Thursday, May 26, 2005

James, Woods receive pins

By SUE WATSON
Staff Writer

Two Byhalia Masons were awarded pins for longtime membership in the Byhalia Lodge 115 last week.

W.R. James, who joined the Masons in 1944, was awarded a 60-year pin and Rep. Tommy Woods, who came to the Masons in 1954 at age 21, received a 50-year pin.

Byhalia vice-mayor Bill Dawson read a resolution from the board of aldermen and mayor recognizing the two men for their involvement in community life.

Present at the ceremony was state grand master Dwain Dunn from Amory, district grand lecturer Randy Glover from Tunica, Charles Davis, past state grand patron and current Byhalia Lodge master David Hendrickson.

Many Masons and their wives and other guests were present at the dinner and pinning ceremony.

Byhalia Lodge 115 has 65 members on its active roll. The lodge received its charter in 1850.

The Masons is a fraternity that dates back to the Biblical days of King Solomon’s temple masons.

“A Mason was on the hill with Jesus at the crucifixion,” said Davis. Other Masons who rose to prominent roles in government were President George Washington, statesman Benjamin Franklin and all the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, he said. The eye on the dollar bill is a Masonic emblem.

Membership state-wide is about 23,000 with 250 plus lodges across Mississippi.

Dunn said Masons were among the early settlers in the U.S. colonies and built the first shrines that often doubled as community churches and schools.

The Mississippi Grand Lodge was chartered in 1818.

Besides serving the fraternal needs of the Masonic community, the Masons are involved in charitable giving and works.

They provide college scholarships for orphaned children of their membership who qualify. The Masons no longer operate an orphanage in Mississippi.

Dunn said two of their members now serving in Iraq have requested help for a 30-year-old Iraqi man with burns on his limbs and covering 60 percent of his body and for an Iraqi girl. The Masons will help if the victims can be brought to the United States, he said.

“It is our duty to provide them (soldiers) some help and it will keep their morale up,” said Dunn. “We don’t know what it will accomplish, but it could help conquer and subdue by good will.”

The Masons do not solicit membership. Anyone interested in becoming a Mason should contact a member.


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