NEW MARTINSVILLE - New Martinsville Moose Lodge 931 will celebrate its 100th anniversary this year.
Rich Erlewine, 64, a lifelong resident of the city, is the administrator of the lodge. He has been a member of the lodge for 42 years, has held several offices and has been in his current position for 24 years.
Erlewine is proud of the accomplishments of his lodge and the Moose organization as a whole.
Photo by Art Limann
New Martinsville Moose Lodge 931 Administrator Rich Erlewine stands with plaques in the Moose Lodge listing winners of scholarships the lodge has given.
He noted Moose members from across the country maintain facilities knwon as Mooseheart for children who need care and Moosehaven for seniors who need care.
"We (Moose) are the No. 1 family fraternal organization in the world," he said. "I'm most proud of the work our lodge has done in raising money for scholarships. In the past 23 years, we have given $99,000 in scholarships to students in 13 local high schools. Last year our lodge gave $8,000 in scholarships. This lodge has raised more money for scholarships than any other Moose lodge in the country.
"It started as a pet project of mine. I just like helping people. It's something I like to do, but it's not just me," Erlewine stressed.
"We have a great group. I just keep it together. We have a great board of officers that oversees what we do. About 80 percent of the time there are lodge functions, there's something here. Everything serves a purpose."
The local lodge has about 1,500 members, 1,100 men and 400 women. Among them are former West Virginia University football coach Bill Stewart, state Sen. Larry Edgel, D-Wetzel, all the Wetzel County commissioners, county sheriff and New Martinsville police chief.
"Our membership might be down a little, but most lodges are having a hard time getting people to join now," Erlewine said.
"We're not down that much. We have a major family function at least once each month. We also do things like go together to WVU football and basketball games, NASCAR and have fish fries. We try to keep a full slate of activities."
Other projects the lodge supports are a golf league, bowling teams, boys and girls state, Little League and Relay for Life. According to Erlewine, the lodge is also going to start another program that will involve purchasing a computer to help combat sexual predators online.