Category Archives: Lodge Events

2015 Bernard Hogan Essay Contest Winners

Elvin E. Helms Lodge No. 926 is pleased to announce the 2015 winners of the Bernard A. “Barney” Hogan Essay Contest. This year’s winners are:

First Place – Christopher Sanders – Conner High School
Second Place – Sarah Moore – Ryle High School
Third Place – Kendra Fogt – Ryle High School
Honorable Mention – Sydney Taylor – Conner High School

Congratulations to each of our contestants!

Mr. Sanders’s winning essay is printed below.


Freemasonry and the Culture of America

By Christopher Sanders

Grandpa was a Freemason? I never met my grandfather, but my dad misses him a lot and reminisces about him all the time. When my social studies teacher invited us to write an essay about Freemasonry’s influence on American culture, little did I realize I was about to find out another piece of who I am. My dad has always talked about how Grandpa was trying new things, trying to make himself a better person, was involved deeply with his church, and fought for his country on Leyte Island in the Phillippines and in Papua New Guinea during WWII. Now, as a result of this essay prompt, I found out that Grandpa Sanders was also a Freemason and a Shriner, and Dad showed me the delicate worn box of my granda’s lapel pins and told me what he knew of the Freemasons. Other than a brief mention of the Masonic Order and the Anti-Masonic party in my United States History text, Freemasonry was never covered in any of my Social Studies classes, so I decided to find out more about who the Freemasons were and what they did for the United States.

I discovered by examining my grandpa’s mementos, talking with my dad, and using the Internet, that Freemasonry has a long and rich history. The fraternity might have begun as early as the Middle Ages, as stonemason’s guilds. Later, the Freemasons embraced the radical free-thought movement, which emerged from the religious conflicts brought about by the European Reformation and Enlightenment periods. Freemasonry was the first widespread and connected organization to promote religious toleration and liberty. These ideals were spread by the Masons into the American colonies through the works of such men as Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Paul Revere, John Marshall, Joseph Warren, John Paul Jones, and George Washington. Freemasons believed in a search for religious truth (partly why I believe my grandpa belonged to the group), and one of the Mason’s most radical ideas was the encouragement of different faiths within a single nation. In the United States, as Washington said, “minority religions were not only guests, but also full members of the nation.”

Washington, as well as other early leaders in American Freemasonry, rejected a European past where overreaching authority regulated how one could exchange thoughts and ideas. This view is embodies in one of the greatest symbols associated with Freemasonry: the all-seeing eye, representative of an omniscient God, aware of, but not controlling the activities of men. Although similar to the “eye of providence” (found in a triangle, overlooking an unfinished pyramid on the back of the one-dollar bill, as the Great Seal of the United States), the Great Seal is not of Masonic origins. However, the Latin maxim that surrounds the unfinished pyramid of the Great Seal — Annuit Copetis Novus Ordo Seclorum — can be roughly translated as “God Smiles on Our New Order of the Ages,” and is consistent with Masonic philosophy. The pyramid, representing man’s worldly achievements, or perhaps the United States, is incomplete without God’s blessing. As Freemasons believed, the union of God and man was required to break the religious order of Europe and begin a renewed search for the universal truth. Masonry embraced the new idea that was being born in America, that individual thought and free will were superior to governmental dictates and denominational affiliation.

At the time of the country’s founding, and later during the Civil War, Freemasonry continued to promulgate the dignity of man and the liberty of the individual. As such, the Freemasons were a pro-abolition society. As early as 1777, the fraternity made pro-abolition petitions in Boston. During the Civil War, the Freemasons, although at times separated by the color of their uniforms, remained true to their values and brotherhood. There are many stories of wounded soldiers, taken by both the North and the South, who were treated and cared for as if they were a brother. The strength and beliefs of the fraternity held more power than the governments to which they had pledged allegiance.

With the passage of time, Freemasons continued to influence American ideals and culture. Throughout the 1800s and into the early 1900s, before the United States formed social “safety-nets,” the Freemasons established orphanages and provided homes for widows and the aged — a form of “social security” — providing meals, clothing, and health care. To this day, Masonic Homes offers housing and services to individuals and families, and Masonicare provides nursing care and other services, regardless of the individual’s affiliation or ability to pay. Masons remain devoted to social betterment through individual involvement and philanthropy, but also continue, as a fraternity, to prioritize personal study and self-improvement.

