Volume LIXMay 2012Number 2

Lodge Makes Children's Wishes Come True

On March 31, each of the 39 youth residing at the Masonic Children's Home in Elizabethtown, Pa., received a customized bicycle and helmet courtesy of the 340 members of Jerusalem Masonic Lodge No. 506, Philadelphia.

The lodge paid more than $9,000 from its charity fund to purchase the gifts for the children, who range in age from 6-18.

"We are very excited," Virginia Migrala, director, children's services, said. "This obviously took a lot of time, effort and money to accomplish, and we're so grateful."

Masonic District D has a history of benevolence when it comes to both the youth and the senior residents of the Masonic Villages. Every year, the district hands out chocolate candy to the senior residents at Christmas time, and Jerusalem Lodge gives each of the children a $50 gift card to Kmart. Usually, Bro. David Tansey, P.M., District Deputy Grand Master for District D, delivers the gift cards, but last year, Bro. Robert Stringer, III, P.M., Jerusalem Lodge, handed them out to the youth. While talking to Ms. Migrala, he asked if there was anything the youth really needed, and she said that she planned to place new bikes on their Wish List. Bro. Stringer discussed this request at a meeting with the lodge's past masters and incoming Worshipful Master, Bro. Gerald T. Lienert. They agreed it was only fair to buy enough bikes for every child, and that in order to safely ride them, the youth needed helmets, too. Bro. Tansey was appointed chairman of the committee to obtain quotes from several specialty bike shops and coordinate the purchase and delivery.

According to Bro. Tansey, a co-worker, Michelle Jones, referred him to the Lancaster Bike Shop. Not only did the owner of the shop offer good prices and excellent customer service, but assisted in the sizing and selection of the bikes and helmets for each child based on measurements and made sure they were individually labeled. Each child was able to choose the type and color bike that he or she wanted.

The challenge of transporting them from the shop to the children's home was met when Bro. Tansey reached out to his fellow Widows Sons Motorcycle Club members, and Bro. David Poli, Hackenburg-Mt. Moriah Lodge No. 19, Philadelphia, arranged to borrow a tractor trailer from his employer, All State Career School, Lester, Pa. He even offered to drive it himself.

Twenty brethren came along to help distribute the bikes and helmets to the children.

"The children were so happy we were here delivering the holidays gifts. I didn't know you could see bigger smiles, but after seeing the bikes being delivered today, I really believe it," Bro. Stringer said.

"We were able to come here on this most beautiful day, and every one of these kids -the smiles on their faces - make the smiles on our faces just beam," Bro. Lienert said. "If it weren't for the members of Jerusalem Lodge No. 506 being 100 percent in favor of this event - going far beyond what either [myself or Bro. Stringer] thought it could've been ... I'm so proud of the members of my lodge. This is what Freemasonry is about, and this is what we do."

The youth were very appreciative. "I'm excited to get this bike because I've been waiting for this moment," Shinely said. "I'm very excited you guys donated these to us." "I think it's a great thing what they're doing - giving these bikes to people who don't have any," Breana said. "I really thank them a lot for doing this for us. For spending their money on us, just showing how much they really care for us."

After the children received their bikes and had an opportunity to test them out on the children's home property, the children, staff and donors enjoyed a celebratory lunch of pizza and cake together.

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