By Rita Cook / The ELlis County Press
OVILLA – Even if you aren’t sure what the Masonic Lodge actually does, it is certain you have heard of the organization. According to Ovilla resident and City Councilmember David Griffin, who was recently installed as the Grand Master at Red Oak Lodge #461, there are currently 52 members in that Lodge “and growing fast,” he said.
Griffin was installed as the Master of Red Oak Lodge #461 in July to serve the 2017-2018 term. He was installed by the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Texas Jerry Kirby.
“It is a great honor to have been elected as the Master of Red Oak Lodge for 2017-2018 and I look forward to working with so many good men to make a difference in our community,” Griffin said of his appointment.”
A member since 2012, the always cheerful Griffin said the Lodge does much to raise funds for charities in the area. That includes Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ellis County, Fantastic Teeth (A Masonic program where the Masons put together kits with toothbrush, toothpaste, instructions for brushing teeth and deliver the kits to elementary school children in Red Oak), the Waco Library and Museum, the Boy Scouts and they also offer scholarships for high school seniors and help additional charities that are brought to their attention throughout the year needing emergency funds.
One particular program the Red Oak Masonic Lodge does that is near to Griffin’s heart is the US Flag program.
“Members put out US flags each year with businesses and individuals,” he explained. “These are put out and retrieved six times each year on holidays making it easy for the business or homeowner to show their patriotism and we do the work.”
The annual one-time cost is $30 and Griffin said “If they want five flags or more the total cost is $25 per flag. For the past couple of years the Boy Scouts have helped in this project to raise funds for their equipment and yearly camping trips,” he added.
You will also see a presence of the Red Oak Lodge Masons at Red Oak Founders Day and Ovilla Heritage Day parades where they enter a float each year. This year the Masons are also holding their first blood drive in Red Oak.
Otherwise, there are yearly raffles raising funds for the award scholarships they offer and the men volunteer to Ring the Bell for the Salvation Army Red Kettle Project during the Christmas season.
“We give an award called the Mirabeau B. Lamar Award – Father of Texas Education and a Mason – each year at a large dinner with other Lodges at the Scottish Rite Temple in Dallas to a deserving local Teacher and Students for excelling in academics,” Griffin said.
First Established in 1876, the Red Oak Masons meet the first Tuesday of every month, and Griffin said the positive influence in the community includes promoting patriotism, supporting education, helping those in need, supporting the Children’s Hospital and focusing to spread positive values in the neighborhoods and communities.
Griffin was elected as Master of the Lodge by fellow members. His role is to lead the lodge for one year along with five other officers. He sets the path of the lodge activities for the year and presides in meetings. The officers generally serve in different positions for many years to reach this position, sort of like a chain of command, he explained.
“Masonry’s motto is to take good men and help make them better,” he concluded. “Masonry is one of the world’s oldest fraternities. Contrary to the History Channel and internet fake news, it is not a cult or secret organization plotting to overthrow governments and take over the world. It is good men from every day walks of life who want to serve their God, families, fellow man, country and simply have fun and fellowship doing it.”