The Penn Yan Elks Lodge 1722 “Just Say No to Drugs Committee” expressed their appreciation to the law enforcement agencies that serve our community by hosting a dinner for them Thursday, March 16.

The Yates County Sheriff’s Office, the Penn Yan Police Dept., and the Dundee Barracks of the N.Y. State Troopers were joined by County Sheriff Ron Spike, Police Chief Mark Hulse, and State Police Station Sgt. Scott Reinard, plus Yates County Judge Jason Cook and District Attorney Valerie Gardner at the dinner.

Following a 48-hour snow storm, the number of officers who were able to attend was lower than expected, but Yates County Emergency Management Director and Elks member Brian Winslow made sure the committee’s thanks to all the officers was deeply expressed, saying,“For what you do to not only keep our kids safe, but keep our entire community safe. Remember, you are appreciated.”

In addition to thanking the Elks kitchen for the excellent meal, featuring prime rib and other special entree choices, Winslow made a particular point of thanking retired Penn Yan Elementary teacher and athletics coach Brian Minor who organizes the dinner and has chaired the Just Say No to Drugs Committee for 22 of its 28-year existence, despite Minor’s reluctance to ever accept such expressions of gratitude in public.

The Just Say No Committee sponsors outreach to the Penn Yan and Marcus Whitman Schools’ 5th graders before their move up to middle school. Some of their efforts include an opening day of school welcome package including a t-shirt, a dictionary, bookmarks, and writing utensils; sponsoring a mobile science laboratory for a 2-day science exploration; tree seedlings for Arbor Day; numerous bowling, pizza, and ice cream parties; a movie theatre field trip; and an end-of-year picnic at the Keuka Lake State Park. The committee also contributes to the PYA Hall of Fame and Christmas charities at The Living Well, purchases basketballs for the winners of the local and district “Hoop Shoot,” and sponsors a boy and a girl for Boys & Girls State each year.