Addressing Need on the Other End of Life: Moosehaven
Mooseheart's construction proceeded furiously over the next decade, but it only barely kept pace with the admissions that swelled the student census to nearly 1,000 by 1920. (Mooseheart's student population would reach a peak of 1,300 during the depths of the Great Depression; housing was often "barracks" style--unacceptable by today's standards. Mooseheart officials now consider the campus' ultimate maximum capacity as no more than 500.) Still, by the Twenties, Davis and his Moose colleagues thought the fraternity should do more--this time for aged members who were having trouble making ends meet in retirement. (A limited number of elderly members had been invited to live at Mooseheart since 1915.)
They bought 26 acres of shoreline property just south of Jacksonville, Florida, and in the fall of 1922, Moosehaven, the "City of Contentment" was opened with the arrival of its first 22 retired Moose residents. Moosehaven has since grown to a 63-acre community providing a comfortable home, a wide array of recreational activities and comprehensive health care to more than 400 residents.
As the Moose fraternity grew in visibility and influence, so did Jim Davis. President Warren Harding named him to his Cabinet as Secretary of Labor in 1921, and Davis continued in that post under Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover as well. In November 1920, Davis, a Republican, won election to the U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania, and he served there with distinction for the next 14 years. As both Labor Secretary and Senator, Davis was known as a conservative champion of labor, who fought hard for the rights of unions--but felt that the workingman should expect no "handouts" of any sort. In the Senate, it was Davis who spearheaded passage of landmark legislation to force building contractors to pay laborers "prevailing" union-level wages in any government construction work. The law bore his name: the Davis-Bacon Act.
The "Proof of Our Value": Community Service
For a quarter-century the Moose had directed its efforts almost completely toward Mooseheart and Moosehaven; now, with discharged WWII Veterans driving Moose membership to nearly 800,000 members, Director General Giles set out to broaden the organization's horizons. In 1949 he conceived and instituted what was to become the third great Moose endeavor of the modern era, the Civic Affairs program (later renamed Community Service). Giles explained his rationale: "Only three institutions have a God-given right to exist in a community, the home, the church and the school. The rest of us must be valuable to the community to warrant our existence, and the burden of proof of our value is on us." The Community Service program has since flourished into a myriad of humanitarian efforts on the local Lodge level, as well as fraternity-wide projects such as the Moose Youth Awareness Program, in which bright teenagers go into elementary schools, daycare centers and the like to communicate an anti-drug message to 4- to 9-year olds.