Mount Hiram Masonic Lodge installs new officers
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Mount Hiram Masonic Lodge No. 595 installed its new officers for the 2021-2022 year with a special ceremony open to the public on Saturday morning at the Lodge on N. 1st Street.
The lodge’s newest Worshipful Master is James Johnsen, Senior Warden is Stephen Click, Junior Warden is John Easler, Treasurer is Robert Lautenschlager, Secretary is Robert Walker, Chaplain is James Cooney, Senior Deacon is Robert Dixon, Junior Deacon is William Kohl, Senior Steward is James Hamilton, Junior Steward is Steven Hodges, Marshall is Orla Sharp, Master of Ceremonies is Mark Spangler and Tiler is Charles McIntosh.
Members of the lodge to officially install the newest officers and show appreciation to outgoing Worshipful Master Darrell McDonald.
McDonald received a certificate, plaque and pin recognizing him for his time as the Worshipful Master.
The Worshipful Master is responsible for leading and guiding the members of the lodge during their term.
McDonald took over as Worshipful Master in July 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic as Texas was opening up still but as mask mandates were implemented statewide.
“It was probably one of the highest privileges that I’ve ever had governing this lodge,” McDonald said about his time as Worshipful Master. “Essentially, this lodge is successful in what it is because of who is here. They just handed me the helm, and I just guided the ship, that’s all I did.”
Incoming Worshipful Master James Johnsen has been a Master Mason for 11 years, all spent at Mt. Hiram Lodge No. 595, and has been an officer in the lodge for the last 10 years. Johnsen has been the Master of Ceremonies, Senior Steward, Junior Deacon, Senior Deacon, Junior Warden, Senior Warden and now Worshipful Master.
“It means a lot to me because I’ve put in the work to help out the previous past masters’ success in their years, and now I’m hoping to have success in mine,” Johnsen said.
The lodge also made history with a joint meeting with members of Copperas Cove’s other Masonic Lodge, the Jno G. Lewis Lodge No. 622, which is located at 1309 Pecan Cove Drive. This was the first ever meeting with members of both lodges present in either lodge’s history. Mt. Hiram Masonic Lodge No. 595 has been in Copperas Cove since it was first chartered on Dec. 12, 1884. The Jno G. Lewis Lodge No. 622 has been in town since June 1979.
“We’ve actually bridged a big gap that we’ve had because this is Jno G. Lewis’ first time ever being in our lodge,” Johnsen said. “We’ve been able to do it for the past couple of years, but it’s just been coordination with our lodges, and it’s actually happened so this is a big historical event because we haven’t been able to visit each other’s lodges or anything like that until today. It means a lot to me as well for me being Worshipful Master because then we’ll be able to make our imprint in the community and just do wonderful things for the community.”
Mt. Hiram Lodge No. 595 helps out at Rabbit Fest each year and at the annual Krist Kindl Markt, according to Johnsen. The lodge also awards its Mirabeau B. Lamar Awards for Excellence in Personal and Scholastic Achievement for high school seniors and a teacher each year, complete with scholarships for the students and a check for the teachers.
Johnsen said that the Lodge will soon decide on which fundraisers it wishes to hold for this coming year.
Johnsen added that he has discussed with the Chamber of Commerce about hosting an occasional Chamber Mixer at the Lodge as well.
“I think it’s important for people to come down and get to know more about us, so if they would like to get more information and possibly even join, this is one way of doing that, but they also get to know what we do in the community, and there may be things that we don’t know that they can give us enlightenment on so we can be a part of it as well,” Johnsen said.