Announcements

Angel Tree Volunteers on December 7, 2019

Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge took part in the Salvation Army Angel Tree for the tenth year! We had over ten Brothers and Family participate this year and all had a great time supporting a worthy cause. The Angel Tree was located at Tyrone Mall in St. Petersburg. The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program provides new clothing and toys for children (ages infant to twelve) of families in need through the support of donors. Found in local malls, companies and churches, Angel Trees are decorated with numbered paper angel tags with the first name, age and gender of a child in need of gifts. Gulf Beach Lodge is pleased to have been a part of this program for so many years, and hopefully more to come with your support.

Election of Officers for 2020

December 5, 2019:

Congratulations to the newly elected and appointed officers of Gulf Beach Lodge for 2020. We look forward to another wonderful year of Freemasonry on the Gulf Beaches.

Worshipful Master Elect – Patrick Lynch
Senior Warden Elect – Mark Sawa-Szostak
Junior Warden Elect – Steve Johnson
Treasurer Elect – David Webster
Secretary Elect – Mark Niceley
Marshal – Howard Feldman
Chaplain – Don Harriott
Senior Deacon – Joe Sosa
Junior Deacon – Bobby Burkett II
Senior Steward – Craig Hunter
Junior Steward – Zach Zukowski
Tyler – Tim Delaney
Musician – Jim Frobe

Grand Master's Official Visit to District 18 on November 16, 2019

The Grand Master of Masons of the State of Florida, Most Worshipful John William Westerman III, made his official visit to this area on Saturday November 16th. Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge No. 291, located at 14020 Marguerite Dr. in Madeira Beach, was pleased to take part in this official visit and welcome the Most Worshipful Grand Master to the Gulf Beaches. The official visit was held at the Masonic Home of Florida scenically located on Coffee Pot Bayou in the old Northeast section of St. Petersburg. A wonderful dinner was prepared and over three hundred Masons and their ladies were in attendance. The Grand Master was also made an honorary member of Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge and presented a certificate of membership by the Worshipful Master of Gulf Beach Lodge, Brother David Neville assisted by Wardens Patrick Lynch and Mark Sawa-Szostak.

John W. Westerman III was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and spent much of his youth residing in the Maryland Suburbs of our Nation’s Capital. He is a graduate of Valparaiso University and has earned two Masters Degrees including an MS from Eastern Illinois University and an MBA in Finance from Iona College. John Westerman and his wife Sudy reside in Winter Haven, Florida, where he worked in the financial services industry until his retirement. He is also a Life Member of the industries prestigious Million Dollar Round Table. Westerman received the Three Symbolic Degrees of Freemasonry as a member of Travelers Lodge No. 390 in Lake Alfred, Florida. He served his Lodge as Worshipful Master in 2009 and as President of the Masters and Wardens Association of the 24th Masonic District in 2010. Additionally, he has served in several capacities as a District and Zone Chairman. In 2012 Jorge L. Aladro, Grand Master, appointed him the Right Worshipful District Deputy Grand Master of the 24th Masonic District. Since 2013 he has had the privilege of serving on the Grand Lodge’s Endowment and Investment Committee and as a Member of the Masonic Home Board of Trustees where he chaired the Masonic Home Operations Committee. He was elected to the Office of Junior Grand Warden in May of 2016 at the 187th Annual Grand Communication; Senior Grand Warden in May of 2017; Deputy Grand Master in May of 2018; and was elected and installed Grand Master at the 190th Annual Grand Communication on May 29, 2019.

Planning and running the visit was Right Worshipful Rick Wendling, the District Deputy Grand Master of the 18thMasonic District, covering Pinellas County. Born in Toms River New Jersey, Rick moved to Florida when he was two months old. Rick grew up in North Pinellas County and has resided there since moving to Florida. After graduating high school, Rick decided he wanted to serve the public and became a Volunteer Firefighter with Gunn Highway Volunteer Fire Department in Hillsborough County. He attended Hillsborough Community College for his Emergency Medical Technician, Fire Fighter I & II, and Paramedic. While working as an EMT at a local BLS company he put himself through the fire academy and was hired part time with Polk County Fire Department as a Firefighter/EMT. While there he put himself through the Paramedic course and was hired by New Port Richey Fire Rescue and then moved to his hometown fire department of East Lake Fire Rescue. Rick retired in 2013 from the Fire Service. Rick was initiated into the Freemasonry at Sutherland Lodge No. 174 in Palm Harbor and served as Master of the Lodge in 2017. Rick was appointed as District Deputy Grand Master for District 18 on May 29, 2019 and also is the current President of the Suncoast Master Masons Association.

