Their numbers make them more rare than their four-legged namesakes. But the members of Happy Valley Lodge No. 5 of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes are a spirited lot who are doing good things in their community.
The Langford-based group, which meets out of Gilbert Cade Hall on Sunderland Road on the first and third Mondays of the month, has donated thousands of dollars to various community groups in recent months.
As Worthy Primo – he’s kind of like the lodge president – Craig Wilson can attest, the group gets the most out of its fundraising efforts. Most of the money they raise comes from the meat draws and 50/50 raffles they hold at Bucky’s Taphouse pub on Sooke Road. Other fundraisers include community dinners held every so often at the hall.
Donations this year have gone to Langford Fastball, the Synergy Group competitive skipping team, Jeneece Place and the Westshore Rebels football team. At Christmastime they support CFAX Santas Anonymous, with a focus on West Shore families.
“Our main focus as Buffaloes are kids and children’s charities,” said Wilson. “That’s why I like the club.”
He’s been a member for most of his adult life, joining about 30 years ago when he was in his early 20s. His girlfriend at the time was a friend of the family of longtime Buffaloes member and Langford resident Roy Tennant, whose enthusiasm about the club and his community convinced Wilson to join.
The Happy Valley Lodge had been struggling to find new members, like many service clubs, but Wilson happily reports a cluster of five newcomers was installed this year, bringing the membership up to 14 or 15. Extra volunteers help when it comes to doing the fundraising and keeping the hall and surrounding grounds in shape, he said.
Cade Hall will be busy this weekend, as the Happy Valley Lodge hosts a series of provincial and regional meetings with members of lodges in Nanaimo and Medicine Hat.
It’s the 70th anniversary of the formation of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and “brothers” from lodges in Nanaimo and Medicine Hat, Alta. are participating.
“We’re one of the original lodges in B.C.,” Wilson said. The group moved out to Langford from Victoria in the 1950s and was centred at the Luxton Fairgrounds in the building that currently houses the museum. The club secured an old army barracks building some years later and moved it to Sunderland Road, where it shares the space with the Langford 50-Up Club.
The Buffaloes’ popular meat draws, which happen every Saturday afternoon for five months, are tentatively due to start in mid-October. The lodge is in the process of applying for a longer-term permit, Wilson said, to be able to spread out its community donations.
To find out more about the Royal Order of Buffaloes, visit them online at raob.ca or call 250-474-5955.