Chester, CA

"In love with Chester"

Randy Fossom’s annual Wheel Around Lake Almanor ride raises money for local charities. (Credit: Bill Mahaffey)

I fell in love with Chester, CA many years ago and had an opportunity to move there a few years back. Chester is a timber town and the mill provides most of the jobs. Tourism is the second biggest draw to the Lake Almanor region in Northern California.

There is a Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) Lodge #2626 located in Chester of more than 2,000 people. Approximately, 10% of the population of this town are members of the Lodge. Which shows the kind of people that reside there.

The community is aware that they alone would be hard pressed to provide services that the Elks Lodge does willingly. Elks are devoted to helping families, veterans that have fallen into hard times, improving community lives, if disaster strikes, for example; forest fires, which are part of our life, and when they do happen, we are there to provide refreshments and appreciation to the hard-working firefighters.

Children are a big part of this community and the Elks scholarships program provide funding each year to help children advance their education. One project I was very impressed with is the Elks and the business organizations of Chester hold an annual event called, Randy Fossum’s Wheel around Lake Almanor (WALA). This is an annual charitable event for hand cyclists. It is an endurance challenge and consists of quadriplegia, spina bifida and cerebral palsy riders, but the ride is open to all riders. Everyone cheers on these riders as they ride the 34 mile course around Lake Almanor. They are giving their all for this charitable cause — money raised during this event goes back into the community to help people.

How could you not love to live in a community that supports these kind of functions? They are always looking for ways to improve their community and welcoming visitors to this beautiful area next to Mountain Lassen National Park.