As Freemasons, we are always curious about what lead us on the path that brought us to Freemasonry. That’s why we asked the question on Facebook: Why did you become a Freemason?
We were excited reading the answers that we wanted to share them with the Freemason community and released Part 1 on our blog. And because we received so many wonderful responses, you will find Part II of this series below showcasing the personality and stories of Ohio Freemasons.
“Although my father and grandfather were members of the lodge I joined, this discouraged me for decades from joining because I didn’t understand the appeal. The last thing I wanted to be a part of was a cheap social club. It took working side by side with a Scottish Rite mason who was able to convey the intellectual pursuits for me to develop an interest. Philosophy, spirituality and esotericism drew me in. The bond of brotherhood sealed the deal.”
– Charlie Grugle
“My father and three of my uncles were Freemasons and I learned by example what a Mason is supposed to be. Then through my years in DeMolay I met some more awesome examples of what Masonry is supposed to be in the likes of Chester Hodges and George Davidson, and so many others, who were great role models. And I knew I wanted to be like all of them. So as soon as I could I had my Dad carry my petition to Lodge and I’ve not looked back since. As Dad has always said Masonry takes a good man and makes him even better.”
– John Lesse
“Because it helps me be a better father, husband, friend, citizen, and man. I came looking to connect with my community, I stay because I found those connections and so much more.”
– Chad Kopenski
“I had little to no interest in joining DeMolay as a young man or Freemasonry as an adult until I was 44 years old, despite the fact that my father and my maternal grandfather, great-grandfather, and countless family friends were known to me as Masons. I had zero interest in that old man’s club. In 2015, other than a minuscule number true friends, I was surrounded by people with seemingly low moral character, people lacking integrity, selfish people who were mostly manipulative in nature. Everywhere I turned, the result was the same. I felt isolated and ostracized because I inwardly tried to live by the (Masonic) principles unknowingly instilled in me by my parents and family for all my life. I felt like I was the only person that tried to do the right thing, even when it wasn’t always in my best interest. Few around me did things simply because it was the right thing to do. Then one day, while watching a show on A&E television, I was reminded of the Freemasons, a society of brothers, built on integrity, fellowship, and loyalty to one another. As I watched the demonstration of their rituals and theory of their meaning, a flood of memories came back to me from my adolescence. All these happy memories from 30-40 years ago during my youth were interspersed with events at Masonic functions. Cookouts, vacations, trips, dinners, social celebrations of holidays….All the people that my father associated with and went out of his way to help….they were all Masons, Eastern Star ladies, friends – Brothers. So as I watched the show, I began searching the internet to see if there were any lodges still around. Low and behold, the town I had been living in for over 15 years had a lodge not two miles from my home. I had no idea. Out of curiosity, I sent the lodge secretary an email and a short time later I was told how to petition the lodge. Again, I hesitated. I had no real desire to join. I wasn’t a joiner. I didn’t do things for the community. I wasn’t involved or engaged….but I felt like I should be. It was time to give back. About two weeks later, I was driving home from work and my wife informed me that she and my daughter were going out with family. I suddenly realized had the night free to myself. As I passed the intersection, there was the sign for the lodge and an arrow pointing the way. What day is it? It’s Tuesday, the first Tuesday…the same night the guys at the lodge told me they’d be there. So I mustered the courage (or succumbed to my curiosity) and drove by the lodge. The lights were on. There were cars outside. What have I got to lose, I thought. So I walked up to the door and knocked…..and they invited me in for a cup of coffee and a conversation. A conversation that turned out to be the beginning of my journey, one that would drastically enhance my life. I knew no one in that lodge. Today, I share a friendship and fraternal bond with hundreds of men, most I know by name, of whom I would have never met or cared about. Today I’m engaged in my community, I’ve been blessed with leadership opportunities outside of my vocation that are rewarding beyond measure. Today I give back where I can. Today, I’m the Worshipful Master of that lodge and like many men I know, I wish I had joined 20 years earlier.”
– Steven E. Lowe
“I’m a “Lewis”. I am a 3rd generation Freemason. Both of my grandfathers were Masons and my father is also. I was raised with Masonic values and eventually joined Demolay at the age of 16. I had always looked at becoming a Master Mason as the next step in becoming a better man. Plus I was always curious of what happened behind the well-guarded door that my father and grandfather would disappear through.”
– Kim Clippinger
“I’ve always been intrigued by history and no matter where I looked prominent men of our country’s history were Freemasons. My Grandfather was a Mason but he passed before I got the opportunity to ask him about it. I had wanted to look into it for about 10 years but didn’t know how to go about it. I really didn’t know anyone that was a mason to ask (or so I thought). On a chance day my employer asked me to work my day off and the gentleman I worked with that day brought up a mutual friend of ours. He said he sees him at lodge all the time. I said unknowingly “The Moose Lodge?” He replayed no the Masonic Lodge. We talked Freemasonry the entire day! By the end of the day I had a petition in my hand and a little over 5 years after that I am Master of East Palestine Lodge 417!!! It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. The only thing I regret is that I didn’t run into this man 10 years earlier!!!”
