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Masonic Lodge organizations donate $2,000 to WDC High School marching band, library

Photo by Dana Pavek/WDC Schools Representing the Wadena Masonic Lodge #156, from left: Al Friese; Scott McCall Jr., warden; Paul Maki, past master; Adam VanConant, senior deacon; Grayson Pladson, past master; Bill McIntyre, senior warden; and Kenny Friese, master and district representative, Grand Lodge of Minnesota. Front row, from left, representing Wadena-Deer Creek High School Loni Niles, media specialist; Tyler Church, high school principal; and Lisa Weniger, band director.

Three Masonic Lodge organizations recently donated $2,000 toward tornado relief for Wadena-Deer Creek High School.

The Wadena Masonic Lodge contributed $500 and the Fergus Falls Area Birak Shrine Club also donated $500. This was matched by the Minnesota Masonic Charities with an additional $1,000.

Wadena Masonic Lodge Master Kenny Friese said after the tornado hit the high school, the Masons wanted to donate toward the school. They requested their donations go toward the library to replace books and to the high school band program to help replace lost and damaged instruments.

"As Masons, we are supporters of education. Each year, our lodge, along with Minnesota Charities, gives six $500 scholarships in our area," said Friese, adding. "We wanted to do something to ease the financial hardship the tornado caused to the high school and to the students."

In addition to education, Friese said Masons are committed to supporting cancer research and treatment, providing scholarships to students, supporting senior housing communities for the elderly and strengthening the communities of Minnesota.

One of the Birak Shrine Club's most noted causes is bringing the Shrine Circus to children in the area.

"This past summer, with the help of Wadena businesses who bought tickets for the children, we were able to send two busloads of Wadena-area children to the Shrine Circus in Fergus Falls," said Freise. "It was especially important this summer as it was shortly after the tornado, so the kids really enjoyed this fun event."

Minnesota Masonic Charities is a nonprofit organization that contributes charitable donations to causes of all types; aiding other Masons, their families and all people within society.

The Minnesota Masonic family contributes more than $25,000 a day to charitable organizations.

The Masons' donation of $2,000 for the high school band and library are greatly appreciated by the school, said WDC High School Principal Tyler Church.

"It amazes me that we continue to see such kindness and generosity after our difficult summer," said Church. "Our band and library were certainly two of the most affected areas after the tornado, and this money will go a long ways in helping replace what was lost. WDCHS extends a big thank you to the Masons for this wonderful donation."