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photoThe Twisp Eagles started in 1946.

Playing for Good
Twisp Eagles

In Twisp, Eagles go underground to eat, drink, visit, play games of chance, and put their money back into the community. The Eagles are “a private fraternal organization . . . of people helping people,” according to Club President Michael Hanley Sr.

Profit from the food and games might add up to a couple thousand dollars on a really busy night. On a slower night, like last Friday, it will hover around $300 to $400, Hanley said.

photoClub President Michael Hanley Senior reads a bingo ball for players.

“Summer is the busiest” said Lindsey Bryson, the gambling and bar manager. “Sometimes half are from the west side.” “We have a pretty good turnout,” during this season also said long-time Eagles’ Auxiliary member Verleigh Schachtschneider on Friday nights at the Eagles Hall - usually about 30 people.

A big fund-raiser comes next weekend, October 13: centered on food and drink, not gambling. The Legion Auxiliary’s annual chicken dinner started at 5 p.m. It traditionally pulls in many hunters. “It’s the Auxiliary’s main money-maker, said Schachtschneider. Money from the dinner generally goes to the Cove, Jamie’s Place and Room One: “All the money we makes goes back to the community, “ she added.

Profits from bingo, joker poker, and bottle raffle also support things like scholarships and cancer charities. Profits from pull tabs go back to the organization, for projects such as remodeling their building and replacing carpeting.

Aerie 2584, the Twisp organization, started in 1946. The last surviving charter member, Leonard Earl Dicus, died last month.

The Aerie 2584 building in Twisp was originally planned to stand taller than it does, with an above-ground story. But that never happened, and the Twisp Eagles meet in what was to have been the basement—underground—in a comfortable space with wooden furniture and no windows. Gaming equipment, a bar, long tables as well as a kitchen and smaller booths fill the space.

photoBingo isn't the only game of chance played at the Twisp Eagles.

Last Friday, Hanley was calling the bingo game, a duty shared with Renee Williams. A machine blew air into a glass box containing light balls with bingo combinations such as B-21 or O-17 written on them. The balls flew around like crazy - Hanley would reach into the glass box blindly, grab one, and read out the combination.

Bingo was gone from Aerie 2584 for a while. “Years ago they had bingo,” said Schachtschneider, “then they sold the boards to Winthrop.” The Winthrop Red Barn sold the bingo equipment back to the Eagles about four years ago.

The “Fraternal Order of Eagles International” was founded on February 6, 1898 in Seattle, according to Wikipedia, “by six theater owners sitting on a pile of lumber in Moran's shipyard in Seattle. They were competitors who had come together to discuss a musicians’ strike. After deciding how to handle the strike, they agreed to ‘bury the hatchet’ and form an organization dubbed, "The Order of Good Things." That eventually evolved into a large and powerful group that had a lot to do with the establishment of Mother’s Day and of Social Security.

photoA bingo card awaits its player.

The following paragraph is from a letter was written October 25, 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to past Fraternal Order of Eagles Grand Worthy President John M. Morin: “I am very glad to give you as the representative of the Fraternal Order of Eagles a pen with which I signed the Social Security Securities Act. The measure will directly benefit 30,000,000 of our citizens by its provisions, among which are those for unemployment insurance and for Old Age Pensions. Its broad purpose is to “give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age.”

The first women’s auxiliary started up in 1927 in Pittsburg, Kansas. By 1951, an amendment to the Grand Aerie Laws passed unanimously, establishing a Grand Auxiliary. In March of that year, 965 local Eagles’ Auxiliaries had been established, with 130,000 members according to Wikipedia.

Now, about 1,500 cities and town throughout the U.S. and Canada have Eagles organizations. Aerie #1 is still operating in Seattle.


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