Members of Golden Ark Masonic Lodge 595 in Taylor present coats, boots and other apparel to Taylor Parks Elementary School. Gathered for the occasion are Masons Joe Molner (front row, left); John R. Miller; students Nathaniel and Bradley Hatfield; Taylor Parks teacher Trisha Bergeron (back row, left); Masons James Collier, Bruce Ball and William Clawson; Principal Diane Downie and Mason Russ Ouellette Jr.
TAYLOR – For the third year in a row, members of Golden Ark Masonic Lodge 595 has donated winter coats and boots to underprivileged students at Taylor Parks and Blair Moody elementary schools.
This year’s donation to Taylor Parks included 20 pairs of brand-new winter boots, 20 brand-new coats, dozens of used coats, 30 new hats and 140 new pairs of gloves. The Masons also donated 14 new coats and 55 new pairs of gloves to students at Blair Moody.
The list of children who needed the winter apparel was compiled by staff at both schools.
Joe Molner, past worshipful master of the lodge and father of Taylor Parks teacher Trisha Bergeron, said his daughter told him several years ago that a number of students were unable to go outside for recess in the cold months due to lack of proper winter coats and boots.
“Many students would come to school in just a hooded sweatshirt and tennis shoes, even if there was snow on the ground,” Molner said.
Molner initiated the Boots and Coats drive at the lodge to raise money for boots, coats and other winter apparel. The Masons held fundraisers and received support from the John F. Kennedy High School graduates from 1984, who donated proceeds from their reunion gourmet dinner to the drive.
J.C. Penney at Southland Center also aided by providing the warm coats at a lower cost and with help from the store staff. Sax Discount Pharmacy of Taylor donated the gloves.
There are more than 40,000 Masons in Michigan and more than 2 million members in the United States. Masonry is a fraternity of men who welcome any man to inquire about joining. Masons meet in lodges in many Michigan communities and have a long history of support for educational initiatives in this state and around the nation.
The Golden Ark Masonic Lodge recently announced that it would join a statewide effort in support of elementary schools and education by pledging 1,000 volunteer hours to Taylor Parks and Blair Moody elementary schools. The announcement was made by John R. Miller, worshipful master-elect of Golden Ark Lodge, as part of a larger effort of more than 200,000 volunteer hours sponsored by Freemasonry in Michigan. It represents the largest volunteer gift of its kind in the history of the state.
According to the scope of the pledge, Masons throughout the state will collaborate with one or more schools in their communities, providing a variety of services from mentoring to groundskeeping. Each lodge will appoint a special coordinator to assist the school in implementing, managing and tracking the project.
The gift is the idea of Robert Conley, past grand master of masons in Michigan. He largely has been responsible for getting Masons to agree to volunteer and coordinate the effort with the Michigan Department of Education.
To make a donation to Boots and Coats contact Miller at (313) 549-7620 or at [email protected].