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2023 News

Celebrate the Rite

Sixty Masons and guests celebrated the achievements of members of the Valley of the Firelands over the past year. Dustin Dewey received a certificate and pin for completing all 29 degrees. Robert Cooke and Mike Cooley were honored as recipients of the Meritorious Service Award at the Ohio Council of Deliberation on June 3, 2023. Mark Stuckey was announced as the MSA designate for next year. Jordan Lawrence, Russel Beach, Steven Cooley and Douglas Kranch received the 33rd degree at the biannual meeting of the Supreme Council in Louisville, Kentucky on August 29. Dwight Damschroder, MSA, was announced as a 33rd elect for the 2025 Supreme Council meeting. R.W.B. Mark Harris, Grand Chaplain, entertained the gathering with his songs. The evening concluded with an address by Most Worshipful Master Steven M. Grindle, Grand Master of Masons in Ohio.

Veteran's Event

Fifty-four Mason's and guests enjoyed a dinner and viewing afterwards a traveling replica of the Vietnam War Memorial in Gibsonburg on September 1, 2023. This group was a first initiative to recognize veterans and establish a chapter of the Sojourner's International within the Valley of the Firelands. 

Summer Reunion

Sixty members and visitors celebrated the Valley's Summer Reunion on June 21, 2023, at the Findlay Masonic Center in Findlay, Ohio. Two new members were welcomed with an introduction to the Scottish Rite and the valley, followed by the 4th degree.

The 5th degree was then presented using the Table Degree format. Finally, after lunch, the fully staged 15th degree was presented to conclude the day.

June Cruise-In

On June 21, 2023, the Valley of the Firelands held its first Cruise-In for this Masonic year at Toft Dairy Ice Cream Parlor, 3717 Venice Road in Sandusky. As the picture shows, the ice cream was enjoyed by all.

2023 Meritorious Service Award Recipients Honored

At the annual Ohio Council of Deliberation meeting in Independence, Ohio, on Saturday, June 3, 2023, Robert Cooke and Michael Cooley were awarded the Meritorious Service Award for their contributions to the Valley of the Firelands. Chairman of the Board and 33o designate Steven Cooley escorted his son Michael Cooley. Tyler of the Valley Arnie Humphries, a previous MSA recipient, escorted Robert Cooke.

2023 Ohio Council of Deliberation

Representatives from the Valley of the Firelands attended the Ohio Council of Deliberation business session Saturday afternoon, June 3, 2023, at the Holiday Inn in Independence, Ohio.

Roger Edgington Honored

On Thursday, May 25, 2023, at the stated meeting of Medina Lodge #58, Ill. Roger Edgington, 330, a plural member of the Valley of the Firelands, received his 50-year service award from Most Worshipful Brother Eric Schau, Past Grand Master of Masons in Ohio. Brother Edgington's wife proudly pinned the accompanying 50-year pin to his lapel. Brother Edgington was also give the Pillar of Our Lodge Award for his 50 years of service to Medina Lodge #58.

2023 Valley of the Firelands Scholarship Winners

The two students pictured below each received a $1,330 scholarship from the Valley of the Firelands this year.

Leslii Silveus (left) of Findlay will be a Junior at the University of Rochester. Her major is mechanical engineering and she plans to become a robotics engineer. She is also taking programming classes to learn coding to obtain a minor in computer science.

Elena Runion (right) from Wellington will be a Junior at the University of Michigan. Her major is molecular, cellular and developmental biology and she is studying to become a medical reseacher. She is also working toward a joint degree in Spanish.

Annual Installation of Officers

Over sixty members and their families attended the annual installation of officer ceremony at Bellevue Lodge #273 on May 3, 2023. The Hector Kilbourne Lodge of Perfection and Seneca-Green Springs Council of Princes of Jerusalem retired their current chief officers, allowing all junior officers to move up. The Platt Benedict Chapter of Rose Croix and Consistory of Sandusky and The Firelands retained their leadership for the most part.

