The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by David Conard, The Quill
The Illinois Masons, Child Identification Program, CHIP arrived at West Central School this month, Wednesday, May 18th.
Masons from the community representing four different area lodges gave up their day, with some even taking time away from their jobs to help protect the children of our community.
They are a part of a continuing program that has, to date, served over eight thousand Illinois families as a community service which is provided at no charge.
By the end of the day students of all ages will have a comprehensive identification kit with everything from a DNA sample, and fingerprints to a video along with an education on safe practices.
The emphasis is on prevention of child abduction and exploitation while at the same time providing the best identification tools for law enforcement and the media to aid in the quick recovery of children who are in trouble.
The men from our community who have made this service possible are Freemasons, who belong to the oldest fraternal organization in the world.
A part of the focus of these men and the Masonic organization is to encourage and teach that each person through self-improvement and helping others has an obligation to make a difference for good in the world.
What could be a better example of those principles than the protection of our greatest treasures, our children
If only one new child is helped by this program its value is beyond price. This and numerous other contributions to communities around the world are given without fanfare by the members of Freemasonry.
The CHIP team is headed up by Jim Hayden along with Keith Wagey. Ed Howard and Gary Campbell served as the police representatives Wednesday to insure that the process is overseen by a professional from law enforcement.
The four Masonic Lodges with members helping Wednesday were men: from the Avon lodge-Jim Hayden, Jim Jones and Keith Wagey From the Roseville Lodge-Don Kirby, and Harold Yeakey. From the La Harpe Lodge-Bill Meriwether, and Gary Campbell and representing the Oquawka Lodge- Newman Hawks, and Richard Gaddis.
Each man being an unsung giver to the community by again and again donating their time and travel, helping to watch over the communities most priceless flock, our children, knowing there are wolves out there.