On November 23 a call for assistance was posted on the Independent Order of Odd Fellows facebook page from a member in Illinois. The post stated there was a young woman near Nashville, who has a 12 year old son suffering from leukemia. This child had been in Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital three times that particular week with high fevers. This Odd Fellow’s request was simple. He asked that someone out there please help.
Responses came from the Grand Marshall Dar Childs of the Grand Lodge of Michigan and from Barbara Rogers, a member of the Odd Fellows lodge in Pegram.
With the lady in Tennessee, the first question was, “what could we do to help.” Barbara’s phone number was furnished to the young lady and contact was made. The young lady was not concerned for herself, but was terribly distressed that her children needed coats and they would have no Christmas (because she had to use all her money for rent). Within hours coats and changes of clothing were being purchased, as well as small toys.
Early on November 24, coats and clothing were delivered, as well as a Walmart gift card and a pair of new shoes for the mother. The mother asked for nothing for herself and Rogers figured a pair of shoes just might make a difference to someone who was down on their luck. That would be a good story unto itself, but there is much more! Publishing what was going on in our facebook group got the ball really rolling. With the mother’s main concern being there would be no money for Christmas when she paid her rent, the Odd Fellows in four states, joining hands, relieved that worry.
The child with leukemia, Joe, LOVES anything Harley related. The middle child is an eleven year old girl (what a hard age). The youngest boy is six.
The Odd Fellows in Illinois set about finding and collecting Harley items for the leukemia patient. The Odd Fellows in Michigan began soliciting toys and financial aid for the family. The Pegram Odd Fellows started collecting toys and money for the family.
On November 25 the mother told Mrs. Rogers it appeared her son was giving up. She was very depressed. It is times like this that a listening ear is the best gift one can give.
On November 29, the Odd Fellows in Michigan decided they would come to Tennessee with the items and funds they had collected. Communications continued between the three states and it caught the attention of one of the Past Sovereign Grand Masters (the world leader of the organization). As the theme for PSGM Dalmar Burns, of Ohio this year was “you make a difference”, he was delighted with our efforts.
On December 18, it was the priviledge of the Canton in Pegram to host Odd Fellows from Lambertville Lodge #467, Jasper Lodge #481 and Monroe Lodge #19 , and Bay City Lodge at their social meeting. We were honored to have Past Grand Master of Michigan George Fogelsonger and Lady Linda Fogelsonger, President of the International Association Ladies Auxilaries Patriarchs Militant; Grand Marshall of the Grand Lodge of Michigan, Dar Childs; Past Nobel Grand of Lambertville, Robin Butler; Secretary of Monroe, Jessie LaPorte; Treasurer of Monroe, Joanne Klootwyk; Jeff Mulkey of Monroe; Associate member of Pegram, T. Ben Hamilton, Past Grand Master; and Vice President of the Rebekah Assembly of Tennessee, Karen Hamilton.
On the morning of December 19 the Odd Fellows of Michigan and Pegram, TN set out to deliver all of the gifts and monies that had been collected. A grand tour for the Michigan folks included a stop by our old lodge hall and our monument at the corner of Thompson Road and Station Drive. (See picture, right)
Many tears were shed as the child with leukemia became an Honorary Odd Fellow, by special dispensation from the jurisdiction of Michigan. Joe might just be a 12 year old, but he did seem to appreciate that we cared about him and his family. As he tore into his package and found his Harley items, a special glow came on his face. For at least a moment his illness and pain were the furthest thing from his mind.
The final leg of the 500 mile journey by the Michigan Odd Fellows was to stop by the home of Past Sovereign Grand Master Delmar Burns and give him a detailed report. He wanted to hear first hand how four states, joining hands made a difference in a young life.
So there you have an example of what Odd Fellows do. We visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphan. If you would be interested in joining us in this continuing project (which is only one of many) we would be delighted to have you join us at our next open house. Notification of this open house will be in the South Cheatham Advocate. Can’t wait that long to be a part of us? Ask One to Be One.