Ligonier Elks Scholarship Fund
Two scholarships for a West Noble High School senior pursuing a post-secondary education with preference to a child or grandchild, (or stepchild, step grandchild, or legal ward) of a living Ligonier Elk who is a paid up member. Great-grandchildren are not eligible. Pays $500 one time. (cfnc)
The Ligonier Elks Scholarship was started by Larry Baker, Glen Hicks, Tony Fisher, and Earle Franklin all of whom were past Elk Presidents.
The Benevolent Protective Order of Elks in 1898 started a local lodge in the town of Ligonier, which was a prominent Jewish settlement at the time. They had the number of 451, which showed that they were an early town to adopt an Elks Lodge. On two occasions, the Ligonier Elks got second place at the national conference for being a top lodge for giving money to people in need, and for a town as small as Ligonier, these were huge success stories.
It was a trend after World War II that people wanted to help their communities and other veterans. There was camaraderie among them to look out for each other’s interests instead of their own.
The key principles of the Elks are charity and brotherly love. Helping those in need is very important to Elks members. A lot of financial assistance goes to cancer research and scholarships from the Elks. Larry Baker said that although the Elks might have a negative reputation because they serve alcohol at their events, Elks members have to have high character and a belief in God, and there is also a chaplain in the group. The Elks are also patriotic, and have a celebration on Flag Day. Larry says, “You could have fun, but you served [the community].”
Times have changed, and the Ligonier Elks Lodge 451 had to retire their lodge and transfer to the Kendallville lodge. With the economy changing, the loss of funding, membership dwindling, and too many renovations needed for their historic building, the Ligonier Elks 451 retired their lodge. However, although they had to retire their lodge, they didn’t want their legacy to be forgotten, so they set up a scholarship fund at the Noble County Community Foundation. Now, some students in the community can receive a scholarship that will help them pay for their education.
Larry Baker, one of the founders of this scholarship fund and a graduate of Manchester College, has held numerous positions in the community, including the Noble County Community Foundation, Noble House Board, United Methodist Church in Ligonier, and is currently working at Yeager Funeral Home. Mr. Baker was born in Dickson, Illinois in 1940. He is married to Inge who makes the best German potato salad in Noble County, and is a very benevolent person to the community around her. Baker taught at West Noble School for 36 years and was president of the teachers for a time. He and his wife have 4 children and 6 grandchildren. Mr. Baker enjoys having his 3 o’clock coffee meeting with other gentlemen from the community to discuss how they can help people in the community with their service or with their finances. Larry adheres to the statement he once heard, “If you join something…do not just be a card holder.” He believes in that statement and tries to get involved in leadership as much as he can.