RANSON – The Charles Town Moose Lodge 948 celebrated a milestone anniversary of 75 years Saturday night, making it one of the oldest and most successful such lodges in the state.

“We’re doing very well,” said Keith Fridley, 62, a trustee for the lodge and a member for more than 40 years. “We have 1,700 men members and 1,300 women members.”

About 450 people attended the celebration at the 10-acre Moose Lodge on 77 Universal Forest Product Road. Part of that event was the awarding of $23,000 in donations from lodge members, to nine community organizations.

On hand to accept $1,000 “Heart of the Community” awards were Bob Shefner, executive director of Jefferson County Community Ministries; Charles Town Police Chief Chris Kutcher; Ranson Police Chief William Roper; Sheriff Peter Dougherty; Craig Horning of Make a Wish Foundation; and Amy White, the founder and director of PurposeFULL Paws, a nonprofit that trains assistance dogs to work with disabled individuals. Brenda Fauble picked up a $5,000 check for Relay For Life of Jefferson County.

Bill Przelenski, territorial Moose manager for the state of West Virginia, accepted a donation of $10,000 for the West Virginia House at the Mooseheart school in Chicago and $2,000 for Moosehaven, a retirement community near Jacksonville, Fla.

A special ritual ceremony welcoming new members BJ Mercer, Garrett Wallace, Casey Billmyer, Jess Runion, Ken Binder and Dyane Grafton started the celebration. “Normally, Moose members just fill out an application form,” Fridley said. “This was a special occasion.”

Later, attendees enjoyed a special dinner and got to dance to music by the Dean Crawford Band and the Dunn’s River Band.

The Loyal Order of the Moose is a fraternal and service organization founded in 1888 and headquartered in Mooseheart, Ill. It has about one million male members. Its associated female organization, Women of the Moose, has more than 400,000 members.

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