Elks gathering deer hides for veterans’ leather program
Iowa’s Elks Lodges lead the nation in the collection of deer hides for salting, tanning and distribution to veterans’ homes.
Fairfield Elks Lodge No. 1192 is now collecting hides for the veterans leather program. Local Elk Tom Silvers, who’s also heading up the program for all of southeast Iowa, hopes to collect 500 hides from the Fairfield area.
Last year, Fairfield’s collection waned to 360 hides after several years of collecting 500 or more. Iowa Elks collected more than 4,000 hides last year.
The program has taken place annually in Iowa for more than 10 years. It originated in Arizona in 1946.
The collection of hides takes place throughout the deer-hunting season. Collection sites have been established at The Nelson Company, Oakwood Nursery, A&K Feed Store of Birmingham, Stockport Lumber’s old location in Stockport, Keosauqua Lumber of Keosauqua, Libertyville Co-op of Libertyville, P.P.’s Gun Shop of Batavia, Brighton Locker of Brighton and Kinney & Sons Excavating of Mount Pleasant.
Volunteers regularly collect and salt the hides to preserve them until tanning. The salt has been donated by local businesses.
The salted hides are then shipped to a tannery and eventually distributed to veterans’ hospitals and homes in Iowa, including those in Marshalltown, Knoxville and Des Moines, and across the nation.
For the complete article, see the Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010, printed edition of The Ledger.