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Lowville Elks to host 30th annual father-daughter banquet Wednesday


LOWVILLE — Decades of tradition will continue at Lowville Elks Lodge 1605 as the 30th annual Elks Father-Daughter Banquet is held this Wednesday evening.

Event chairman David W. Cole recalled how the event started in 1983.

“A lot of people were asking me, ‘How come we don’t do anything for the ladies,’” said Mr. Cole, who went to his fellow Elks and asked the same question.

“They told me if I wanted to do it, I could be the chairman,” he stated.

Though he had no daughters of his own, Mr. Cole got the event started.

“Thirty years later, here I am,” he said.

Mr. Cole still chairs the event with the help of a 10-member committee who, he said, “All do a great job.”

He is also assisted by one of his three sons, Darrin A. Cole, who as co-chairman, is responsible for organizing the guest speakers each year.

“He does all the research,” the elder Mr. Cole said, “He gets them here.”

This year’s speaker is U.S. Olympian and Remsen native Erin Hamlin, the 2009 Luge World Champion and five-time U.S. National Champion.

Miss Hamlin said she is looking forward to speak at the event and that it is an “opportunity to share my experiences with people from home.”

“I am excited to bring a positive message to young girls from upstate New York and encourage them to have the ambition for things they may not believe they are able to accomplish, being from small town areas. My sport has taken me many places I never thought I would get to and help me experience so much,” she said, admitting, “I was in their shoes not too long ago so it’s great to feel as though I can make a difference.”

The speeches of the guests were something Cassie Robbins-Forbus remembered fondly about her years attending the banquet. Though she couldn’t recall the speakers’ names, she could recall their message.

“Their message was always one of support and love from their father,” she said. Often, the speaker would have their own father in attendance, as well.

“I remember one figure skater. She told how her dad would take her to practice at 4:30 in the morning. She was tearing up when she said it because it meant that much to her success,” Mrs. Robbins-Forbus said.

At age 12, however, she heard who would become her favorite speaker.

“I remember she worked for NASA. She wasn’t an astronaut, but she gave us something to aspire to be. As a young girl, that meant a lot,” she said.

She also recalled the diverse backgrounds the women came from.

“It was nice to see the variety over the years, but they all had one thing in common. They were strong, powerful women,” she stated.

Wednesday night’s dinner will start at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at the Lowville Elks Lodge, 5600 Shady Ave., at a cost of $10 for adults, and $7 for high school students and younger.

“This fun event always sells out,” said Mr. Cole. “You’ll need to get your tickets in advance.”

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