Masons keep finding new ways to give
Castle Lodge is more than 100 years old. The good stuff lasts.
The Masonic Lodge installed its newest set of officers in the county’s oldest civic/service organization. Its mission has not changed in the last century.
“We find ways to raise money, so we can give it away,” said Dave Darrough, elected to lead the Lodge for the second straight year. “We do all kinds of other things, too, but almost all of it’s geared toward helping people who need it.”
Toward that end, the Masons partner with a few other local organizations to give away Christmas presents to families who need it.
They do it every year, quietly, or as quietly as they can when they’re collecting tens of thousands of dollars worth of toys, food and cash. When they swing open the doors, the Lodge basement looks like Santa’s workshop, only the elves look like these guys.
Some children flounce down those stairs. Some children walk in warily, not sure it’s real. They’re quickly assured that it is, and they’re welcome there.
“Do you have a bicycle?” the children are invariably asked.
The children look at these guys, again, like it cannot be real.
In addition to all the toys, food and cash, the Masons collect used bicycles and fix them up, just so they can give them away.
This year, more than 860 children received Christmas presents. Mostly they come from single-parent homes.
“Some are referrals from other organizations, some are people we know about,” Darrough said.
Castle Lodge No. 122 opened just over 100 years ago, and for most of those years a Bindley has been handling its day-to-day operations.
Lodge leaders, called “Worshipful Master,” rotate through every year or two. But like most organizations, it’s the secretary who really runs things.
Ira Bindley joined the Lodge, rose through the officer ranks and led it in 1957. He took over the secretary duties from his father, Elmer “Jack” Bindley, a year later, after Ira’s year as Master was done – the same way Ira took over their barber shop on Broadway in downtown Eagle.
Bob Shelton headed the Lodge. So did George Luby. He owned the Chevy dealership in Eagle for years.
Leslie Randall led the Lodge in 1948. His son, Wayne Randall, led it in 1971.
George McCollum led it seven times. When asked, McCollum just smiles and says it was “several assorted years.”
You know George. If you or your kids learned math at Eagle Valley High School, and learned it right, chances George taught them.
Along one wall in the Lodge room are portraits of some of the local men who’ve led the Lodge. There’s a sea captain. Some went to war when their country called – these men returned from the death of war to be about the business of life.
Around the room during this week’s officer installation were fire chiefs, mayors, business leaders, law enforcement professionals – men working to improve themselves and their community.
Masonic rituals and ceremonies are supposed to be secret. All over the Lodge room are objects and artifacts that mean something to Masons, but if they tell a non-Mason what they are, the oath they took when they joined requires them to be disemboweled in the most remarkable and creative ways.
Of course, no one ever is, and the secrets aren’t really all that secret.
Masonry is thought to have originated with the guilds of stone masons who built the majestic castles and cathedrals in the Middle Ages.
The first regional Masonic organization was founded in 1717 in London, England.
By the time Benjamin Franklin became a Mason in 1731, there were already several Lodges in the American colonies.
Most of our country’s Founding Fathers were Masons.
Masonry has grown to become one of the world’s most philanthropic organizations. In North America, Masons and their affiliate organizations give away more than $2 million a day to charitable causes.
Shriners, for example, operate a network of hospitals for burn victims and orthopedic patients. The Scottish Rite operates more than 150 childhood language disorder clinics and programs.