Eagles from across Missouri and neighboring states converged in Pacific this past week as the Pacific Eagles Aerie 3842 hosted the 2012 state convention of the Missouri Order of the Eagles June 21-24.
It was the state convention for Albert and Aurilla Zerr of Quinter, Kan., members of WaKeeney Aerie 3774 in Missouri.
“I’ve wanted to come for years, but the convention always took place when I was cutting wheat,” Zerr said. “This year our wheat was in early so we were able to come.”
The Zerrs ran into fellow Eagles at the Huddle House. Alice and Bill “Boom” Nelson, members of Thayer, Mo., Aerie 4231, actually live in Camp, Ark., a small town south of West Plains.
“The Thayer Aerie is the closest one to us,” Nelson said.
All 100 guest rooms and meeting rooms of the Travel Lodge in Gray Summit became headquarters for pool parties, barbecues and rousing good will.
Both hotels in Pacific were full, but the hospitality rooms were booked in Gray Summit because participants can get a little noisy, according to Jerry Eversmeyer, convention chair.
“This event has everything you’d expect,” Eversmeyer said. “It’s a full convention.”
About 600 people were expected to attend the three-day event. Eversmeyer said. The Saturday evening banquet was set for 400.
“Everybody attends the business meetings, but not everyone goes for the pomp and pageantry of the banquet,” Eversmeyer said.
Peggy McDermott chaired the women’s auxiliary meeting, which was held one hour ahead of the men’s meeting to allow Mayor Herb Adams to welcome both conventions.
After doing a tongue-in-cheek monologue about his serenading of the ladies in the next room who were attending the women’s auxiliary convention, Adams welcomed the Eagles from across Missouri and adjoining states to Pacific.
The gathering of men who concentrate on their aeries’ charitable projects was good for Pacific, the mayor said.
“The first time I was asked to welcome this convention to Pacific I had just joined the Eagles,” Adams said. “That was six years ago and I want to tell you that I still have my Eagles card. I’m still a member.”
When he held up his card, Adams received a rousing cheer and a standing ovation.
During the business meetings, Missouri Eagles and auxiliary members dispensed hundreds of thousands of dollars in charitable contributions, gave awards to outstanding Eagles men and women, and elected new state officers.
The Eagles building remains a hub of activity in Pacific year-round, hosting events for the Chamber of Commerce, Meramec Valley School District and Pacific Partnerships as well as private reunions, wedding receptions and meetings.