Freemasonry is a fraternal organization for men ages 18 and older and is dedicated to being serviceable to the community as well as offering men an opportunity to better themselves and be a part of a world-wide organization of friends and brothers. Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge No. 291 was chartered in 1950 and has been an active force on the Gulf Beaches for over sixty nine years. Its members have included bankers, contractors, teachers, Congressmen, soldiers, pharmacists, police, firefighters, and a myriad of men from all walks of life. Freemasonry is open to men ages 18 and above and offers an opportunity to be proactive in the community as well as to be a part of a fraternity that dates back hundreds of years. Those interested in more information about Freemasonry can visit the Lodge website at www.gulfbeachlodge.org or email the secretary at secretary@gulfbeachlodge.org

Suncoast Master Mason Association Dues Reminder

Annual Salvation Army Angel Tree

-Brothers,

We will once again be volunteering for the Annual Salvation Army Angel Tree at Tyrone Square Mall (6990 22nd Ave No. St. Petersburg) inside in front of JC Penney between 9 am and 8 pm on Saturday, December 7th. You can sign up for as many one hour blocks of time as you would like. Please email me with your availability. Thank you in advance for helping bring Christmas Joy to a needy child! Howard W. Knapp PM, PDI, PDDGM, Secretary

Background Information

In 2009 sitting Master, Shawn Rae, introduced our Lodge to the Salvation Army Angel Tree program and we have been taking part in it annually since that time. The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program provides new clothing and toys for children of families in need through the support of donors. Found in local malls, companies and churches, Angel Trees are decorated with numbered paper angel tags with the first name, age and gender of a child in need of gifts. A person or family picks a tag from the tree and fulfills the request.

Our part in this process is to man the angel tree booth as volunteers on Saturday December 7th and give out the tags as well as check in the gifts upon return. Complete instructions are given upon arrival at the booth.

This is one of the most heart-warming activities you will ever experience and one that may very well be the highlight of your holiday season.

October 25, 2019: Adopt a Class Program

9 - 11 Remembrance Ceremony

Gulf Beach Lodge Welcomes R:.W:. Rick Wendling, DDGM

June 6, 2019: Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge, located at 14020 Marguerite Dr. in Madeira Beach, recently welcomed the new District Deputy Grand Master, Rick Wendling, for his official visit with forty-four Masons in attendance.

Rick grew up in North Pinellas County after moving from New Jersey when he was two months old, and has worked as an EMT and a fire fighter during his career, and now is a business owner.

Rick was initiated into the Freemason Fraternity on November 29, 2010 and served as Worshipful Master for Sutherland Lodge No. 174 in Palm Harbor in 2017. Rick was appointed as the District Deputy Grand Master (DDGM) on May 29th, and the visit to Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge was his first official visit.

Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge No. 291 was chartered in 1950 and has been an active force on the Gulf Beaches for over 69 years. Its members have included bankers, contractors, teachers, Congressmen, soldiers, pharmacists, police, firefighters, and a myriad of men from all walks of life. Freemasonry is open to men ages, 18 and above and offers an opportunity to be proactive in the community as well as to be a part of a fraternity that dates back three hundred years. Some notable Freemasons were George Washington (and 15 other US Presidents), Ben Franklin, Henry Ford, Red Skelton, and General Douglas MacArthur. Those interested in more information about Freemasonry can visit the Lodge website at https://gulfbeachlodge.org.

Bikes for Books

Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge presents twelve bicycles to local students

Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge, located at 14020 Marguerite Dr. in Madeira Beach, recently awarded twelve elementary school students from Madeira Beach Fundamental School with new bicycles. The ‘Bikes for Books’ program was begun in 2018 by Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge to encourage elementary school students to read more books. The students were challenged to read as many teacher approved books as possible during the school year and the student with the most books read from each grade level would receive a brand new bicycle. Also, the runners up received a $25.00 gift card to Barnes & Noble Bookstores, donated by Brother John Cone in memory of his late wife who was a retired Pinellas County School librarian. Mr. Chris Ateek, Principal of Madeira Beach Fundamental School, stated that the students reading skyrocketed this year following last year’s presentation. Gulf Beach Lodge plans on continuing this program well into the future and encourages other organizations and groups to support their local schools.

Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge No. 291 was chartered in 1950 and has been an active force on the Gulf Beaches for over 69 years. Its members have included bankers, contractors, teachers, Congressmen, soldiers, pharmacists, police, firefighters, and a myriad of men from all walks of life. Freemasonry is open to men ages 18 and above and offers an opportunity to be proactive in the community as well as to be a part of a fraternity that dates back three hundred years. Some notable Freemasons were George Washington (and 15 other US Presidents), Ben Franklin, Henry Ford, Red Skelton, and General Douglas MacArthur. Those interested in more information about Freemasonry can visit the Lodge website at www.gulfbeachlodge.org

(L-R) Mark Niceley, Steve Johnson, John Cone, Mark Sawa-Szostak, Bob Meeks, David Neville

Mutual Recognition with Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Florida

Gulf Beach Lodge Awards Scholarship

Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge, located at 14020 Marguerite Drive in Madeira Beach, presented its annual Albert T. and Tupper MacMillan Scholarship, supported by the Ernest J. Freeman Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund. The Scholarship was presented to Ms. Gayathri Kotha, a graduating Senior at Boca Ciega High School in Gulfport. Ms .Kotha will be attending University of Florida in Gainesville where she will begin her studies in biology and work toward a medical degree. Ms. Kotha has been extremely active in service projects in the community including over 175 hours of volunteer time at the Bay Pines VA Hospital. Ms. Kotha is also a member of the High School volleyball, swim, and marksmanship teams. She has served on student government and is a member of the National Honor Society, Health Occupations Students of America, and is an Honor Society member in Science, Math, History and Spanish. Ms. Kotha serves as Brigade Executive Officer of the Boca Ciega High School  J.R.O.T.C  and was awarded the ‘Distinguished Cadet” award. She is ranked 4th in her graduating class and was selected as an “American Legion Auxiliary Girls State” recipient in 2018.

Ernest J. Freeman Jr., Master of Gulf Beach Lodge in 1984, had a vision. This vision was to create a scholarship program that would grant deserving local students funds to assist in their college tuition. It was also his vision to create a program which would be self-perpetuating thereby being a source of assistance well into the future. After the passing of Ernest Freeman the Scholarship fund was renamed in his memory and has helped support a deserving college student each year since its inception. Albert T. MacMillan, a member of Gulf Beach Lodge, left a sizeable sum of money in his will for the scholarship program. After Al MacMillan passed away the scholarship was named in his honor. The annual Scholarship winner receives $2,000.00 to assist in their College or University expenses.
 
Freemasonry is a fraternal organization for men ages 18 and older and is dedicated to being serviceable to the community as well as offering men an opportunity to better themselves and be a part of a world-wide organization of friends and brothers. Its members have included presidents, statesmen, actors, astronauts, clergy, teachers, athletes, musicians, firefighters, and men from every walk of life. Freemasonry strives to take good men and make them better men. Just a few of the things that Gulf Beach Lodge takes part in is providing holiday food baskets to the needy, volunteers at the annual Salvation Army Angel Tree, adopts local teachers and their classrooms, and sponsors a ‘bikes for books’ program at local elementary schools. 

 
L-R David Neville (Master), Ms. Kotha, Pat Lynch (Senior Warden)

W:. Donald T. Harriott Receives 65 year recognition

W:. Donald T. Harriott Receives 65 year recognition On Thursday March 21st  Donald T. Harriott, a member of Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge in Madeira Beach, received recognition for his 65 years of service in Freemasonry. 

Thirty-four Masons were in attendance at the Lodge meeting when Brother Donald T. Harriott was presented his sixty-five year certificate and pin by Past Master of the Lodge, Worshipful Ralph E. Vaughan, who served as Master in 1994. 

Brother Donald Harriott was made a Mason in Fidelis Lodge No. 242, Patterson, New Jersey on March 5, 1954, and served as its Worshipful Master in 1963. Don retired to Florida in the 1980’s and moved to the Gulf Beaches. In 1991 he became a dual member with Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge and has served as Chaplain of the Lodge since 1992. 

Brother Harriott has also been active in other Masonic bodies including the Order of DeMolay (1948), Scottish Rite, the Tall Cedars of Lebanon and the York Rite bodies where he served as the Most Illustrious Grand Master of the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of Florida in 2005. Don has also received the Knight York Cross of Honor in 1996 and the Knight York Grand Cross of Honor in 2005.