Discovering that many of the “founding fathers” of our nation had Masonic ties made learning about that period of history more personable and relevant. I have a clearer understanding of how these men were connected and came to be united in cause. Over the course of the history of the United States, Freemasonry has strengthened America and reminded her of its original founding principles and ideals, as well as maintained its commitment to the individual’s pursuit of purpose. It is not overly presumptuous to suggest that Freemasonry played a significant role in establishing America as a place where the spiritual search, and man’s pursuit of liberty and purpose and the common good, would be protected from oppressive political systems and ridicule from other groups. Over the centuries, Freemasonry has transformed itself into a global fraternal association. While the typical American may be fascinated merely with the symbols and secrecy of the Freemasons, it remains a goal of the Freemasons “to instill in the hearts of men, ideals for a better tomorrow.” That goal has been and will continue to be Freemasonry’s most significant contribution to American culture. Grandpa Sanders succumbed to cancer in 1990, at age 65, well before I was born, but I believe that the pursuit of knowledge, the betterment of self, and his search for spiritual answers are among the reasons that my grandpa became a Freemason — pursuits which are still pertinent to and influence American culture today.

A Busy Night at Elvin E. Helms No. 926


This evening Elvin E. Helms No. 926 was pleased to have in attendance some visitors from Cox No. 464 and Mizpah No. 507 along with the Grand Master’s Traveling Gavel. As intended, we did not keep the Grand Master’s Gavel for very long. Brother Craig Lindon had claimed the gavel at James W. Alley No. 869 on May 11th and then presented the gavel to Elvin E. Helms No. 926 on May 12th on behalf of Pieratt No. 725. Brother Gary Rose claimed the gavel for Cox No. 464.  Pictured above, left to right: Buddy Wallace, Gary Rose, Ernie Stratton, Travis Bush, Jason Wallace, Ed Tanner, and Craig Lindon, Past Masters all.

buddy jason

Father and son Buddy and Jason Wallace pose with the Grand Master’s Traveling Gavel.

gary travis dan

Brothers Gary Rose, Travis Bush, and Dan Kemble pose with the Grand Master’s Traveling Gavel.

travis craig

Worshipful Master Travis Bush hands off the Grand Master’s Traveling Gavel to Brother Craig Lindon of Cox No. 464.

jason wallace

Brother Jason Wallace posing with the Grand Master’s Traveling Gavel. He did not want to let it go. Eventually we had to hold him down and take it away from him.

Elvin E. Helms Lodge No. 926 Qualifies for District Attendance Award

Nine members of our Lodge attended the District Meeting at the Covington Scottish Rite Temple on Saturday, March 28, 2015. The nine members in attendance qualified the Lodge for this year’s attendance award. Members attending were Bro. Ernie Stratton, P. M., Senior Warden, Bro. Ed Tanner, P. M., Secretary, Bro. Adam Gross, Junior Deacon, Bro. Dennis Stephens, P. M., Senior Steward, Bro. Kenny Williamson, P. M., Junior Steward, Bro. Mel Kinser, P. M., Chaplain, Bro. Rick Campbell, P. M., Tyler, Bro. Garry Kelly, P. M. and Bro. Dan Kemble, P. M.

Chili Cook-off Results

The Fourth Annual David Wood Memorial Chili Cook-off was bigger and better than ever. Thank you to all of the Brothers from 12 different area Lodges, family, and friends for making the event such a great success. Good food and great fellowship were enjoyed by all. Net proceeds from the Chili Cook-off were $419.79. We also raised $320 for our Kelly Elementary School Christmas Fund.


Picture above, left to right: Buddy Wallce, P.M., 3rd place in the traditional category; Laura Rodgers, 1st place in the exotic category and 1st place overall; Adam Gross with Rosslyn Gross, 3rd place in the exotic category; Ed Tanner, P.M., 1st place in the traditional category and 3rd place overall.

Not pictured: Holly Kemble, 2nd place in the exotic category and 2nd overall; Travis Bush, Master, P.M., 2nd place in the traditional category.


The winner of our Split-the-Pot for the day was Ernie Stratton, P.M., and current Master of Boone-Union No. 304. Brother Ernie invested his winnings in Elvin E. Helms No. 926 Kelly Elementary School Christmas Fund.

Gracie Hurst Benefit

Help us spread the word about Gracie’s benefit! Click HERE for the official flyer. Print them out, pass them out around town, hang them on community boards, and e-mail them to your friends, family, and co-workers!

