President Kandi Barks, Raton Lodge #865
Kandi Barks was born on Christmas Eve in Las Vegas, New Mexico and a few years later moved to Southern California. Kandi graduated High School in Harbor City, California, attended Long Beach State in California and Moorhead State University in Minnesota. After a wonderful career as a Director of Administration, which enabled her to travel all over the United States, Europe, Middle East and Africa she returned to New Mexico to retire. Along with her husband, Jerry, they now run a small business in Raton. Kandi is dedicated to supporting Veterans and has been very active with Veteran’s causes for many years. Great Grandfathers, Grandfathers, Uncles, brother and a nephew have proudly served our great nation for generations. Kandi was initiated into Raton Elks Lodge # 865 on 2-19-2005, while her husband Jerry has been a member since 2-1-1987. She was Lodge Secretary, Leading Knight and Exalted Ruler while serving on, or chairing, numerous Committees. On a State Level she has had the honor of being Secretary for five years, Tiler for one year and chaired, or served, on several State Committees. On the Grand Lodge level, she was District Deputy for two consecutive terms.
President Elect 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 Elkdome. 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 Elkdome, “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.
Vice President Gerald Wheeler, Las Cruces Lodge #1119
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 next 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 17 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 Network Administrator for the last 4 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 is now the 4 year Trustee and 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 twice. Both being in Colorado. In 2013, Jason was awarded as NMEA State Elks of the Year by then 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. Jason is currently serving as State Co-Chair of Internet and SE District Protocol for 3 years now. 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.
Treasurer Richard Shepardson, Albuquerque Lodge #461
Richard was born on December 10th in Jamestown, NY. He grew up on a dairy farm near the small village of Bemus Point, NY in Chautauqua County and graduated from Bemus Point Central High school along with 41 others. He received his BS Degree from the University of Tennessee. Upon graduating he enlisted in the Navy and was assigned to Naval Officers Candidate School, Newport, RI. Upon completion, he was commissioned as an Ensign, USNR. He spent the next five years on active duty aboard attack aircraft carriers, USS Shangri-La and USS Lexington and as Special Weapons Officer Naval Weapons Station, Earle, New Jersey. Richard was honorably discharged from active duty and entered employment at Sandia National Laboratory where he spent the next 32 years. Richard’s last position at the “Labs” was as Comptroller. He also continued his Naval Career in the Navy Reserve program for fifteen additional years. When his civilian job warranted most of his time, he then retired as a full Commander in the Navy. During this time, he earned his MBA from the University of New Mexico.
In 1971 he married the star of his life, Patricia Winter from East Peoria, Il after meeting her at a wedding in Taos, NM. Richard and Pat have been married for 45 years and have three wonderful children; Michelle, Leslie and Richard II. Richard and Pat enjoy golfing and have traveled extensively both abroad and in the states of which they have only three remaining to visit. Both are very active in the Elks at both the Local Lodge level and State Level.