Manistee Moose puts in hands for community efforts

Abigale Racine/News Advocate Ron Kaminski, acting administrator for Moose Lodge #1128, has been actively involved with the fraternity since 1968.

Abigale Racine/News Advocate
Ron Kaminski, acting administrator for Moose Lodge #1128, has been actively involved with the fraternity since 1968.

MANISTEE – Ron Kaminski passionately believes in the mission that the Loyal Order of the Moose stands for, which is why he has dedicated countless service hours with the organization since 1968.

The mission of the Loyal Order of the Moose reads: “We are an international organization of men and women – dedicated to caring for children in need, looking out for senior members, bringing communities closer together and celebrating life.”

Kaminski, a Manistee native, joined the organization when he was 22 years old, fresh out of the army, and returning from Japan.

He was named the 2011-2012 Moose of the Year for the State of Michigan, and is serving as an acting administrator for the Manistee County Moose, Lodge No. 1128 and Chapter No. 2315- located at 1010 Robinson St.

MNA: Who are the Moose?

KAMINSKI: As an international organization, we are a million-plus men and women that look forward to the activities we share and support firmly the beliefs we hold. Our lodge has 190 members and we are a family in the way we come together and grow together. We are the people whose first thought isn’t, “What’s in this for me?’, it’s ‘What can I do to help?”

MNA: When was the Moose founded?

KAMINSKI: The international organization was founded in 1888, but the Manistee lodge was built in 1946.

MNA: Has the lodge always been at this location?

KAMINSKI: Yes, or at least, it has remained on the same lot. The original building was in the northwest corner of the lot, and it burnt down on Nov. 22, 1963, the same day JFK was killed. This building was built and was up and running in under a year.

MNA: How would you describe your experience with the organization?

KAMINISKI: Quite rewarding, I like what we stand for and do, which is mostly community service and caring for children in need. I come from a family of 12 children, and I have five children myself. They are grown and gone now; my youngest will be turning 35 in October. I have made so many friendships across the state, through my many travels, because of the Moose.

MNA: Do you know why a moose was chosen to symbolize the organization?

KAMINSKI: The moose was chosen as a standard for the fraternity because the animal was said to be, “Strong and majestic; guarding within a defending circle of the younger members of his herd, and battling stubbornly for the protection of his own. To live he does not destroy his fellow life. He takes only what he needs; he robs not his fellows. He lays no waste and despoils no homes and he loves freedom.”

MNA: How does the fraternity aid Manistee County?

KAMINSKI: We roll up our sleeves and make a difference, putting our own hands in community efforts, such as blood drives, fundraisers for Salvation Army, Relay for Life, Muscular Dystrophy, Adopt a Highway, youth awareness and so much more. Nationally, an average of $80 million in donations are brought to local communities through the Moose organization. Recently, we just helped raise $3,000 for Relay for Life.

MNA: How are the Women of the Moose involved?

KAMINSKI: The Women of the Moose are just as involved as the men on the same projects. They have their own fundraisers and causes as well.

MNA: What is your proudest moment, in association with the group?

KAMINSKI: There are many proud moments in my 46 year association, but one of the proudest examples of Moose’s service to humanity is Mooseheart, which is funded by the men and women of the Moose. Mooseheart Child City & School is a residential and educational childcare facility located outside Chicago. It is targeted toward children in need, inspiring second chances and brighter futures. I was visiting the campus, about 30 years ago. I bought some hard candy from a store there, and this little blonde girl ran up to me, jumped into my arms, wrapped herself around my neck and asked, “Are you my daddy?”

In a way, I felt like it was because we helped raised funds to help better her life. I still tear up when I think about that moment.

MNA: How does one become a member of the Moose?

KAMINSKI: You have to be a citizen of the United States, you have to be 21 years of age, have an understanding of the duties and responsibilities of a Moose member, express belief in a supreme being, and you have to be invited by a Moose member.