On Fourth of July of this year, The Fraternal Order of Eagles #3566 dedicated the grand opening of the Wendell F. Rice building located in Valrico. Rice, whom the building is being dedicated to, first joined the Eagles in 1974 when it was located off of 22nd St. in Tampa.

The Fraternal Order of Eagles (F.O.E.) is an international nonprofit organization uniting fraternally in the spirit of liberty, truth, justice and equality, to make human life more desirable by lessening its ills and promoting peace, prosperity, gladness and hope. The Brandon chapter of the group recently celebrated with a building dedication.

Six theater owners gathered in a Seattle shipyard to discuss a musician’s strike founded by the F.O.E. in February 1898. After addressing the matter, they agreed to “bury the hatchet” and form ‘The Order of Good Things.’ As numbers grew, members selected the bald eagle as the official emblem and changed the name to ‘The Fraternal Order of Eagles.’

Currently, the F.O.E. has 800,000 members and more than 1,500 locations across the United States and Canada. “The Brandon F.O.E. has 52 charter members and we hold fundraising events throughout the year to help support local and national charities,” said Steve King of F.O.E. #3566.

“People helping people” is a statement that guides the charitable actions of the F.O.E.

“On the fourth of July of this year, we dedicated the grand opening of the Wendell F. Rice building,” King said. “We purchased the building a couple of years ago. We changed the layout from an office building to a flexible building. This building is meant to provide the community with another option to hold special functions like weddings, birthdays, etc.”

Rice, whom the building is being dedicated to, first joined the Eagles in 1974 when it was located off of 22nd St. in Tampa.

“The Eagles relocated to the building we are in now in 1989 after a short stay in a small building behind our current location that is now a daycare,” King said. “Wendell Rice’s dedication, hard work and loyalty to the organization are a huge part of why we are still here today.”

If you ask what King likes most about being a member of F.O.E., he will tell you the people. “The best part of being an Eagle is the good people you meet in a relaxed, fun atmosphere,” King said.

If you would like to learn more about The Fraternal Order of Eagles #3566, you can visit their website at www.foe3566.org.

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Libby is a writer for The Osprey Observer/The Christian Voice. She started as an intern in 2009 and upon finishing her internship, she was asked to stay on as a permanent writer for both papers. Libby lives in Brandon with her two rescue dogs, Olive and Bogey.