Why Do We Celebrate Chris Sana?

While many of you are working feverishly to set up holiday events at this time, we will be hosting an event to celebrate and remember the life of Chris Sana.

Why do we do this and who is Chris Sana?

Chris Sana (pronounced “Saw-nah”) came to the United States from the Philippines in 1926 at age 18 seeking educational opportunities. He attended night school but times were hard and he started working, first in the agriculture industry and then as a houseboy for a local family. He served the US Army Civil Affairs Department during World War II in the Philippines, due to his knowledge of the language and country.

In 1946, he returned to the US, continued to work with the family who originally hired him and began working as a steward for the Santa Cruz Elks Lodge. When the Elks moved to Jewell Street, he re-located with them.

At the time, minorities were forbidden from joining many fraternal organizations and the Elks were no exception. In 1973, Louie Moro, the Exalted Ruler of the Santa Cruz Lodge, took a motion to the floor of the Grand Lodge meeting in Chicago to permanently desegregate all Elks Lodges. The motion passed.

Chris Sana was initiated in the Lodge shortly after the Santa Cruz delegation returned. He was so well loved that approximately 14 members signed his application to become an Elk (applications require only 3 signatures).

Chris became a model Elk. He loved the holidays, hosting an annual event, decorating the bar and handing out complementary Tom and Jerry’s to all members who came to join the festivities.

Many of our current members do not know Chris Sana (who passed in 1980) but we still carry on this holiday tradition because it celebrates the spirit of Elkdom and also celebrates that our Lodge took their convictions to the national level to ensure that anyone who desires to become an Elk is eligible. Over the years, the tradition has evolved and we cook up steak sandwiches for members to purchase as well.