Golden Ark Lodge donates coats and boots to Taylor school children
Monday December 07, 2009

For the third year in a row, members of Golden Ark Masonic Lodge 595 have made a generous donation of winter coats and boots to underprivileged students at Taylor Parks and Blair Moody elementary schools.

This year’s donation to Taylor Parks included 20 pairs of brand new winter boots, 20 brand new coats, dozens of used coats, 30 new hats and 140 new pairs of gloves. The Masons also donated 14 new coats and 55 new pairs of gloves to pupils at Blair Moody.

The list of children who needed the winter apparel was compiled by staff at both schools.

Joe Molner, past Worshipful Master of the lodge and father of Taylor Parks teacher Trisha Bergeron, said his daughter told him several years ago that a number of students were unable to go outside for recess in the cold months due to lack of proper winter coats and boots.

“Many students would come to school in just a hooded sweatshirt and tennis shoes, even if there was snow on the ground,” Molner said.

Molner initiated “Boots and Coats” drive started at the lodge to raise money for boots, coats and other winter apparel. The Masons held fund-raisers and received support from the John F. Kennedy High School graduates from 1984, which donated proceeds from their reunion gourmet dinner to the drive.

J.C. Penney at the Southland Shopping Center also aided by providing the warm coats at a lower cost and with friendly, smiling faces of store staff. Sax Discount Pharmacy of Taylor donated the gloves.

There are more than 40,000 Masons in Michigan and more than two million members in the United States including Bob Dole, Jack Kemp and Gerald Ford. Masonry is a fraternity of men who welcome any man to inquire about joining. Masons meet in lodges in many Michigan communities and have a long history of support for educational initiatives in this state and around the nation.

The Golden Ark Masonic Lodge recently announced that it would join a statewide effort in support of elementary schools and education by pledging 1,000 volunteer hours to Taylor Parks and Blair Moody elementary schools. The announcement was made by John R. Miller, Worshipful Master-elect of Golden Ark Lodge, as part of a larger effort of more than 200,000 volunteer hours sponsored by Freemasonry in Michigan. It represents the largest volunteer gift of its kind in the history of the state.

According to the scope of the pledge, Masons throughout the state will collaborate with one or more schools in their communities, providing a variety of services from mentoring to grounds keeping. Each Masonic lodge will appoint a special coordinator to assist the school in implementing, managing and tracking the project.

The gift is the idea of Robert Conley, Past Grand Master of Masons in Michigan. He has been largely responsible for securing the agreement of Masons to volunteer and coordinating this effort with the State Department of Education.

For those who are interested in making a donation to “Boots and Coats,” contact John R. Miller of the Taylor lodge at (313) 549-7620 or at