Jno G. Lewis Lodge #622 holds Community Fish Fry
By BRITTANY FHOLER
The members of the Jno G. Lewis Masonic Lodge #622 in Copperas Cove held a fish fry fundraiser Saturday afternoon to raise funds for the lodge’s scholarship fund and other community efforts.
The lodge is chartered under the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas.
Each plate included fried fish, hush puppies and a choice of two sides: macaroni and cheese, greens or baked beans. The cost was $10 a plate, with proceeds going to the Lodge’s scholarship and other community efforts, according to Alfred Martin, a Junior Warden at the Jno G. Lewis Lodge.
By noon, approximately 40 plates had been sold. The fish fry was held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a delivery option as well as a pick-up/take-out option.
Each year, the lodge awards at least one scholarship with its Roosevelt Hudgens Scholarship to a graduating high school senior. The scholarship is named after Roosevelt Hudgens, one of the founding members of the Jno G. Lewis Masonic Lodge. The Lodge was first founded in 1979. The scholarship contest has been held for the past 17 years.
The application period will open up later this month through the first of March. Students in local school districts in Bell County, Lampasas County and Coryell County will be able to find the application through their school’s scholarship selection website.
The requirements include Texas residency and involvement in high school communities and activities. Applicants also will have to include their GPA and ACT and SAT scores and their class rank. In the past, the initial application has included a 500-word essay and a biographical sketch plus three letters of recommendation from a school counselor, teacher and a community leader. The students must also write a paper between one to two pages, on a provided topic that will be reviewed by lodge members. The winning applicant will receive a scholarship worth at least $1,000 and has a chance to compete at a District Lodge level and at the Grand Lodge level, with a possibility of winning up to $7,500 in total.
The Lodge also passes out backpacks at the start of each school year and distributes Thanksgiving baskets and Christmas baskets to families in need.
Members of the Lodge pitched in and contributed to making the different side items for the plates, and members hand battered and fried the fish filets right in the Lodge’s kitchen on Saturday morning.
Damon Cleaton is a member of the lodge and picked up a plate with his son, Eric. Cleaton has been a member of the Lodge for around three years, but he was coming to the lodge’s Community Fish Fry events for a two to three years before joining.
“I tell you what, before I was a member here, I was coming up here supporting them, getting plates,” Cleaton said. “I had some good friends up here, and I think it’s a fantastic thing that they do for the community because, you know, it’s providing a fantastic meal to members of the community but then in turn, the lodge is helping out the community, so it’s kind of a helping people to give back. I love it. There’s not a lot of places that do things like this anymore on regular basis, and I know a lot of people look forward to it. When it’s fish fry time, it’s time to go eat. It’s some good stuff.”
Cleaton said that the lodge is all about pushing community awareness and the lodge’s involvement in the community.
“Some people look at a [Masonic] lodge and go, ‘Oh, it’s some kind of a secret thing,’” Cleaton said. “There’s nothing secret. It’s good people trying to do their best and do good things to help out other people that need the help. We’re all in this together. We all take care of each other, and we’re a community organization. We’re here, and we’re here to help.”
The Jno G. Lewis Lodge #622 is located at 1309 Pecan Cove Drive. Their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/jnoglewis622/.