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Masonic Lodge donates to team
Team heads to nationals in Detroit
Representatives from nine Mason Lodges and lady auxiliaries pose with the Southeast Elite Rockets Track Team during a ceremony Monday afternoon. The Masons’ donations helped the team see their dream of going to nationals come true. - photo by Photo by Patty Leon/Coastal Courier
The Southeast Elite Track Team is competing at nationals this weekend among the nation's brightest and most talented athletes.
For the Rockets, competing in the event was only half the battle. The other half was getting there. With the price of fuel and flights going up every day, the track team was scraping the pennies in an effort to get each competitor a chance to go to Detroit.
Enter the Masons.
"The Mason sent us off," Track team spokesperson Cenita Chapman said. "Oh my God, I don't even have the words right now this is just great."
Representatives from nine Mason lodges and lady auxiliaries were on hand Monday afternoon, each with money to donate to get the kids to nationals. For the Masons it's their way of keeping their core value of giving back.
"We are about giving back to the community," Polandria Porter, most ancient matron of the Birdie L. Jones Court 14, Heroines of Jericho said. "And as you all know, our youth are our future, so at any given time that we can do something positive for them and give back, that is what is most important."
Edward P. Russell, worshipful master of the Hourglass Lodge 113 (P.H.A.) said the organization's main effort is charity and relief and showing love for kids and the community. He said he hopes the athletes will see the positive things the groups are doing and follow their example.
The Masons said this track team is a special cause for their groups.
"These kids have a lot of potential," Derek A. Dargan, excellent high priest of the X.L. Neal Chapter 118 Holy Royal Arch Mason (P.H.A.) said. "They have shown themselves and proven themselves and we want to support them and our community."
"It's a positive aspect," Janet Knox, worthy matron of the Laurel Growth Chapter 118 Order of the Eastern Stars (P.H.A.) said. "There are some many non-positive things that could influence them but instead, this is a positive thing for us to do. It's great to see them working at something because they could be doing something else over the summer. I'm happy to be a part of it."
In addition to the Masons, the Rockets got help from The Rev. Hermon Scott  and his Baconton Missionary Baptist Church.
"Baconton Missionary Baptist Church donated over $1,500," church member Crystal Ball said. "It is something the pastor holds near and dear to his heart because three of the track members attend his church and he loves children."
Getting all the track members to Detroit to compete was something the group was hoping to accomplish and Chapman said the team was extremely grateful.
"They are our biggest supporters and it is great because it has been a long hard road," she said. "We thank God that they believe in us and support us.
The Rockets listed donors as:
Baconton Missionary Baptist Church, Pastor Herman Scott.
Hourglass Lodge 113 (P.H.A.), Ludowici, Edward P. Russell 33rd, worshipful master.
X.L. Neal Chapter 118, Holy Royal Arch Mason (P.H.A.), Ludowici, Derek A. Dargan 33rd, excellent high priest.
E.C. Williams Sr., Commandery 28 Knights Templar Mason (P.H.A.), Ludowici, Sk. Aundra Smith, eminent commander.
Baxley Consisitory 209 Ancient & Accept Scottish Rite Masons (P.H.A.), Baxley, G.I.G. Peter Simmons 33rd, commander in chief.
Al Sarra Shrine Club (Omar Temple 21), Ancient Egyptian Arbic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, Savannah, Richard D. Morrison, high priest and prophet.
E.L. Johnson Council 3 Royal Select Masters (P.H.A.), Ludowici, George B. King, thrice illustrious master.
Laurel Growth Chapter 118, Order of the Eastern Stars (P.H.A.), Ludowici, Janet Knox, worthy matron.
Birdie L. Jones Court 14 Heroines of Jericho (P.H.A.), Ludowici, Polandria Porter, most ancient matron.
Mary L. Ayer Assembly 209 Order of the Golden Circle, Baxley, Crystal Taylor, loyal lady ruler.
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