Past masters at Copperas Cove’s historic Mount Hiram Masonic Lodge no. 595 were honored Tuesday night during a brief ceremony designed to celebrate former organization leaders.

Each year, the local Lodge selects a Worshipful Master, in essence a president, who serves a one-year term and may serve more than once. Current Worshipful Master (a term originally intended to indicate respect) Jim Johnsen is the 102nd man to serve in that position since the Copperas Cove lodge was organized in the late 1880s.

Honorees at the Past Masters Night ceremony included: James Powell (1971-72, the oldest living local Past Master); James Cooney (1993-94); Orla Sharp Jr. (1998-99); Frank Price (2000-2001); Anthony Williams (2001-02); Randy Dyer (2010-11); Robert Walker (2016-17); Willian Chenoweth (2017-18); Paul Plourde (2018-19); James Hamilton (2019-20); Darrell McDonald (2020-21).

Johnsen said prior to the ceremony that the local Masons group — described as a fraternal and charitable organization for men – is active in the community, conducting fundraisers, awarding scholarships, honoring first responders, and other events, but the primary mission is “we take good men and make them better.”

“That is our motto, if you will,” Johnsen said. “For me, in the past 11 years that I’ve been doing this, it makes you better because the guys who have been here a lot longer than I have kind of take you under their wing and teach you how to become a better person. We’re like a big family. We’re brothers.”

The Copperas Cove lodge has 178 members, with about 30 of those who actively participate and attend meetings.

Anyone interested in becoming a member or finding out more about the organization is welcome to attend meetings on Tuesday nights at the lodge, 802 N. First St. in Copperas Cove. After a designated period of time up to six months, newcomers may be considered for membership.

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