President Barbara Venturi, Las Vegas Lodge #408
Barbara Venturi was born in Las Vegas N.M. on September 6, 1955. She was raised, educated, and became a physical education teacher and coach after graduating from New Mexico Highlands University. Returning to her Alma Mater, Robertson High School, she taught for 29 years in the great City of Las Vegas prior to her retirement in 2008.
Barbara’s father being an Elk, it could be said she was born into Elkdom. The memories of the old Lodge that burned in 1982 will always be imprinted in her thoughts. “I didn’t realize how much I would learn about our great organization and where I would be today.”
Barbara became a member of the Mother Lodge of New Mexico in 2000. Shortly thereafter, she became Inner Guard advancing through the chairs becoming Exalted Ruler in 2008. She was honored to serve as Northeast District Deputy in 2011 and with the New Mexico Elks Trustees in 2013. During these years, Barbara served on several local, district and state committees and competed in Ritual from 2009-2011. Through these experiences, she has learned the true meaning of Elkdom, “Charity, Justice, Brotherly Love and Fidelity.”
In 2001 Barbara met her life partner, Joe Venturi and they were married in 2005. He has been a member of the Elks for 32 years transferring his membership from Lamar, Colorado Lodge #1319 to Las Vegas, New Mexico Lodge #408. He has supported Barbara’s works with the youth and community as well as the various committees she has served on. He also competed in Ritual in 2009 as candidate and serves as NE Youth Activities chairman. Together they have attended several State workshops and conventions including Grand Lodge. They have three very successful children, Richard, Naomi and Melanie as well as 9 grandchildren.
President Elect Gerald Wheeler, Las Cruces Lodge #1119
Gerald Wheeler was born in Clovis, NM. on November 14, 1947. Gerald graduated from Clovis high School in 1966, then moved to Dallas Texas area and attended North Texas State for a time. In 1975 he returned to Clovis and applied to the New Mexico Live Stock Board as an inspector. After attending training, he was transferred to Las Cruces. Gerald worked in that district as a supervisor for twenty-five years, retiring in 2001. During the time he worked for the State of NM he attended New Mexico State University graduating in 1998 with a Bachelor of Accountancy degree. After retiring in 2001 he worked for Accounting Plus as an accountant for five years until a final retirement in 2006.
He was originally initiated into Clovis-Portales Lodge #1244 in 1975. In 1976 he transferred to Las Cruces Lodge #1119, where he become an active member holding all elected offices and working on numerous committees. Gerald worked and chaired numerous committees in the State Association. He was appointed as District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler in 2005. In 2018 was elected to Board of Trustees serving as Secretary of board 2016-2018, elected Vice-President 2018-19.
Vice President Johnny Hilliard, Albuquerque Lodge #461
Jason Crockett was born in Carlsbad, NM on November 6th, 1980 to Ronnie and Patti Crockett. Jason is the younger of 2 kids, his sister Jennifer Johnson now lives in Las Cruces with her husband and 2 boys. He graduated from Carlsbad High School in 1999 and started in college the following semester. He worked at a local bank as a Courier while attending NMSU-C where he met and married the love of his life, Susan Crockett, in August 2003. He was also able to join 2 young men’s life that he would not change for the world, Clay and Logan Menuey. He has looked after them as his own since he stepped into their life. He has worked in the technology field since his days in college where he received his Degree. Starting his 19 year career. Beginning at NMSU-C as a Computer Technician, worked for the Carlsbad Schools for 10 years as a Computer Technician then promoted to Network Administrator and currently works at Intrepid Potash as IT Systems Engineer for the last 9 years. Being a long time member of his local Credit Union in Carlsbad, Financial Security Credit Union, he was approached about being a Board of Director. He joined the Credit Union Board of Directors in 2011 as the Security Officer. In 2014, he was nominated and elected by his peers to become Chairman of the Board of Directors. His wife, Susan, campaigned for and was elected into office as an Eddy County Commissioner in 2012. They both enjoy learning about politics.
Jason was initiated into the Carlsbad Elks Lodge #1558 on PER Night February 2002. He quickly filled the Chaplain position. He then became Loyal Knight, Leading Knight and then on to be Exalted Ruler in 2009-10. While Leading Knight, he was awarded Officer of the Year for his work on the remodel of the outdoor pool at the Lodge. He served as Lodge Trustee and is a Past Chairman of the Board. Jason’s dedication and passion for Ritual allowed him to receive All-State awards in Chaplain, Leading Knight and an All-American Leading Knight and finished 3rd in the Nation as a team at the Grand Lodge Contest in Portland of 2009. After being Exalted Ruler, he was appointed to be Sergeant at Arms for NMEA and he became NMEA Youth Activities State Chairman. He was tasked with bringing the under-performing committee back to life. That year at Spring Convention, the State Youth Activities committee was recognized by then President Rick Callaway with the first annual PSP Earl Phillips Outstanding Achievement Award, as being the most improved committee in the state. Jason has been a Ritual Judge since he was Exalted Ruler. He has judged in many District and State contest as well as out of state six times, all being in Colorado. In 2013, Jason was awarded as NMEA State Elks of the Year by Past State President Roger Hamman. In 2013, he became a Honorary Founder of the Elks National Foundation, 1 of only 3 individuals from the Carlsbad Elks Lodge #1558. In 2019, he achieved a Permanent Benefactor of ENF by donating of $2000. Jason is currently State Chairman of Internet and Protocol committees. He served as Southeast District Ritual Chairman for 2 years, until he was later appointed in 2014 to be the State Ritual Chairman. While State Ritual Chairman, along with the Past State Presidents, the Ritual Contest format was changed to try to entice members and lodges to compete and show case their Ritual talents. He brought back the Class A and AA contests to encourage lodges to compete. Jason has served as your State Secretary for 6 years. Bringing the position and State into modern times.