There are some happy eagles in Lehigh Acres today and they are not the flying kind.
They are the Eagles, a fraternal organization of 450 to 500 members and they are flying high because they have settled and are purchasing their Eagles post home at 607 Williams Ave.
They have been renting the large building for a while and had first option to purchase home and members are delighted, they say, because the payments are now less than the rent.
Richard Regnier, vice president of the officers of the Eagles, outside the building being bought.
Eagles members want everyone in Lehigh know that their creed is "People Helping People." Their club began in Lehigh in April of 1980 with 65 members without a home or post of their own.
Now they are located in the Town Center just off Williams St.
After meeting at first in the VFW post, they began meeting in a site in the Lehigh Towne Center off of Alabama and Homestead roads that was later to become a furniture store, and then to a small building behind China Star restaurant.
"Now we have reached our goals after renting this property for three years. With the first option to purchase, we decided to buy with the full support of the membership," said Bob Mackiewicz, a member of the board of trustees who operate the club.
Other members of the board of trustees include John Herb, Bob Vermay, Chris Holmes and Russ Waybright.
The building was first constructed by I&E Realty and Mackiewicz said three restaurants have occupied the building. But the restaurant businesses, as good as they were, had chosen a wrong site for such a business.
The Eagles are an organization of men and women who want to spend time together to relax, talk, and in some cases on certain days play Bingo. There is a large bar at the Eagles post and members of the public are invited to attend their events if accompanied by a member.
"Then after that, after about three visits, we invite the person to become a member, that is if they like it here with a great crowd of people," Mackiewicz said.
The building has a full-sized kitchen and plenty of tables for lunches and other meals and functions. Meals are usually served on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 5 to 7 p.m.
The Eagles new home is probably the largest of fraternal organizations in Lehigh, competing in size with the American Legion Post.
The Eagles participate in local charitable events by holding golf tournaments and giving help to Hope Hospice.
Entertainment is provided at the Eagles' new post every Friday with karaoke, a DJ and live entertainment and there is no cover charge for members and their guests.
"We give to local charities such as the local Little League and Pop Warner teams and we help to fund diabetes research.
They participate in other causes as well. Max Bear is ahead of the heart fund, Mackiewicz said.
One of the people who helped greatly in the purchase of the Eagles new home is Bill Vernay Jr., who has moved to Georgia. Mackiewicz said Vernay is a real estate agent and through his business dealing helped to make the purchase possible.
"He picked up the ball and ran with it," he said.
Officers of the Eagles are president, Pat Wyskochil; vice president, Richard Regnier; secretary, Melissa Vaughan; and treasurer, Theresa LaGreca.
Regnier said the Eagles are always looking for new members. An application is $15 and dues are $30 a year.
"We can promise them that there is a great bunch of members here and we are all like family," Regnier said.
The Eagles also have their own women's auxiliary that is an important part of the club, Regnier said.
Auxiliary president is Trish Herb and membership includes more than 180 women. They are mainly responsible for the Bingo games on Thursdays at the post. Bingo begins at 11:30 a.m.
"We in the auxiliary are like family and we look out for each other," said Paula Powers, a member of the auxiliary.