Superior fish fry is tradition for local Fraternal Order of Eagles chapter

Fried fish, great company, and close friendship have become a well-known tradition each Friday in Superior, Wisc. “We come down just about every Friday, it’s real good,” said Bob Dembroski, a local Eagle member.

Similar to the Lions Club International and Rotary International, the Fraternal Order of Eagles, or Eagles Auxiliary, was founded in 1894 on the premise of volunteerism to put on events that develop community building, and family bonding while benefiting local charities.

The local Eagles chapter in Superior, Wisc. puts on their popular fish fry every Friday each year from September through April.

For a small price, generally under $10, patrons can get fish, shrimp, burgers, or chicken with all proceeds going toward local charities such as local food shelves and St. Jude’s cancer research in children.

The event is put on each week entirely by volunteers who are all members of the Eagles.

Local resident John Shober and his brother come down and take part in the fish fry almost every Friday. Along with eating the popular food, Shober and his brother also pitch in by washing dishes and cleaning tables.

“I love getting the combo, with the fish and the shrimp. It’s real good,” Shober said.

Wes and Jan Keene

Jan Keene and her husband, Wes, are also consistent volunteers every Friday evening. As a dedicated member of 27 years, Jan Keene started off as an Outside Guard member, one of the lowest positions among the Eagle ranks. Later she became a state officer for Wisconsin for 10 years before becoming her local chapter president.

“I love being able to go around and meet all the new faces, and how they help their clubs,” said Keene.

Along with volunteering each Friday at the fish fry, Jan Keene is also the Madame State President for Wisconsin. This is the highest position within each state that a member of the Eagle’s can reach.

The Grand Worthy President, who oversees the entire nationwide organization, must appoint each Madame State President. Also, the candidate must first hold a state officer position, which is voted upon, within their respective states.

As part of her position, Keene goes to all 24 auxiliaries around the state and surveys how each branch is doing.

“The best part of being an Eagle, and Madame State President, is knowing we can help others,” Keene said.

Among the crowd Friday night was the second most tenured Eagle member of the chapter, Lloyd Vandenberg. He has been serving for the Eagles since 1951, and still makes it out to the fish fry to support the cause.

Lloyd Vandenburg preparing food.

“I love the people, they’re all so friendly,” Vandenberg said.

Wes and Jan Keene are just one vital branch of the entire Eagle’s Auxiliary that works hard, but gives it all back.

“The Eagles,” said Wes, “is the best kept secret of all the clubs.”

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