Where do kids of drug-dependent parents, or adults unable to care for them go in Rim Country? One organization in Star Valley has an answer -- the Moose Heart Home for Children in Chicago, founded in 1913.
Greater Payson Moose Lodge Administrator Bill Dickerson said that the local branch of the Moose Lodge has sent about 12 children, who otherwise might have had to be placed by the state into foster homes, to their facility outside of Chicago. There they receive schooling, continuance of the religion of their choice and emotional support and counseling they might not get elsewhere.
The 500-member strong non-profit group has been in Rim Country for about 30 years, and the national organization was founded over 100 years ago, Dickerson said.
Since its founding, the national organization has taken care of the needs of more than 22,000 children.
Locally they award two $500 scholarships every year to deserving high school students, perform road cleanup on a voluntary basis for the Arizona Department of Transportation and host Christmas, Halloween and Easter parties for local children and their families every year.
"We belong to the community, that's our philosophy, we are here to help in any way we can," Dickerson said.
The Moose have weekly meetings for male members as well as the women's auxiliary unit called Women of the Moose Lodge.
Last year, the national organization raised and donated over $22 million.
Also, all Moose lodges in the nation raised more than $110 million last year for Yellowstone National Park and their campaign to aid families of United Flight 93 after 9/11.
So the next time you wonder what is going to happen to kids in troubled or difficult situations, take heart, the spirit of giving and helping is alive and well in the personage of the Greater Payson Moose Lodge.
Greater Payson Moose Lodge
Officers: Governor Steve Bell, Administrator Brian Dickerson, Junior Governor Terry Oakley, Chaplain John Wurtzel
Trustees: Jeff Wantland, Bill Newell and Gary Shupp
Contact information: Brian Dickerson (928) 978-5176, or (928) 474-6212
Group's purpose: To serve the people and communities of Rim Country.
To join: call Brian Dickerson (928) 978-5176, or (928) 474-6212.
Meeting dates: Every Tuesday at 6 p.m. at 4511 E. Highway 260 in Star Valley.
Members: More than 300 male and 200 female members locally.