Members of the Mt. Hiram Masonic Lodge No. 595 gathered Saturday for the installment of new officers, which proved to be a rather historic moment. They were joined for the first time by members of Jno G. Lewis Masonic Lodge No. 622, which is also located in Copperas Cove.
“Having the members of the Jno G. Lewis Masonic Lodge No. 622 here with us at our lodge for the first time is very symbolic, because it put away a lot of myths about us and them being rivals,” said outgoing Worshipful Master Darrell McDonald. “We were very happy that they could join us this year for this event.”
Mark Walls, the worshipful master of Masonic Lodge No. 622 in Copperas Cove, described the experience as “awesome.”
“Being here with the members of the Mt. Hiram Masonic Lodge No. 595 is an awesome experience and it is a long time coming especially for Copperas Cove,” Walls said.
The Mt. Hiram Lodge was formed in Copperas Cove in 1884, while the Jno G. Lewis Lodge was formed in 1979.
Robert Walker, who was installed as secretary for the next year, said, “It is pretty great that both lodges could come together for first time during this event.”
Once a year, the members of the lodge hold an officer installment ceremony.
The ceremony is a ritual that is well-organized and planned down to the last detail.
This year, the gavel for the Mt. Hiram Lodge was passed from McDonald to Jim Johnson, who will serve as worshipful master until July 2022.
The officers that were installed for the next year are Senior Warden Stephen Click, Junior Warden John Easler, Treasurer Robert Lautenschlager, Secretary Robert Walker, Chaplain James Cooney, Senior Deacon Robbie Dixon, Junior Deacon Bill Kohl, Senior Steward James Hamilton, Junior Steward Steven Hodges, Marshall Orla Sharp, Master of Ceremonies Mark Spangler and (Tiler) Charles McIntosh.
The ceremony began with the installation of officers, and then a plaque was presented to McDonald for his service to the lodge and for his leadership during a difficult year that included the coronavirus pandemic.
“This past year was a challenge, because when it came to COVID, we all seemed to have caught the virus at the same time and had to shut down the lodge for almost three months. Before we reopened we had a company come in and sanitize the entire lodge,” McDonald said. “It was a challenge but I enjoyed it and would serve again.”
Johnson said a few words to the members and the attendees, thanking them for his new role.
“It means a lot to me because it is my chance to take care of the lodge and make sure that we do what we can for the community throughout the next year,” Johnson said. “We want to continue to make an impact and let them know that we are here.”
He also thanked the members of the Jno G. Lewis Masonic Lodge No. 622 for attending the ceremony.
Following Johnson’s remarks food and refreshments were served and everyone got a chance to connect.