Residents Concerned About Future of Elks Home

Reporter: Lauren Compton l Videographer: R. J. Burnette

Bedford, VA- The Elks Home in Bedford is known for its Christmas lights show. Now, many at the retirement home are worried the historic landmark is going to be sold.

The Elks Home Director admits the Elks Home has fallen on some hard times. Now, they are looking at all their options to keep the doors open for the Elks and the community. And, that could even mean selling.

"It's been here so many years. I really do hate to see it being sold," said Betty Cofflin, a Bedford County resident.

The news of a possible sale of the Elks Home has some concerned. But, it comes as no surprise to some Elks members like Bill McGunness.

"We have to do something. We're in trouble. There is no doubt about it. We don't have the people in here anymore. Something has to be done," said McGuinness.

McGuinness attended the National Elks convention last month, where they made a big decision.

"The Grand Trustees were given the power to either sell the home or lease the home or close the home," said McGuinness.

ABC 13 News caught up with Elks Home Director Ronald Hicks on the phone. He told us, while nothing is set in stone the board is looking at possibly partnering with another organization or a non-profit. And, interest is already out there. Just this week, three potential buyers have called.

Hicks says part of what is fueling the possible sale is that fewer residents are coming to the home to retire, while the cost to run home is going up.

Hicks says the home needs renovations, and is not running at full capacity. But, he says, no matter what happens residents like McGuinness who love the companionship of the Elks community, will be taken care of.

"I came down here to be with Elks. Most of us lived alone. We didn't come here to be taken care of. We came down here because we were living alone," said McGuinness.

Right now about 90 residents live at the home. Next week the Director and the Board of Trustees plan to visit the Elks Home, to talk about this with residents. We will keep you updated.