By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Marlborough – Members of the Marlborough Moose Family Center 1129 celebrated its 100th anniversary with a party Sept. 22, while marking the 60th year at its current location on Fitchburg Street.
Moose International is commonly associated with its slogan: “The Family Fraternity.” Many members were introduced to the organization through family connections, including Steven Ronayne, the administrator of the Marlborough Moose.
“I joined because my father has been a member forever,” he said. “I grew up playing at the Moose.”
His wife, Nancy, is the lodge's bar manager and an active member of the Marlborough Women of the Moose Chapter 657.
“To be a family center, the lodge needs to have functions for children and an area for them to play,” she explained.
Children are treated to several holiday celebrations throughout the year. Members” whole families gather annually for a Family Day.
The lodge hosts annual events for members and guests including a Halloween party. They'se planning to expand this year's gathering from inside the lodge to its backyard, which features a pavilion and picnic tables.
“This year we'se having a big party upstairs and a haunted house in the woods,” Steven said. “It's going to be like the old Spooky World.”
Admission will be nonperishable goods to be donated to the food pantry.
Among ongoing activities for members and guests is Karaoke Night, offered the first Saturday of each month.
“We actually get some good singers,” Nancy said.
Open to the public the third Sunday of each month from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. is Hot Wheels.
“Hot Wheels is for kids – and we get lots of adults, too,” Steven said. “They set up race tracks, and they race and trade matchbox cars. No registration is needed – just show up.”
The Marlborough Moose donates its facilities to Boy Scout Troop 303 for weekly meetings, award ceremonies and outdoor campfires.
Also open to the public is a Senior Citizens Barbecue each summer.
“The Moose was created to help support children and seniors,” Nancy said.
Moose International supports Mooseheart Child City & School, a 1,000-acre campus located 40 miles west of Chicago, for children and teens whose families are unable to care for them for various reasons. Also supported by Moose International is Moosehaven, the home to retired members, located 15 miles south of Jacksonville, Fla.
Projects of Moose International are funded by members” dues and donations. Annual dues among lodges and chapters range from $35 to $100. In Marlborough, the annual dues are $35.
“For every member, it's $35 a year, and $34 of that goes to Moose International,” said Nancy, who has visited the youth at Mooseheart.
“I wish every member could visit Mooseheart,” she said. “They have everything contained in its own little city and it's amazing how well it runs. Our dues help pay to support and raise these children.”
Armand Boulay, a past governor of the Marlborough Moose, agreed.
“We have nothing but great kids there,” he said of Mooseheart. “All you have to do is make the trip down there once and you'sl never give up your membership – I guarantee you.”
Mike Pierce, the current governor, was impressed by Mooseheart youth when they visited for a recent state convention.
“The thing that stuck in mind is how polite they were,” he said. “Sunday morning at the buffet breakfast, these kids walked through and thanked each of the servers individually.”
Also at the convention, the Marlborough Moose received a plaque for “Lodge of the Year.”
Exemplifying this year's Labor Day parade theme, “Volunteers in Service,” Marlborough Moose members rode on a float, which won the Judges Trophy.