The new officer lines include: 

Hector Kilbourne Lodge of PerfectionWilliam M. Bevens, 32o, Thrice Potent Master; Eric Young, 32o, Deputy Master; Daniel J. Harr, Sr., 32o, Senior Warden; Robert Lemaster, 32o, Junior Warden; Austin Norville, 32o, Orator; Dustin Dewey, 32o, Master of Ceremonies, Lawrence Kilgore, 32o, Captain of the Guard.

Seneca-Green Springs Council of Princes of JerusalemAnthony J. Wise, 32o, Sovereign Prince; Scott O. Nave, 32o, High Priest; Anton Smith, 32o, Senior Warden; Lon Burton, 32o, Junior Warden; Jason "Eric" Wilkens, 32o, Master of Ceremonies; Ralph Springer, 32o, Master of Entrances

Platt Benedict Chapter of Rose CroixRobert Cooke, 32o, Most Wise Master; Cody Noon, 32o, Senior Warden; Tom Hilton, 32o, MSA, Junior Warden; Daniel Brake, 32o, Orator; Leland Kemerley, 32o, Master of Ceremonies; Howard Ellis, 32o, Captain of the Guard, 

Sandusky and the Firelands ConsistoryAlan Bacon, 32o, MSA, Commander-in-Chief; Russel Beach, 32o, 1st Lt. Commander, Lawrence Palmer, 32o, 2nd Lt. Commander; M. Max Rowe, 32o, Orator; David Dauterman, 32o, Chancellor; Robert Ochier, 32o, Master of Ceremonies; Daniel Slavin, 32o, Captain of the Guard.

Dwight Damschroder was presented with a plaque and a perpetual membership for his service as past secretary of the Valley and successfully shepherding the Valley through the Valley of Excellent award process for the past three years.

The formation of the Speakers Club was announced and 22 members indicated their desire to join.

Spring Reunion

Sixty Scottish Rite Masons from the Valley of the Firelands and other valleys attended the Spring Reunion. The 4th, 6th, and 14th degrees were exemplified members, including one new member, attended the presentation of the 4th and 8th degrees at Gibson Lodge on March 23, 2023, and Green Springs Lodge on March 25, 2003. In a show of unity between the York Rite and Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Five Master Masons received the Mark Master Degree and Past Master Degree  as courtesy work for their respective Chapters.

8th Degree

A combined total of 63 members, including one new member, attended the presentation of the 4th and 8th degrees at Gibson Lodge on March 23, 2023, and Green Springs Lodge on March 25, 2003. 

Rite On 2023

Seventy members of the Valley and their wives celebrated the Rite On! event on March 5, 2023, at Mesenburg Plaza Place in Huron, Ohio. Eight members received certificates and jewels for completing their second passport. Anton Smith was inducted as a Firelands Colonel, an honorary service award unique to the Valley.

20th Degree

A combined total of 32 members including one initiate attended the presentation of the 20th Degree, Master Ad Vitam, on February 23, 2023, at Shelby Lodge #350 and on February 25, 2023, at Monticello Lodge #244.

Super Bowl Party 2023

On February 12, 2023, members of the Valley of the Firelands and two prospective members met at Gibson Lodge #301 in Wakeman for the fourth annual Valley Super Bowl Party. Food, drinks, games, and comradery were enjoyed by all.

Special Dinner

On Saturday evening, February 4, the Thirty-third-elects met in Deputy's Representative Ill. Joe Radocy's home to discuss the Louisville supreme council. Chef Harold Wilburt, a member of the Valley of the Firelands, prepared dinner for the group.

20th Degree

On Thursday evening, February 23, degrees were offered by the Valley of the Firelands for the first time in Shelby Lodge's new location north of the city. Twenty-five brethren attended, including one new candidate who received the 4th degree. The 20th degree then followed. The degrees were repeated on Saturday, February 25, at Monticello Lodge in Clyde, Ohio.

Fellowcraft Team Inauguration

The Valley of the Firelands held the inaugural practice for its Fellowcraft Team on Tuesday, February 27, at Bellevue Lodge. Several new Masons joined in and had an enjoyable time "learning the ropes." The Fellowcraft Team will be available for any lodge in the Valley to use for Master Mason degrees as part of the Valley's commitment to support the local Blue Lodges in the region.

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