Eileen Palmieri has spent the last year serving as the 100th Worthy Grand Matron of the Order of the Eastern Star and ended her term during meetings of the group held from May 27-30.
The Worthy Grand Matron is the highest position a member can meet in the order.
“We are a fraternal organization. I joined the Golden Chapter 25 in 1995,” Palmieri said.
She was elected to a position in 2008 during meetings and has worked her way through the years. The organization does a great deal of fundraising with a special focus on cancer fundraising.
“Since about 1945 our focus has been on cancer activities. Small groups in each chapter have created over 23 million cancer dressings. These dressings are distributed, free of charge to cancer patients,” she said.
“At the same time our ‘stamp out cancer’ stamp collection program has helped raise $500,000 for research.”
As for Palmieri, being a part of the group over the years has been very important for her.
“The journey to the position began four years ago. It is a four year term from start to finish. It is involvement and when my term is completed I will still be an active member of the order,” she said.
“I like the traditional work. I enjoy the fraternalism. We are treated like a family. Every person’s journey and involvement is as different as there are members.”
Palmieri explained her mother was a member of the group and at the start of her year she took a special paragliding flight in memory of her mother.
“She was a member. It was wonderful and I would do it again in a heartbeat,” she said.
Now that her journey as Worthy Grand Matron is coming to an end, Palmieri has mixed feelings.
“I am excited, relieved. There is a whole mix of emotions just like when you are elected. You start off excited then overwhelmed by what it all means to your life and your spouse’s life. I couldn’t have done this without his support,” she said. “I feel a sense of accomplishment now that some of the things that I wanted to do have been completed.”
Palmieri has spent much of the past year travelling to visit each of the chapters in the province while also attending many other special events.
Each year the Worthy Grand Matron gets to pick a special project to work on during her time in the position. Palmieri’s special project was raisingmoney for the BC Children’s Hospital to purchase three specific items.
“One of my grandchildren was there when she was a child,” she said. “The total of the items we chose was $49,250. As of April 28 we have received donations of $31,521.91. There will still be donations coming in until the summer.”
Palmieri also wanted to thank all of the people who have helped raise funds during her session.
“It has been overwhelming. The enthusiasm and support of members and non-members has been overwhelming.”
If you are interested in donating old stamps to help raise money for cancer dressings you can drop them off with any Eastern Star member, with Cheryl Schier at Remax in Golden or call 250-344-6782.