A brief history of Branch 54 is in order to explain the significant contributions that Eldon and Eric have made. Lewis-Clark Antique Power Club was established in 1978 as Branch 7 of EDGE&TA and charter members were mostly from Lewiston, Idaho and Clarkston, Washington. Eldon and Eric were members (Eric was only 11 years old at the time but he never missed a meeting). Eldon was elected to the secretary/treasure position in 1979 and continued up into the mid-80s when Branch 7 became inactive. In 1992 an impromptu meeting was called and with a small nucleus of former members of Branch 7 the Lewis-Clark Antique Power Club became active again as Branch 54. Eldon and Eric were among the small nucleus restarting the club. Eric is given credit as the “spark plug” igniting renewed interest in the club. Eldon was again elected secretary/treasurer and served in this capacity until 1998.
So, it is natural that Eldon and Eric have been referred to as the “glue” that holds Branch 54 together. Others have referred to them as the “heart beat” of the club. There is no doubt that together they have contributed immeasurably to the success of Branch 54 which now has more than 200 members. Much credit goes to them for recruiting new members and under Eric’s presidency a club brochure was created to enhance recruiting.
Eldon, besides being secretary/treasurer for many years, served on the Board of Directors and is the club’s historian. Further, he is always at the front of the line when workers (volunteers) are needed. As an example, Eldon managed the club’s pedal tractor-raffle for many years.
Eric’s service to the club is also exemplary. Over the years he and Eldon have been a constant when it comes to attending shows, fairs, tractor drives, plow days, participation in parades, and representing the club. No member would deny that Eldon and Eric are among the most active members in Branch 54, if not the most active. Eric, with Eldon’s help, edited and published our club newsletter in the early years, served on the Board of Directors, was the vice-president from 2006-2008 and served as president from 2009-2011. From 2012-2013 he was again on the Board of Directors as immediate past-president. Further, Eric was the safety officer for the last several years.
Eldon and Eric collected engines and tractors together. Eldon owned a small airplane up until his failing eye sight became a factor. The two of them would use the airplane to look for “old iron.” Flying low over the country side provided them with a “birds-eye-view” of fence rows and tree groves where old equipment goes to die. On occasion they have surprised members by asking them about an old tractor or engine that they spotted in their neighborhood that they didn’t know existed. And, they used the plane to make traveling to regional shows quick work.
By profession Eldon was a bank examiner for the state of Idaho and perhaps this explains his willingness to serve as club secretary/treasurer for so many years. However, his early “roots” trace back to rural north-central Kansas. No doubt his interest in machinery came from there and helps explain his interest in “early-year,alphabet” John Deere tractors to include model GPs and Ds. You would not believe the effort they exerted to bring a model GP John Deere tractor back to life.
Eric on the other hand grew up in Idaho under the influence of his dad. They both had an affinity for garage and yard sales and any and all farm machinery and engines. Professionally Eric was a trained auto mechanic having graduated from Lewis-Clark State College in 1987 with an associate’s degree. His talents contributed heavily to the mechanical and cosmetic restorations of engines and tractors that he and his dad collected over the years. Eric was the club’s “go-to-guy” for technical help with restoration questions and gave advice freely.
Together Eldon and Eric attended many EDGE&TA meetings, especially in the northwest. They last attended the National EDGE&TA meeting in Montana in 2012. Further, they regularly attended the shows in Brooks, Oregon; Central Washington Agriculture Museum in Union Gap, WA; and attended and participate in spring farming days at the Eastern Washington Agriculture Museum in Pomeroy, Washington.
Eldon’s wife and Eric’s mother, Carlotta, also got involved with the club. For many years she served as the club’s “Sun-Shine” person. She wrote many get-well, congratulations, and sympathy cards to members. And, if Carlotta was the “Sun-Shine” lady Eldon can be classified as the “Good-Humor” man! You will never catch Eldon without a smile and a story.
Eldon and Eric’s nomination is submitted with utmost respect by the current Board of Directors and officers of Branch 54, Lewis-Clark Antique Power Club, Inc.