Jack Harding and friends(l-r); Brian Smith, Duran Henson, Bro. Jack Harding, and Justin Raihl

On Saturday, Jan. 22, nine youth between the ages of 6 and 18, and three staff members from the Masonic Children's Home traveled to Sugar Run, PA., to wish Bro. Jack Harding a "Happy 80th Birthday."

Bro. Harding, a member of Landmark Lodge No. 442, Wilkes-Barre, celebrated 57 years as a Pennsylvania Mason in June 1999. Three months later, he donated more than 50 acres of property along the Susquehanna River to the Masonic Children's Home. The property, which includes 2,700 feet of river frontage and 20 acres of lawn, has two cottages and two houses. Bro. Harding still lives in the main house on the property.

He was very surprised and delighted when the kids presented him with a Masonic Children's Home monogrammed sweatshirt, a birthday cake, a sign with well-wishes and greetings, and his favorite, chocolate brownies. "I went to pieces," said Bro. Harding. "These young people didn't even know me and they did that for me!"

The Masonic Children's Home's 38 children are anxious to begin using the facility this spring and are extremely thankful to Bro. Harding for his generosity, support, and friendship. He is just as excited about the kids coming up to visit and enjoy the camp.

According to Bro. Gilson "Buz" Cash, Director of Children's Services at the Masonic Homes, the plans for the camp are to set up playing fields for sports activities and to use the cottages and the house on the property to accommodate campers and staff during the youths' vacations. He said the staff hopes to bring the first group of children to the camp sometime this spring.

Sugar Run

Sugar Run

Pictures of the Sugar Run, PA property donated to the Masonic Children's Home by Bro. Jack Harding.