks, blankets, home furnishings, and food.
Most recently, Lodge 25 collected food for the North Haven Food Pantry. The group also used a grant from the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks Grant Lodge ENF Program to donate to BHCares. The Elks donated pillows, bed and crib sheets, comforters, towel, pack & play sets, baby monitors, dish sets, roasting pans, bakeware, and pot and pans sets for use in their safe houses and to assist victims as they transition to more permanent placement in their housing program.
“For me, it’s about the smiles,” says Paul. “There is literally no greater reward than that, like we just saw with BHCares. We give of our hearts, time, and energy and you see it reflected back to you in the gratitude. People are so appreciate that somebody has thought of them. That’s what’s kept me involved. It’s rewarding.”
Paul has also enjoyed helping the younger generation through drug awareness education and scholarship programs. Often, those applying for or receiving scholarships volunteer with the Elks on some level.
“The scholarships are such a great help for a lot of folks who can really use a hand and it’s been amazing to see how involved these kids get,” says Paul. “We want them to be involved in what we do and as they matriculate through their schools, we hope they come back.”
Becoming an Elk is open to anyone in the community and while Lodge 25’s current facility is still under construction, Paul encourages those interested to join them when the project is complete or reach out to a member about joining.
There are currently about 350 members. Lodge 25 holds two meetings a month and members can also volunteer with various committees for different events and fundraisers, such as golf tournaments and a day with Santa. In addition, the lodge serves as a gathering place for members.
“Through the community of sharing the experiences of the things we do, people find we are a rather worthy organization to invest some time in,” says Paul. “It’s not only a meeting hall, but it’s a club where we’ll have a bar and people can get together and exchange ideas.”
Even though Paul serves as Lodge 25’s exalted ruler, he is quick to point out that everything achieved by the Elks is thanks to a group effort. He acknowledges that every member brings unique experiences and ideas to the group, which allows it to be a place for personal growth.
“Elks has been a place to learn a variety of different things, how to be better people, how to have a better community, and with a little sweat equity, you can have a great deal of fun,” says Paul. “The credit goes to all members, because everyone is a piece of all that we give. Every single person in our lodge is a string in the fabric of the community and the more members we have, the stronger that fabric is and the more smiles we can provide for our community.”
Though the lodge is now located in North Haven, Paul intends that the lodge will continue to serve surrounding communities as well. Over the years, Paul has built a network of connections throughout the area.
Paul grew up in North Haven and then lived in West Haven where he graduated from West Haven High School. After graduating, he served three years in the Marine Corps before working in radio for 15 years. In that career, he often moved around and decided he was ready to set down roots.
Paul accepted a job with the phone company, returning in December 2019. He and his wife, Susan, live in East Haven where Paul enjoys gardening and golfing. He plans to create a garden behind Lodge 25’s new building so members can enjoy fresh vegetables. While Susan is not involved in the Elks, her support has been invaluable to his work with the Elks and he encourages others to get involved, as well.
“Susan has always been supportive of the things that I do, which tremendously contributes to what I’m able to do. She is a tremendous partner in all of our enterprise and honestly deserves more credit than me,” says Paul. “There are genuine rewards that can be gleaned just by being a member. Those smiles are something that you will not forget. If you have a little time, a little bit of energy, and want to see those smiles, be our guest.”
For more information on Elks Lodge 25, contact 203-772 3557 or email@example.com.
Jenn McCulloch is the Correspondent for Zip06. Email Jenn at .