– Jim Hall
“I’ll be honest, I thought Masonry could help me by making connections and networking with successful men. It was the wrong reason and I’m sure I’m not the only one with that motive. I was wrong about what Masonry, could and ultimately would do for me.
It has made me a better man, and taught me a great deal to improve myself, and allowed me the opportunity to help others. I have taken a great interest in the history, the degree work, and the meanings of all the little parts. Masonry has aided me in all aspects of my life, just not how I thought it would.”
– Bill Hargrove Jr.
“I found out about Freemasonry from the Widows Sons. After reconnecting with a friend and finding out he was now a Freemason and had recently joined the Widows Sons, I started to tag along on some rides. They had planned a trip to Sturgis that summer and were planning on staying at the Masonic Temple in Deadwood SD, I asked if I could tag along. My request was granted, and after witnessing the brotherhood of not only the brothers that I traveled there with, but the brotherhood of all the Widows Sons from across the country that were staying at the lodge, I knew that I needed to continue on the path I was on. It was after that trip I asked my friend WB Rick Bootes for a petition for Huber Heights Lodge, and I’m pleased now to call my friend Brother!”
– M Scott Haddix
“My daughter was working at the Ohio Masonic Home and I was asking her questions about the Freemasons. so she introduced me to a man named Rufus Dickson. he told me a little about Masonry. Then I ask him what you had to do to become a Mason. He said, you ask the right question. He signed a petition and had me fill it out and he ask Marty Trent with St. Andrew Lodge 619, Springfield, Ohio if he would be the second signer and he agreed and here I am. I have been a Mason 12 years and I love it. When I first became a Mason I didn’t no one Mason now I have hundreds of Masonic brothers. I am a Life time member with St Andrew 619 also a member of Morning Star 795 and a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Dayton 2011 class and have just recently been appointed as the ambassador to the Ohio Masonic Home. I have replaced myself 2 times and have Petitioned 3 who have become Scottish Rite members and I only have 5 degrees left to complete my Passport. My wife and I live at the Ohio Masonic Home and love it. We will be residents here 4 years in April of this year.”
– William Chaffin
“I joined the Freemasons because I was at a crossroad in my life. I been standing there for sometime studying the paths in front of me, while occasionally glancing back to reflect on the one behind me. I was a man in his mid 30’s who never really lived life with any sense purpose, or direction. I had finally decided I stood there long enough and was ready to put this crossroad behind me. I decided to take one last look back, to reflect one last time, on that path.
My upbringing wasn’t great, I was raised by a single parent who struggled to barely get by. In my youth I lived life carelessly, recklessly, and with no sense of belonging. As I progressed through life into adulthood my careless, reckless ways began to fade. By my mid 30’s I had several life accomplishments I am very proud of. I’ve been married to my best friend for 16 years, I have two beautiful daughters who are 11 years apart, I graduated from college, and I built my home. That is when my path brought me to that crossroad.
I honestly had no idea where to go from there, what to do, still missing that sense of belonging. I was home early from work on day and decided to do some running around in order to get some errands done. I have always been fascinated by the mysterious of Freemasonry, and had friends of mine who been recently joining a Lodge. I still never gave it much thought past that though. While I was completing errands I actually ran into one of those friends of mine who Mason. We talked briefly making small talk, but never once about anything masonic related. Before we parted ways I noticed a ring on his hand, I glanced done at it and noticed a symbol I have wondered about for years. We parted ways and I ended up at a different friends house later that day. He was in need of a ride to his parents house to drop off various things and I didn’t mind driving so we headed that way. On the way there we get to talking and the house his parents still live in was where they lived when he was born. We got to talking and he asked about the house I first lived in. I told him it was out by Plainfield actually and that when we leave his parents I’d drive out that way and point out it to him.
As we were on our way to his parent house I noticed a vehicle in from of me had a decal on it. It was that same symbol I saw on my friends ring just earlier that day. What a coincidence that was I thought, but again went on about the day. We left my parents place and like I told him I drove out by the house which I first lived. We drive past the house and I point it out to him, but since we were heading the opposite direction we needed to go to head back to his house, so I pulled into the parking area of a building that sits across the street to around. As I pulled in to turn around I noticed that the building was actually a Masonic Lodge. I knew then exactly what I had to do. I went home that evening and called my friend I seen earlier that day. After talking a bit I asked for a petition to join the Freemasons. I am happy to say I am currently presiding as the Worshipful Master of Plainfield Lodge No.224, the very Lodge in which I turned around at that day.
I never realized I had even started down a new path when I was at that crossroad, but I can say I have definitely found a sense for belonging.”
– Josh Everhart
Do you have a response that you wish to share with us as to why you’re a Freemason? Send your answer to OhioLodgeLife@Freemason.com to be featured in an upcoming blog post and start a conversation with your fellow Brothers.
Did you see our first installment of this series? Read it now.