The Grand Lodge of Ohio recently sat down with Bro. Jay Miller from Hiram Lodge #18 to discuss their many charitable initiatives and their close relationship with the town of Delaware, Ohio. Read our full interview below to learn more!
Tell us about Hiram Lodge. What makes it unique? What is it known for?
Hiram is one of the oldest Lodges in the state of Ohio and our Temple building has served the citizens of Delaware in various ways. For example, the ‘front’ part of our building served as the first library in the city and the room that currently serves as our office, was once the office for the women’s suffrage movement in the early 1900’s.
Masonically speaking, I hope Hiram is known for our dedication to the ritual. We take pride in performing our degrees to a high standard. We are very fortunate that several past District Deputy Grand Masters, past Grand Lodge Officers and Past Masters attend our Lodge regularly. They help to guide the officer line as we progress. We are also known for our wonderful stuffed pork chop dinner we have on inspection night.
What is the community of Delaware like? What is your Lodge’s interaction in the community?
Hiram and Delaware have a symbiotic relationship. The population growth Delaware has seen over the past few years has certainly benefited Hiram Lodge by providing good men to our ranks. In addition, Hiram is very active in community charities and organizations. Hiram is a mainstay at Delaware’s First Friday community event that brings organizations from town together for a fair. We also have a booth at the County Fair in September. In December, we make a donation to the Christmas program the city puts on and as part of this program we sponsor the tree lighting, the Santa house, and Christmas parade.
We’re aware your lodge has an emphasis on charity and scholarships. Can you tell us more about that?
Hiram is very fortunate in that we are able to give back to the community. We have a contributions committee that handles incoming requests for donations. Our priority is the local charities. One in particular, Stockhands Horses for Healing, was founded by a Brother, Tim Funk. Bro. Funk’s programming at Stockhands involves equine therapy to assist children on the autism spectrum, folks struggling with addiction, and military veterans who are also struggling. What Brother Funk has done is worth a separate note on its own. He truly is an inspiration and I am proud to call him a brother.
Beyond contributions to Stockhands, Hiram has also contributed to local food banks and women’s shelters and other local programs.
The college scholarship program is run by a separate committee. We accept applications from all the school districts in the county. Once they are all submitted, the committee will determine the winners of our five scholarships. The committee reviews these applications and picks a recipient based on need and academic success. We recently just wrapped up this year’s scholarship award winners dinner and it is such a treat to meet the young men and women who are going on to do great things.
What is the relationship between Brothers in the lodge? How do they interact with each other and engage in Lodge events?
I feel our brethren have a great relationship within the Lodge. It is quite common for brethren to arrive early for our stated meetings for fellowship. It is not just for the stated meetings either, we host a breakfast on the first Saturday of every month, except July and August when the lodge is quiet. There are usually 5 to 6 brothers there by 6:30am to start preparing. Honestly, it is one of my favorite events – just being there early and sharing in the fellowship and laughter is a gift.
We also have an annual picnic and a fishing trip to Lake Erie that takes place in July, as well as a Christmas program where we invite widows from the community to the Lodge.
What about this Lodge made you want to be part of it? What type of Mason does it attract?
I classify Hiram as one of the more traditional Lodges. We still have a ‘house’ rule that in order to sit in the east, it is expected that you have given a Lecture. Our ritual work is a point of pride for our brethren and sets a pretty high expectation for future Worshipful Masters. All of that being said, I do not think we are a ‘stuffy’ lodge at all. We still laugh and joke around with each other, but at the end of the day, we know our ritual and perform the best we can.