The following is an article printed in The News Gazette in Winchester, Indiana
The Phi Delta Kappa Fraternity was founded in 1902 in Marion, Indiana. It was originally a social fraternity of young businessmen. The Winchester Chapter which is Beta Eta was founded in 1912.
Around the World War II Era, there were many Chapters throughout the nation. As has been the case with many civic organizations, the membership has diminished over the years. Currently there are eleven chapters remaining with seven of them in the state of Indiana, three in Florida, and one in Mississippi. The total membership is 901 nationally, with the largest chapter in Winchester with 227 members.
The Patriarch of Beta Eta is the elder Statesman of the National Membership. Fred Armstrong, retired insurance and real estate broker, is a 72 year member of Beta Eta Winchester. He still frequents the Chapter House when he is in town. Way to go, Fred!
In addition, PDK Beta Eta has been blessed to have tremendous continuity in leadership as both Secretary Zeke Horner and Treasurer Bill Robbins have served in their offices for over 30 years each. Current Chapter President is Larry Detro, Jr., who has spearheaded most every event this year.
Each Chapter has its own business plan, but every Chapter contributes in many way to its community.
Current local officers for Beta Eta Winchester are as follows: President – Larry Detro, Jr.; Vice President – Charles Berger; Assistant VP – Chris Moore; Secretary – Zeke Horner; Treasurer – Bill Robbins; Assistant Treasurer – Scott Dull; Master of Ceremonies – Mason Hummel; Sergeant at Arms – Tyler Lennington; Inner Guard – Shean Bosworth; and Outer Guard – Darian Mallory.
Trustees that keep the facility in top condition are as follows: Kenny Collins, John Wolfe, Rob Kelly, Jerry Fair, and Steve Burge.
Beta Eta Winchester is very active on the national level as well. Current National Officers are the following: Vice President – Todd Gullett; Auditor – Butch Rhonemus; and Secretary/Treasurer – Zeke Horner. National Board of Trustees are Jim Byrd- Chairman, and Chris Parks – Member. Foundation Board of Trustees are Ron Anderson and Jeff Woolf.
Beta Eta Winchester has contributed to many local causes throughout the year. Examples include the following: all elementary schools in Randolph Central, Driver Middle School, Winchester Community High School, Winchester Athletic Boosters, Winchester Band, Winchester Concerts in the Park, Winchester Alumni, Winchester Homecoming, Winchester Prom, Winchester Police, Journey Home, Christ Starfish Foundation, Rotary Club, Department of Child Services, Boys’ Little League, Girls’ Softball, and many other worthwhile causes.
Recently, PDK Beta Eta donated $1,000 to the Randolph County Food Pantry and $1,500 to Secret Families of Randolph County.
Another event that receives contributions locally is the Second Saturday of the Month Scholarship Breakfasts. Beta Eta was able to award $2,300 in scholarships in 2018 and is on track to exceed that amount in 2019. Breakfasts are from September through May.
Total donations to our community in 2018 was over $11,000. This is a good secret, but don’t tell anyone. PDK Beta Eta has been a nice secret for 107 years.
On the weekend of April 26 thru 28 the Northern Chapter Chase took place here in Indiana. Brother Doug Leach of Gamma Theta – Danville coordinated this event and done an excellent job.
Here at Beta Eta we kicked off the Chase on Friday by providing a variety of food to our members, having a drink special, raffling off a gift certificate to Firehouse BBQ and Blues, giving away a gift certificate to Jason’s Meat Market as a door prize and cranking up the jukebox.
On Saturday morning we headed to Beta Nu – Kokomo in the Colt’s bus with 12 members aboard and 4 other couples following in their vehicles. When we arrived we had a great breakfast waiting for us. We had a few drinks and socialized for a while then headed north with three couples from Kokomo and two couples from Danville for our next stop, Lambda – Peru. The folks here had a meat & cheese tray and vegetable tray ready for us. Again we had a few drinks and socialized for a while then headed north for our third stop, Delta Nu – Plymouth. These folks had ham & beans, cornbread and a variety of food waiting for us. Once again we had a few drinks and socialized before heading north to our fourth stop, Zeta Eta – Laporte. These folks had hamburgers and a variety of food waiting on us. And once again we had a few drinks and socialized before we moved on to our last stop, Gamma Lambda – Michigan City. These folks had chicken and a variety of food waiting on us. This being our last stop we socialized a little longer and had several drinks before finishing the night and heading to our hotel.
The Chapter Chase is a truly awesome time. The brotherhood that is experienced is amazing. The effort all the chapters put in for this event is amazing with all the food and “drinks” waiting for us and the hospitality that is extended. If you have never done this you are missing a great time and should try to experience it at least once. I want to thank Doug Leach for organizing the Chase.
I also want to thank all the brothers and sisters from each chapter for the food and hospitality and those members from Beta Eta, Gamma Theta and Beta Nu that made the journey north. If I were to talk about every stop in detail this article would not fit into the magazine as you experience something different at each chapter.
Thank you to all the Phi Delt chapters.