Becoming an Ohio Freemason means upholding the values of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth through actions large and small. In response to the national pandemic of the Coronavirus, our brotherhood has put their commitment to caring for their communities across the state of Ohio and the country front and center. To recognize and inspire others to live up to the call, we’re continuing our series Stepping Into the Light, a nod to both MWB Newton’s initiative set forth at the beginning of his term and to how you have all lifted others up during this trying time.
Keep reading to see the remarkable stories we’ve continued to receive from each of you as the pandemic continues, and we encourage you to share this with someone who could use a bright spot in their day.
Bro. TJ Frank, Past Master of Robinson Locke Lodge #659
A registered nurse with a critical care background, Bro. TJ Frank’s role in fighting the virus is heroic. His passion for hospice nursing has put himself in a unique position as many patients are afraid and isolated. Services are limited to nursing only, in some cases, simply because of the risk of infection. For TJ, this means, “when people would normally see their family, their chaplain, their social worker, they now see one person (me!) playing those parts. Even though some staff has fallen ill, and we are trying to limit the exposure of healthy staff members as we must still take the time to be there for our patients.”
“I have stopped and reflected on the love and relief part of our values. This is my time to shine by stepping into the light. Now it’s spending an extra hour with someone to sing, listen to or have lunch with. It’s my time to help find a way to comfort a patient that’s afraid. It’s my time to shine by finding a scripture verse that helps soothe a restless soul. It’s my time to link a patient and their family through video chatting so they can see each other and say “I love you.” I know that Masons throughout Ohio are doing their part every day, and I am so proud to be an Ohio Mason because of that.”
Bro. Mike Lawson of Corinthians Lodge #111
Bro. Mike Lawson, a Technology teacher at Morgan Junior High, is using his expertise in 3D Printing to create face shield headbands and mask catchers for surgical masks. He has teamed up with several surrounding school districts to create personal protective equipment (PPE) to help supplement local supplies. Lawson says, “Students learn to use computer-aided design software and 3D printers in Junior High and High School and this shows a real-world use for the skills.”
Bro. Robert Hons of North Bend Lodge #346
Bro. Robert Hons and his wife Patty may live in Indianapolis now, but they are still continuing to live the values of Ohio Freemasonry. A former Home Economics teacher, Patty used her sewing skills to make over 100 masks for their daughter-in-law Holly’s coworkers at a local hospital, their family, and friends. To add, their son Rob is an IMPD Police Officer trying to stay safe, and their other son Chris works in the offices of an area hospital and helps in the command centers as needed.
“I thank the Worshipful Master, Officers, and Brethren of North Bend Lodge #346 for their efforts in checking on our Brethren and Widows. Mainly I want to thank MWM Keith Newton and all of the Grand Lodge Officers for their support and leadership of all the Ohio Masons and Lodges during this difficult time.”
Bro. Ray Habyan of Ebenezer Lodge #33
At nearly 74 years old, Bro. Ray Habyan and his wife Pam have been giving back to their communities for years. Now, they’ve taken up a new way of helping their neighbors that allows them to give back while staying safe. “I have always given something back to the community, especially around Christmas time. This time, we decided to do something that would have an impact by contributing $1,000 to the local food bank,” said Ray.
In addition to his very generous financial contributions, he is also a portrait artist and has completed 59 Free Portraits to Gold Star Families. “I asked Worshipful Ben Kois to pass on to the community of Lodges that I would be glad to provide a Free portrait to them of anyone who has passed because of this virus. Hopefully, I will not be asked to do this, but the offer is still available.” You can see Bro. Habyan’s portraits on his Facebook page.
These are just a small handful of the remarkable stories we’ve received from you all. More are continuing to come in, and as we receive them, we will share the remarkable work we are doing to inspire others inside and outside the Masonic community to join in on these acts of kindness. Please send all stories via email to OhioLodgeLife@freemason.com.