Newport Lodge No. 358 will be hosting a fundraiser to benefit Gracie Hurst and her family to assist with the extensive costs of her ovarian cancer treatment. Thank you to Cross and Crown Community Church and Pastors Danny and Linda Morgan for calling on us to help this family. Masonry Matters in Newport Kentucky. Let’s keep up the great work Brothers!

Other local churches will be pitching in to help out, as well as the German American Citizens’ League of Cincinnati, OH thanks to Chuck Dietz.

The fundraiser will be on Saturday May 9th at the Newport Temple. We will have a ham dinner for $10 per person, split the pot, silent auctions, and more. We’re continuing to work on flyers and building a communication web to get the information out. Bookmark this page and check back often for updates!

March 4th Update: Contributions from local Lodges are starting to come in. So far we have received donations from Alexandria No. 152, Florence No. 949 and Favorite No. 581.

March 6th Update: It is with a very heavy heart that I must report that little Gracie Hurst passed away this morning. Click here to view her obituary. Visitation will be Monday March 9th from 5-9 PM in the gymnasium of the Augusta Independent School. Funeral services will be Tuesday March 10th at 2 PM. Please continue to keep the Hurst family in your prayers.

March 7th Update: Generous contributions continue to come in. We have also received donations from Boone-Union No. 304, Augusta No. 80 and Saint Andrews No. 18.

February 25th Visitation to Felicity No. 102


We have been invited to visit Felicity No. 102 in Felicity, OH on Wednesday, February 25th for an Entered Apprentice degree. The work is scheduled to begin at 7:30pm with no refreshments planned at this time. The Lodge is located at the corner of Walnut and Market Streets. If you would like to carpool we will be meeting at the Hebron Kroger at 6:00pm.

Rising Sun No. 6 Visitation

rising sun visit

Rising Sun No. 6 put on an excellent degree for their new Entered Apprentice. An interesting historical note is that this Lodge was originally chartered under the Grand Jurisdiction of Kentucky and became holden to Indiana later after Indiana became a state and established its own Grand Jurisdiction. That said it was particularly interesting to see the differences in their ritual. Their work was excellent and enjoyed by all in attendance.

Pictured left to right: Brother Mike Moses of Boone-Union No. 304; Brothers Ernie Stratton, P.M., Rick Campbell, P.M., Travis Bush, P.M., and Dan Kemble, P.M., of Elvin E. Helms No. 926.

February 7th Visitation to Rising Sun No. 6


This Saturday, February 7th we have been invited to Rising Sun Lodge No. 6 for an Entered Apprentice degree. There will be a meal at 12:00pm, followed by the work. The Lodge is located at the corner of Main and Mulberry streets in Rising Sun, IN if you would like to drive separately. If you would like to carpool, we will be meeting at the Bullittsburg Baptist Church, just off of the Petersburg exit on I-275 at 11:00am.

4th Annual David Wood Chili Cook-off

On March 14th, 2015, Elvin E. Helms Lodge No. 926 will host its Fourth Annual David Wood Memorial Chili Cook-off. Festivities will begin at 10am and the winners will be announced at 4pm. This event will be held at the Petersburg Community Center located at 6517 Market Street, Petersburg, KY 41080. For directions click here.

Lodge members, family, and friends can enter and everybody can vote. There will be three classes: classic, exotic, and hot. There will be prizes in each class. Bring any condiments you want to accent your chili. Our Lodge will provide iced tea and water (soda will be available). Judging is simple, just put a $1 donation in the ballot box of your favorite chili. Winners announced at 4pm.

Baby Emersyn Fundraiser

When: Friday, January 23rd from 4pm til 8pm

Where: Alexandria Masonic Lodge, Alexandria, KY
(At the corner of US 27 and Pete Neiser Drive)

Why: Proceeds from the dinner will help to defray the expense of medical costs.

Cost: $7

For directions, please visit:

To donate directly, please visit:


Emersyn James Potter was born October 6, 2014 due to complications during pregnancy. He was not due to arrive until January 7, 2015. He weighed 1 pound 9 ounces and was 12.5 inches long. Since birth he has been in the NICU at Kentucky Children’s Hospital. He has had pneumonia twice and has been diagnosed with chronic lung disease. As of December 6th, Emersyn weighs 5 pounds and is over 16 inches long. While he continues to grow and put on weight, his lungs remain underdeveloped, keeping him on a ventilator. It is not known when Emersyn will get to come home.