Mt. Hiram Lodge distributes service awards to members

By BRITTANY FHOLER 
Cove Leader-Press 

Members of the Mt. Hiram Masonic Lodge No. 545 recognized three members for their combined 135 years of Masonic service in a public meeting held Tuesday evening. 
Earl F. Smith was recognized for 60 years of service, while Orville L. Hall was recognized for 50 years and Stephen Click was recognized for 25 years. Each member received a pin as a visible token for their service in the fraternity and a certificate of recognition.
 “In the three stages of life, we try to acquire knowledge and experience in our youth which will help us accomplish our purposes in life,” said Bill Chenowith, the Worshipful Master of the Mt. Hiram Masonic Lodge #545. “In manhood, we do our best to apply that knowledge and experience in fulfilling our responsibilities to our God, our family, our fraternity and all of mankind. During the third stage of age, we are able to relish the memories of our accomplishments and take happiness in recalling the enjoyable and productive life well spent.”
Earl F Smith was initiated as an Entered Apprentice on May 3, 1958, passed to the degree of Fellowcraft on July 1, 1958 and then to the degree of Master Mason on July 29, 1958. Orville L. Hall was initiated as an entered apprentice on April 19, 1966, passed to the degree of Fellowcraft on December 6, 1966 and then to the degree of Master Mason on September 5, 1967. Stephen L. Click was initiated as Entered Apprentice on January 15, 1993, passed to the degree of Fellowcraft on February 12, 1993 and then to the degree of Master Mason on May 4, 1993. 
Smith shared that when he first joined, the Lodge was located downtown, at the corner of Avenue D and Main Street, where Ledger Furniture is currently located. He said he joined because his father was a Master Mason and his mother was an Eastern Star, as were two of his sisters. Of his 60 years of service as a Mason, Smith said that it has been wonderful and he’s enjoyed every bit of it. 
His daughter, Felita Wheeler, explained that he also has 45 years as a member of the Scottish Rite, 35 years as a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, has been on the advisory committee for the Rainbow Girls, and at 89 years old, still actively holds an office. 
Each year, members are recognized for their years of service at the 25, 50 and 60 plus benchmark, according to Chenoweth. Smith’s 60 years is rare, he added. Click’s 25 years was also unique in that he joined the Masons later on in life, he said. 
Chenoweth said that the evening was very special for him because he was able to honor Hall for his 50 years of service.
“It was very, very special for me tonight to honor him because when I became a mason, he was the one that taught me,” Chenoweth said. 
In Texas, a young man can become a Mason at 18 years old, but the age used to be 21, according to Chenoweth. To become a Mason, a man must approach someone who is already a Mason and ask to join and become a Mason.  There are some other criteria, such as believing in God as the Supreme Architect of the Universe. The group does not solicit or advertise to gain members. 
Chenoweth said that the group is a brotherhood and when one becomes a Mason, there is no emphasis put on what someone does for a living or how they were raised. A farmer is treated no differently than a judge, he said. 
“We have a saying in masonry, we take good men and make them better,” Chenoweth said. 
The Masons also help out in the community, holding fundraiser pancake breakfasts among other things. The next pancake breakfast fundraiser will be Saturday, April 7, at 8 a.m. at the Mt. Hiram Masonic Lodge #545 on N. 1st St. After the breakfast, Lodge members will then be picking up litter on the side of the road for two miles between F.M. 116 and Lutheran Church Road. 

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