Our next Mason Monday goes to Brother Jim Hieb of Stonington Lodge #503. Brother Hieb is a non-profit CEO, baseball card collector, volunteer, and proud Freemason. Not only does he run his own business he also runs the popular Mason Monday campaign that features a different Ohio Mason each week on the Grand Lodge of Ohio social channels.
“If there was ever a time that men were looking for positive stories, positive organizations, and a place to gather with other men who want to make a positive difference, now is the time. Ohio Freemasonry provides that opportunity to be an agent of change!”
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into Freemasonry?
My greatest joy is my family! My wife, Christa, and I have two sons who are both Eagle Scouts and now one of them is a Master Mason serving as the Senior Steward for Stonington Lodge #503. We are also very active in our church where I serve as a Deacon. I also love being involved in Rotary International which is an outstanding service organization.
Professionally, I am the CEO for the Natural Stone Institute which is the leading trade association serving the natural stone industry. We serve 2,050 member companies in over 50 countries and the experience has been tremendously rewarding to lead an organization with so many professionals who are passionate about the industry. Not to mention that our industry helps people fulfill their dreams of installing natural stone in their homes, outdoor landscapes, or office buildings.
Growing up in South Dakota, our small rural community did not have a Masonic influence so it wasn’t until I moved to Ohio and met my wife, who was born and raised in Ohio, that I was introduced to the Masonic fraternity. Her father was a past master and several men in our church were also Masons. The Masonic connection extends to her mother who is a member of the Order of Eastern Stars. Unfortunately, I didn’t inquire about becoming a member until I was 40 years old. When I finally did, the response I received was, “what took you so long?” With regret, I lost over 15 years of Masonic service because I did not ask earlier.
Fast forward to today, I have had the tremendous privilege to serve the fraternity in leadership roles for my Lodge and district. As a past District Deputy I help recruit and assemble brethren to be featured in the Mason Monday program.
Why do you think the Mason Monday campaign has been so successful?
The Mason Monday program tells a story of who our Brothers are! The stories illustrate men from diverse backgrounds who have come together to better themselves, their communities, and our world as a whole. You see men from both blue collar and white collar professions. Each weekly feature also showcases the diverse interests those have outside of Masonry. From outdoor enthusiasts, to computer geeks, to scout leaders, to veterans, to little league coaches, to community food bank volunteers, and so much more — the weekly features showcase the incredible values of our communities and our organization.
The campaign is not marketing hype. Rather, it is a genuine portrayal of who we are and why we are members of the greatest fraternity in the world. Men who read the Mason Mondays can see themselves in the men that are featured. That connection is a huge draw for non-Masons considering membership.
What do you think the success of the campaign says about Masonry in Ohio?
Let’s talk about what is going on in the world today. You don’t have to look very hard to find negative news. The impact of COVID, world conflict, political divide, inflation, and corruption is everywhere. If there was ever a time that men were looking for positive stories, positive organizations, and a place to gather with other men who want to make a positive difference, now is the time. Ohio Freemasonry provides that opportunity to be an agent of change! The campaign brings to light positive stories and is an escape from a world where it feels like so many want to tear down others.
What do you believe makes Ohio Freemasonry so special?
My response is two-fold. First, it is the connections and the friendships that I have made through Freemasonry. Second, it’s the impact it has on our nation’s youth. Ohio Masonry is always supporting one of the Masonic based youth organizations, either through youth scholarships or the many community youth organizations that many Lodges support. Masons have heavily contributed and supported Dyslexia Centers across Ohio.
Of course, here is another shameless plug for the Mason Monday campaign. Take a look at past Mason Monday features on social media and read the comments sections. You will see the many reasons why Ohio Freemasonry is so special.
How has Freemasonry impacted your life?
My best friends are Freemasons. My father once said, “if you can go through life with 1 to 2 really close friends, then you are very fortunate.” For me, those close friends came from Freemasonry. These men are the ones who you will answer a phone call from at 3AM when you need help, sit with your spouse while you are in the hospital, jump at the chance to mentor others about work-life balance and the need for a strong spiritual life, or look for the opportunity to host Masons at their home over the holidays.
Yes, my leadership skills have improved because of involvement in the fraternity, but the #1 impact on my life has been the friendships I have made.
What advice would you give to fellow Masons looking to get more involved in the fraternity?
- Involve your family whenever possible in all community service activities supported by the fraternity.
- Openly discuss how being involved in Freemasonry is making you a better leader and a better man with your spouse or partner. Finally, make sure you are offering them the same support for any organizations they might be involved in.
- When confronted with a schedule conflict between the fraternity and your family – your family ALWAYS comes first.
- When in doubt of what to do, just lead! Even when you aren’t quite sure how – your fellow Masons will help you along the way.
- Ask yourself, what is a “bucket list” type of accomplishment you’d like to make in the community and find a way to involve your Lodge.
- Remember that busy people get things done. So, even when you think you don’t have time to get involved in the fraternity, you really do!
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. Teamwork in a volunteer organization, like Freemasonry, comes with some challenges. Everyone will have a different idea of how to accomplish a shared goal.
- Everyone needs a mentor and everyone can serve as a mentor. Do both.
- Think about those who paved a way for you. Now pay it forward.
- Ask yourself, “why am I not getting involved?” On your deathbed are you really going to say “I wish I had spent more time at work or made more money?” No, you are going to reflect on the difference you made for your family and community. Freemasonry is a great vehicle to be involved.
- Honor God in all that you are and do!
Want to read other Mason Mondays? Checkout our “This is Ohio Freemasonry” page on our website for all our past Mason Monday features.