The Lodge and its members congratulate Don on this milestone in his Masonic career. (Photo: W:. Neville, W:. Harriott, W:. Vaughan)

Annual Awards Dinner November 29, 2018

It was a wonderful night of awards and recognition at Gulf Beach Lodge last Thursday night. A packed house enjoyed a wonderful lasagna dinner prepared by the Junior Warden, Pat Lynch. Guest speaker was City of Madeira Beach Manager, Mr. Jonathan Evans. Those receiving awards were Deputy of the year, Shannon Roxby; Firefighter of the year, John Sleppy; Eagle Scout, Ashton Raymer; Steven M Fetherman JROTC excellence award, Shyann LaPorte; Honorary membership, Matthew Winters; 66 years of service, Bill Harper; newest Master Mason, Craig Hunter; eldest member, Dean Fink 93; youngest member, Cozy DeRosa; OES service award, Pat Milnes for Chapter 241; newest Perpetual member, Howard Feldman. A great time was had by all in attendance.

Angel Tree Volunteers December 1, 2018

24 Gulf Beach Lodge members and their family volunteered today from at the Salvation Army Angel Tree in Tyrone Mall. This is our 9th year volunteering for this worthy cause which gives Christmas gifts to children in need.

Bikes for Books October 27, 2018

Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge, located at 14020 Marguerite Dr. in Madeira Beach, recently held an Oktoberfest Fundraiser to raise money for their “Bikes For Books” program. The Oktoberfest was held at the Masonic Temple on October 27th and was well attended. The Junior Warden of the Lodge, Patrick Lynch, with the assistance of brothers Buck Owens, Joe Sosa, Steve Johnson, Howard Knapp, David Neville, Oscar Salazar, Howard Feldman, Cozy DeRosa and Charles Eisele prepared a traditional German meal of bratwurst, sauerkraut, red cabbage, German potato salad and German Chocolate cake for the numerous attendees. The Temple was decorated in German Oktoberfest fashion with real German Oompah music playing to set the mood.

 The Lodge raised $2,800.00  at the Oktoberfest for their “Bikes For Books” program, which is spearheaded by brother Robert Meeks. The program awards twelve elementary school students from Madeira Beach Fundamental Elementary School, who have read the most teacher approved books during the school year, with a brand new bicycle. A boy and girl from each grade level is chosen by the teacher as the winner of the award. Principal Christopher Ateek stated that the “Bikes For Books” program Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge  held at Madeira Beach Fundamental School last year was one of the best received programs held in many years.

Freemasonry is a fraternal organization open to men from ages 18 and up and is dedicated to building a better community through charitable works. Freemasonry is the oldest continuous fraternity in the world dating back to 1717 with the formation of the first Grand Lodge in England. Countless men through the ages have been members of the fraternity including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Douglas MacArthur, John Wayne, Henry Ford, and Buzz Aldrin to name a few. Men of all walks of life come together through Freemasonry to better themselves and better their community. For further information on Freemasonry please contact the Lodge Secretary, Howard Knapp, at secretary@gulfbeachlodge.org or visit the Lodge website at www.gulfbeachlodge.org

Recent Press Release

October 23, 2018

Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge Adopts A Classroom

Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge, located at 14020 Marguerite Dr. in Madeira Beach, recently took part in the Pinellas County Adopt a Teacher/Class program by adopting Mrs. Dority’s 3rd Grade class at Orange Grove Elementary School in Seminole. For a donation of $150.00 an individual or business can adopt a classroom or teacher which will assist them in procuring educational items for their students. Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge encourages individuals, organizations and businesses to consider taking part in this worthy program and help our public school teachers accomplish their goals. Orange Grove Elementary School was established in 1961 and its mission is to ‘establish leadership and a love of learning’ in its students.

Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge No. 291 was chartered in 1950 and has been an active force on the Gulf Beaches for over 68 years. Its members have included bankers, contractors, teachers, Congressmen, soldiers, pharmacists, police, firefighters, and a myriad of men from all walks of life. Freemasonry is open to men ages 18 and older and offers an opportunity to be proactive in the community as well as to be a part of a fraternity that dates back over three hundred years. Some notable Freemasons were George Washington (and 15 other US Presidents), Benjamin Franklin, Henry Ford, Red Skelton, and General Douglas MacArthur. Those interested in more information about Freemasonry can visit the Lodge website at www.gulfbeachlodge.org

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