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Elks Cares: Warming hearts and warming hands

Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 3:47 PM CST
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - A local organization needs help from deer hunters. Nebraskan Elks Lodges is asking hunters to donate their deer hides so they can make gloves for veterans in wheelchairs. The North Platte Elks Lodge #985 is one of eighteen lodges collecting deer hides for disabled veterans.

“We have a saying with the Elks, as long as there are veterans, we will never forget them,” said Keith Neilson, State President of Nebraska Elks Association. “We try to focus on our local veterans. These hides also go into craft kits as well for our veterans.”

The Elks Lodge #985 has a location behind its building at 502 Easy Street for hunters to salt, fold, and leave their hides.

“We don’t want any heads or feet. The biggest thing I find is hunters don’t slit the throat,” said Neilson. “We provide the salt. All they have to do is bring their hides, put them on the table, add a good coat of salt, fold it up, and put it on the palettes next to the building. After that, we prepare them for shipment.”

The Elks Lodge #985 will be collecting deer hides until about two weeks after the late season. In recent years, they report as many 2,400 hides have come out of Nebraska to make gloves for disabled veterans.

“We couldn’t do this without our deer hunters,” said Neilson. “We appreciate everything they do so we can provide for our veterans.”

The Elks Lodge #985 is very active in the North Platte community. In addition to the deer hide program, the Elks Lodge has various programs in the local schools including a dictionary program, volunteers assisting students with reading, an Americanism essay contest, and drug awareness programs.

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