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Middleport Lodge #363 Spotlight

By February 19, 2022April 4th, 2023No Comments

Middleport Lodge #363 located in Middleport, Ohio supports a variety of charitable initiatives in their community. The Grand Lodge of Ohio spoke with Bro. Jordan Pickens, past Master of Middleport Lodge, to discuss how his lodge helps improve the community through the Meigs County Cancer Initiative and the Rutland Fire Department. We’re so thankful for lodges and brothers in our community like Middleport #363.

Middleport Lodge #363 supports their community through charitable acts.

Can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your journey with Freemasonry? 
I had two uncles, Tom Lowery and Larry Lavender, who were both Masons that sparked an interest. In college, Dr. Ivan Tribe, a noted Masonic historian, expanded on that interest and taught me a lot about the history of the organization. As he and I wrote a book together, even more local Masonic history came to light. In the fall of 2014, a book signing was held at the Middleport Masonic Temple building and I asked RWB Don Stivers for a petition that day. Dr. Tribe is a 33° Mason and a KYCH among many other honors, and was at every degree conferred upon me from Entered Apprentice to Knight Templar, as well as my 32° conferment. When I was installed as Master of Harrisonville #411 in 2018 and Middleport #363 in 2019 Dr. Tribe served as Installing Marshall.

I hold various positions in Pomeroy Chapter of Royal Arch Masons Chapter #80, Bosworth Council of Royal and Select Masons #46, and Ohio Valley Commandery #24 of Knight Templars. My wife Calee and I are members of Racine Chapter #134 – Order of the Eastern Star. I am also a 32° Scottish Rite Mason in the Valley of Gallipolis where I have a gold passport and am a Shriner of Nemesis Shrine Temple in Parkersburg, West Virginia.

Additionally I am a Knight in Valley Lodge #169 Knights of Pythias, which is a non-masonic fraternity, located in Nelsonville, as well as having been named a Colonel in the Honorable order of Kentucky Colonels. I currently serve as President of the Southern Tornado Alumni Association. On the historical side of my life, I am a past President of the Meigs County Pioneer and Historical Society, past President of The Buffington Island Battlefield Preservation Foundation and currently serve as a judge for the Ohio History Day state contest. I also have co authored two books on local history through Arcadia Publishing and the History Press.

Tell us about the Meigs County Cancer Initiative.
Meigs County Cancer Initiative (MCCI) was established in 1993 to improve cancer awareness and control in Appalachia. MCCI focuses on cancer prevention, education and the importance of early detection of cancer. MCCI’s grassroots efforts help residents to become more aware of when and where to seek screening, how to navigate the increasingly complex healthcare system, and where to turn for community resources. MCCI cares for the community by:

  • Working with various agencies, such as the MCHD, to address cancer health disparities in Meigs County;
  • Providing cancer education programs for the community that focus on prevention, early detection, treatment and survivorship;
  • Addressing needs and gaps in medical coverage for members of the community as they arise;
  • Education to combat high cancer rates;
  • Resources to individuals and families with a cancer diagnosis and making a $500 donation to them on behalf of the family members of the brethren of our lodge who had fought cancer.

Masons of Middleport Lodge are constantly improving the lives of those in their community.

Describe how your lodge supports the Rutland Fire Department. 
In 2021, Grand Master Dickerscheid made the call to support police, fire, and EMS workers. Our lodge sent word to our members who then purchased cases of water for the 13 departments in Meigs County. Our own Brother Jesse Pullins reached out to the departments and Rutland VFD responded saying that they had a need for the water our brethren had purchased. Many brethren of our lodge are firemen, EMTs, paramedics, nurses, police officers, and 911 dispatchers.

How do these initiatives help to integrate lodge members with the community?
Our members spend a significant time working directly with community members. In 2021 alone we:

  • Helped in a downtown revitalization project painting and restoring business and store fronts;
  • Sponsored a baseball team for the Middleport Youth League;
  • Put a roof on a building for one of our Masonic Widows;
  • Donated to Grand Bethel Honor Queen Morissa Barcus;
  • Gave out widow baskets to our Masonic Widows for Easter and Christmas;
  • Sponsored harness racing at the Meigs County Fair;
  • Participated in Middleport’s annual trick-or-treat night;
  • Fed the football team of Meigs High School;
  • Held an outdoor Masonic degree;
  • Took part in the craftsman Masonic club annual golf scramble;
  • Participated in three Fourth of July parades;
  • Organized the “Christmas Trees in the Village” program and the annual Middleport Christmas parade;
  • Attended the Masons-Shriners day game at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati,
  • Hosted our annual brick swap, which brings people from all over the state of Ohio as well as various places of the United States to swap bricks and interact with one another.

Is there anything planned for 2022?
We plan to be just as involved, if not more involved in our community in 2022. The best thing to do for your community is to find a need and contribute to it the best you can. Southeastern Ohio is a very impoverished area, but the brethrens’ willingness to volunteer and donate is truly amazing. Our lodge has around 100 members, 20 of whom actively participate in everything we do.

Want to read about other charitable spotlights? Check out our blogs on Grove City Lodge #689, How to Organize and Run Successful Charity Events, and The Grand Master’s 2022 Charity!