James McKinley, a member of Moose Lodge 1052 in Nanaimo, will be presented with the Pilgrim Degree of Merit on Oct. 22. It is the highest degree of the Loyal Order of Moose. (KARL YU/The News Bulletin)

Nanaimo man to receive Loyal Order of Moose’s highest degree

Jim McKinley will receive the Pilgrim Degree of Merit at a special ceremony this month

A Nanaimo man has been conferred with the highest honour available to a member of the Loyal Order of the Moose.

Jim McKinley, Nanaimo Lodge No. 1052 member for 57 years, received the service organization’s Pilgrim Degree of Merit on June 3 at its headquarters at Mooseheart, Ill. The honour is awarded for exceptional service.

McKinley said the lodge has helped schools, the food bank and the community. It used to focus on donating to B.C. Children’s Hospital, but changed focus five years ago to helping local children.

“Working to donate money has been the biggest one … One of the Moose International’s projects is Special Olympics, and I was treasurer of them for three years here locally and I’ve been on trips with them, I have done volunteer work with them and this has all been through the Moose,” said McKinley.

The order operates its Mooseheart residential childcare facility for children in need and visiting there was unforgettable, said McKinley.

“There’s so many memorable [moments],” said McKinley. “I think going to Mooseheart, our child city, is the best we could ever do because you see children that, for one reason or another, need help and the lodges support the children, so I’ve done four or five trips … you really see some nice young kids that are getting help by all our fraternity. Our endowment collection goes into that and helps the children at Mooseheart and the seniors at Moosehaven (retirement village in Florida).”

As for the degree, McKinley said he’s happy to be part of the select few awarded.

“I was absolutely shocked when I got the information,” said McKinley. “There’s so few given it. Out of the whole Moose fraternity, the ceiling is approximately 3,000. So the ones that go in have replaced someone that has already been. You don’t know how you’re getting it or when you’re getting it or anything like that.”

A special ceremony for McKinley will take place at Moose Lodge 1052 on Cranberry Avenue in Nanaimo on Oct. 22 at 2 p.m.; the ceremony is open to the public.


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