Emblem Club’s large membership allows for variety of community work
At 195 members strong, Hot Springs Emblem Club No. 194 is one of the largest nationwide. It is one of only two in Arkansas; the only other club is in Mena.
With the large, active membership, the club performs a variety of services for numerous organizations in Hot Springs and Garland County. The club was chartered in 1950 and hasn’t looked back since, says President Sherry Miller.
“We stand strongly for Americanism and work hard to support our veterans and their programs. We do the USO show at the mall and take part in the Veterans Day parade here, and we also clip a lot of coupons and send them to a military base in Germany. They are worth thousands of dollars, and the PX honors them even if they are outdated,” Miller said.
The Emblem Club meets twice a month at the Elks Lodge, on the first and third Tuesday. The first is the business meeting, which starts at 7 p.m., and the second one is a social dinner with dancing, which begins at 6:30 p.m.
“We promote a lot of friendship, camaraderie and working together on projects. That has helped us become so successful and diverse in our community work,” Miller said.
Emblem Club members visit The Caring Place the first Monday of the month, bringing the patients cookies and cupcakes, putting on programs, and even getting them up to dance.
“I danced with one lady who must have been a good dancer several years ago. She kicked so high that she almost got my nose,” Miller recalled, with a laugh.
Club members do parties for the students at the First Step School, in particular Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween and Christmas. Every fifth Wednesday, members are on hand at the Jackson House to help out with meals.
“We also enjoy passing out Thanksgiving baskets. We did 71 this past holiday,” Miller said. “The members have gotten into the habit of bringing a few items at every meeting throughout the course of the year, particularly canned items, so by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, we have everything we need to put them together.”
Miller said club members also take food to the jail workers at the Garland County Sheriff’s Department. In many instances, when the club provides food for a club member who has had a death in the family, there are a lot of leftovers. Instead of letting them go to waste, they are taken to the jailers.
“They love to see us come in,” she said.
Used clothing is also taken to Barb’s Place to help in that area.
The Emblem Club doesn’t overlook academics, either. Depending on available funding, three to seven $500 scholarships are awarded each spring to students who plan to attend a school in Garland County, whether it is National Park Community College, or a beauty or a barber school. Miller said many of the recipients go into nursing. A national and state Emblem Club Scholarship also goes to the family of club members.
Club members also help with the literacy program by reading to students at Langston Elementary, and regular visits are made to Ouachita Children’s Center.
To raise funds for these projects, Miller said the club engages in several activities that provide a lot of fun for the membership.
“We have a style show every November, and last year we had a ’50s party, complete with a juke box and a silent auction. Our variety show and dinner (was held) Feb. 18 and 19, where we will have a lip sync contest,” Miller said. “We also have a big Christmas party and raffle, and we sell a lot of cookbooks with recipes from our members. We have a lot of diversity and find ways to make a positive impact in the community.”