Bremerton Eagles President and former Kitsap County Sheriff Pat Jones is going to get new fraternity members one way or another.
“Pat says when people come in here he’s going to handcuff them until they join,” Bremerton Eagles Trustee Les Mus laughed.
The Fraternal Order of Eagles #192 is hosting a membership drive tomorrow in their newly renovated facility on the corner of 6th Street and Washington Avenue in downtown Bremerton.
“We’re trying to make the open house and membership drive really fun,” Jones said.
The membership drive is 9 a.m. to midnight and there will be karaoke, a poker tournament, live band, food and drinks throughout the event.
The Eagles also are using the membership drive to show off the renovated bar and lounge areas.
The organization spent two years laying new floors, painting and revamping the aging facility. The Eagles built and moved into the building in 1941 and not much had changed over the years.
“We covered up a lot of green 1940s linoleum,” Jones said.
The Eagles also revamped the event hall, which Jones said has one of the largest dance floors in Kitsap County. Many people rent the facility for weddings or other events and it’s even more popular post-renovation.
“It did bring us more business through weddings, receptions and parties,” he said. “That put us back in the black. A lot of people have gotten married here.”
Mus said the organization thought about building an entirely new facility, but they decided to revamp their current building and be a part of the downtown revitalization.
A new sign also adorns the building. The old sign just said F.O.E. #192, but the members voted to replace that sign with one that says Eagles so people will know what the building is.
“I think in the long run it’ll make a difference,” Mus said.
There are currently about 400 Eagles in the Bremerton chapter, but Jones said they’ve had thousands of members in years past.
“We had some pretty tough years here,” Mus said.
The Bremerton Eagles is no longer a men-only organization either. Women can now join the fraternity.
The ladies auxiliary has been around a while and remains popular, boasting about 250 members.
Throughout its 108-year history, the Eagles have supported various local and national causes and organizations. The national Eagles organization is currently attempting to raise $25 million to build a research wing at the University of Iowa dedicated to diabetes research.
“We do a lot of fundraising for that,” Jones said.
The Bremerton Eagles avidly raise money for the Bremerton Foodline and support other local causes and organizations as well.
They host special events for their members like breakfasts, dinners and Taco Tuesdays at the downtown Bremerton building.
“Ninety-five percent of what we do here is all volunteer work,” Mus said.
People who join the Bremerton Eagles tomorrow at the membership drive will pay a reduced price of $20, while the normal cost is $51.
Eagles annual dues are $36.
“You can’t beat our price. $36 a year. You can’t beat that,” Jones said.
Men and women 18 and older can join the organization and Jones said he hopes tomorrow’s membership drive is a success.
“We’d like to get back up over 1,000 members,” he said. “The bigger we get, the more people that join, the more we can do for the community.”