Masonry, also known as “Freemasonry,” is the oldest and largest fraternal organization in the world. The organization lists its main purpose is to make good men better.
Masons are men of charity and good works, respected leaders of their communities. Many of our nations’s founding fathers were Masons, including thirteen signers of the Constitution. Fourteen U.S. Presidents were brothers of the craft, beginning with George Washington. Over four-million Masons in the U.S., from diverse religious, professional, and political backgrounds, have built this fraternity on the cornerstones of friendship, compassion, and brotherly love.
The Masons have been a part of the Worthing community for the past 111 years. It was in 1906 that the Worthing Masonic Lodge was chartered. The history of good works continues today with membership numbers of the Worthing Lodge at 34. Some of the members have been a part of the Lodge for decades.
Secretary/Treasurer Aaron Zahn said that one of the members has been a part of the Worthing Masonic Lodge for 66 years.
Zahn got involved with the Masons because his father, George, was a member and he continues to be to this day, George is observing his 31st year as a Mason. Zahn said the fraternity becomes a family tradition for some people. Zahn has been a member himself for 15 years. His eight year old son has helped out at some of the charity events the Lodge hosts, so he anticipates the tradition will likely continue.
The Worthing Lodge recently received the honor of being named Lodge of the Year for Region A. There are three regions in the state of South Dakota, and with 71 Lodges in the state the accolade means a lot to the local men.
The criteria used in determining the Lodge of the Year includes community involvement and following the Grande Lodge Rules. An executive committee selects the winning Lodges each year.
Zahn said the award came as a surprise during the annual convention.
The Worthing Lodge strives to give back to the community sponsoring events like lunch and root beer floats during Worthing Days, Santa Day every December, being a part of Trunk or Treat, and sponsoring the CHIP program.
The CHIP program allows parents the opportunity to create a kit of identifying materials for their child. The kit contains a fingerprint card, a physical description, a video, DVD of the child, a dental imprint, and a DNA sample. The purpose of the kit is to provide critical information to the public and to law enforcement in the unfortunate event that a child goes missing.
Another program Zahn said the Masons are involved with is MMSAT, a student assistance training that helps educate teachers about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and bullying.
Zahn said that currently the Worthing Lodge holds its meetings and events at the Worthing Civic Center.
He said, “We’d love to get a new building of our own, but it’s not cost effective for our small organization. We try to give back what we get.”