STEVENSVILLE — The Kent Island Elks, Lodge 2576, in Stevensville hosted a pig roast Saturday, Nov. 9, in memory of the lodge’s late Past Exalted Ruler Bernie Tomardy, who died in 2014 from complications of throat cancer.
Tomardy served as exalted ruler during the 2006 — 2007 year. He earned a reputation for loving to feed people who visited the lodge great food. He was an excellent cook. On pizza nights, you could always count on getting a pizza with the most cheese you’d ever seen in your life — to skimping on that ingredient.
“Bernie had always talked to me about hosting a pig roast,” said KI Elks member and professional barbecue specialist Eddie Cadle. He and his wife Melanie roasted several pigs for the event, as pulled-pork was served with all the trimmings.
“I wanted to do this in Bernie’s memory,” Cadle said.
The pig roast was a benefit to raise funds for the ongoing Pearl Harbor Restoration Project, which Is supported by the Elks National Foundation. Past Grand Exalted Ruler Mike Luhr asked all Elks across the nation to donate exactly $1 each to the project. If that goal were reached, $783,000 would be raised.
With more than 700 current members, the KI Elks lodge came close to almost doubling the amount asked for. The Tomardy benefit raised $1,351 to be sent to the Pearl Harbor fund, just under $2 per member.
In addition to the meal, the popular Chris Sacks Band played from 7 to 10 p.m. Raffles were held, and other games of chance helped add to the funds.
As the evening came to a close, a recording of Bernie Tomardy’s voice played what is known as the “11th Hour Toast,” where a tribute to all Elks members past and present is made, stating that all “Elk members will never be forgotten.” Tomardy, who for many years served as a local DJ, performed in that role many times at the KI Elks Lodge over the years. He recorded the “11th Hour Toast,” and he played it at all Elks functions he worked.
“When everyone heard Bernie’s voice saying those words, many who were here had tears in their eyes,” said Past Exalted Ruler George Tunnicliff. “It was a very powerful moment. No one was told beforehand that was going to happen.”
Tomardy’s wife, B.J., and daughter, Mandy Tomardy, were present and supplied the recordings.
The toast was followed by playing another recording of a song Tomardy always played behind it, titled “Remember When,” performed by Alan Jackson. The moment was a solemn remembrance of Bernie Tomardy.
If members of the public would like to contribute to the Pearl Harbor National Memorial Restoration Project, donations can be mailed to: Elks National Foundation, 2750 N. Lakeview Ave., Chicago, IL, 60614-2256. The Elks National Foundation is a registered 501(c)3.