The Grand Priory of the Hospitallier Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem will honor several local groups on Sept. 15. Four community groups will receive contributions, while numerous Idyllwild citizens will be given medals for their wonderful community service work and honored at a black tie dinner that evening at the Creekstone Inn, according to Karen Cantrell, secretary general for the United States Grand Priory of the Hospitallier Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem, a Christian ecumenical order worldwide.
The order is headquartered in Malta. Its Grand Chancellor, Max Ellul, will be attending the event and the evening dinner. This is its second investiture in the U.S., according to Cantrell, who has organized both.
She, who owns a ladies golf apparel shop in Palm Desert and property near Poppet Flat, helped selected the beneficiaries.
The Idyllwild Volunteer Fire Company will receive $1,400 at the ceremony at the Queen of Angel Catholic Church in Idyllwild and the same amount for the next nine years, Cantrell said.
“It was disbelief,” said Dan Messina of the Volunteers. “It was too good to be true. That kind of generosity doesn’t come often.”
The Idyllwild Volunteers plan to use the fund to buy safety gear for their members, according to Messina. “We’ve been limited to the number of people because of finances,” he said.
Other recipients include the High Valley Mountain Disaster Team ($500), the Idyllwild School smARTS program ($200) and the Queen of Angels Catholic Church ($500).
Cantrell consciously chose Idyllwild as the location of the second U.S. investiture for the Hospitallier Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem. In September 2011, the order held its first investiture at the Mission Inn in Riverside.
“We’re flattered that they found us deserving,” said John Wilson, President of the High Valley Team. “I really appreciate the generosity of a group like this.”
The Mountain Disaster Team needs the funds to improve its communication and readiness for disaster. Wilson said, “We desperately need radios.”
“Idyllwild is another side of California,” Cantrell said. “It’s not the ocean nor missions. There are people with good hearts, hard working and lonely.”
The official investiture service will be from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Saturday Sept. 15 at the Queen of Angels Catholic Church. It is free to the public.
“We encourage the community to attend and see these wonderful people being honored,” Cantrell said. “Chivalry is not dead.”