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The Masonic Family in Dryden

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Golden Star 484

Dryden's Craft lodge is Golden Star 484.  Freemasons gather together as a Lodge to work the three  Degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason.  While there is no degree in Freemasonry "higher" than that of Master Mason, there are concordant bodies such as the York or Scottish Rite which offer further study.  There are also organizations such as the Shrine where members must be Master Masons in good standing.  Golden Star 484 shares it's facilities with the concordant bodies listed.

  • When: Second Tuesday September - June

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Dryden Shrine Club

The Dryden Shrine Club helps children in the area with a world-class network of specialized hospitals that treat children with orthopedic conditions, burns of all degrees, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate, up to their 18th birthday, free of charge. 

The Dryden Shrine Club raises money locally for the transportation of area children and their families to the hospital that will be able to help them best.  An initial assessment clinic is located in Winnipeg and run through the Khartum Shrine Club.  This is an easier and less stressful way for the children to get the help we can deliver.

  • When: Third Wednesday September - June

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Golden Star Chapter 254

The York Rite is one of the appendant bodies of Freemasonry that a Master Mason may join to further his knowledge of Freemasonry.

  • When: Third Tuesday September – June

OUR PAST MASTERS

-Meet A Brother-

By Brother Chris Marchand

Local Mason and retired OPP officer John Kennedy joined the ranks of a distinguished few, April 7.  At a banquet in his honour and in the presence of the top official of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons in Canada and the Province of Ontario, Grand Master, Donald Campbell, Kennedy was awarded the William Mercer Wilson Medal.  Campbell and a Grand Lodge entourage flew into Dryden from Toronto for a few hours to bestow the honour — one of just four medals they will award amongst Ontario’s 40,000 Masons in 2015.  “It’s the highest award any Mason can achieve, having not been the Master of his lodge,” said Campbell. “It’s recognition not only for what he’s done for freemasonry, but also for his community and for his church. There are very few who have received this award. It’s been going on since 1947 and some years we don’t award any.”  

 

A retired constable with the Ontario Provincial Police, the highlights of John Kennedy’s career are no secret to many of his local contemporaries. From saving drowning nuns in Quebec, tackling gunmen during a local hostage taking, to the 1986 police chase near Vermilion Bay that led to the rescue of seven-year-old kidnap victim David Mitchell — Kennedy’s willingness to put himself in harm’s way for those in need is well-documented. It was a career that ended earlier than it should have as Kennedy was critically injured in another high-speed pursuit in the 1990s. Given a one in 1,000 chance at survival, Kennedy spent 23 days unconscious. When he did awake, injuries to his vocal chords had taken his ability to speak clearly.

“I believe I am in the company of a hero,” said Campbell. “This man has done and sacrificed so much for his community. How he impacted so many people’s lives. There are people living much better lives today for what he has done and that, to me, stands out among many Masons.”

Early retirement upon him, Kennedy became active in a variety of spheres from working with seniors and respite, the Khartum Shriners, The Royal Canadian Legion Branch #41 and the Dryden Rifle and Pistol Club.

Kennedy is frequent donator to the St. Boniface Research Centre, Ronald McDonald House (whose CEO Allison Kesler attended the award ceremony). In recent years, Kennedy’s generosity has been a catalyst in the renovation of Golden Star Lodge #484 and helped secure the land position for the Dryden Rifle and Pistol Club in the purchase of the former Barclay Hall property.

Inspired by his willingness to get things done, sometimes at great personal cost, Kennedy was nominated for the award by his fellow Mason Colin McFayden who says he admires the man’s uncompromising nature.  “When it comes to having someone show up every time, we have John,” said McFayden.  “A man who for every step he takes up the stairs is an effort, but he still does all the jobs we don’t want to do. I know in our renovation John fell from the scaffolding about three times.  When another member suggested someone should supervise John for health and safety, John’s reply contained some pointed language and he followed by saying, ‘If I die on the floor of the lodge that is where I want to be’.”

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