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Beth Howell

Beth Howell

In 2009, Beth Howell noticed she was having trouble breathing while taking the stairs to her local Fraternal Order of Eagles (FOE) chapter headquarters. Those worries—combined with a family history of heart problems and diabetes—prompted her to schedule a stress test with her family doctor.

However, when she couldn’t even make it through the stress test, Beth was rushed to UPMC Presbyterian for immediate attention. Two weeks later, doctors put a double stent in her heart.

“They saved my life,” Howell said. “Without them, I wouldn’t be here to watch my four granddaughters grow up.”

Howell currently serves as the president of the Latrobe FOE Women’s Auxiliary—an organization that donates to research organizations and supports the passage of essential legislature. As auxiliary president, Howell was tasked with traveling across the state to collect money for a charity of her choice: the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute.

During her year as state president, the FOE raised $16,000 for the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute. “I was very, very proud of that,” Howell said. “But I want to stress the fact that ‘I’ is not a word we use— it’s ‘we.’ I could not have achieved the goals that I was reaching for without the [FOE].”

At the national level, there are numerous charities the Fraternal Order of Eagles support. The organization boasts nearly 800,000 members with more than 1,500 chapters across the United States and Canada. The FOE is credited with important political and philanthropic accomplishments including the passage of the Social Security Act and creating the national observance of Mother’s Day.

A little closer to home, the Latrobe Eagles are extremely active in their community, supporting youth sports, food banks, and local first responders.

“One hundred percent of the money that’s sent in from our fundraisers is given back out in grants that we can apply for,” Howell said.

Grants are awarded annually from the national FOE Charity Foundation to worthy nonprofits for research, education, equipment, and more. One such grant was awarded to the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute in 2020.

The Latrobe Eagles have long supported the essential care that UPMC provides to the community. After losing a dear friend and fellow FOE brother to heart complications, the Latrobe Eagles made their first gift to the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute more than five years ago. They have also raised funds for the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute’s COACH program, which offers education and services to help prevent cardiovascular disease.

As of January 2021, the Latrobe Eagles, in partnership with the national FOE, have donated more than $101,000 to the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute.