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Barbecue benefits children's home founded by Rome Masonic leader

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The Georgia Masonic Children's Home in Macon and other local charities were the winners Saturday as the Floyd County Masonic Convention and Oostanaula Lodge 113 F&A.M. hosted a barbecue lunch, blood drive and conducted a Georgia Child Identification program from the lodge hall at 207 Tolbert Street in North Rome.

Oostanaula Lodge Worshipful Master Phillip Martin said it was the 45th annual barbecue for the lodge.

"Most of it goes to the children's home and then we use some for local charities and expenses associated with holding the barbecue." Martin said.

The Masonic Children's Home was founded on a 650-acre site in Macon in 1905 and has served more than 2,000 children over the course of the past century.

Georgia Grand Master Max Meyerhardt of Rome, who advocated for the home and is regarded as its founder, was on hand for the laying of the cornerstone to begin construction of the home in 1903.

During that ceremony, Meyerhardt said "If only one pure sweet girl be saved from degradation, if only one boy be rescued from a life of crime...will not even this be sufficient to reward us all for all toils and struggles."

The Rome attorney served as Grand Master for Masons in Georgia from 1900-1907.

The organization has held a blood drive in conjunction with the barbecue for the last ten years. The Blood Assurance Vein Voyager, a mobile lab came out and was set up in the parking lot. Walter Tharp, a member of the Cherokee Lodge No. 66 in Rome said he always comes out to support brother lodges and was more than willing to roll up his arm to make a blood donation before setting down for some barbecue.

“The children's identification program involves a DNA swab, weight and height checks, a photograph, fingerprints, even a video where the children speak so that their voices are captured on record. Everything is put into a packet and put on a CD which is sealed and no one can access it but the police department," Martin said.

The Masons never go into the event with a financial goal in mind — just to go some good in the world.

"It's just whatever the good Lord is going to bless us with," Martin said.

In addition to barbecue, the lunch included baked beans, Cole slaw, chips and a dessert made by the ladies of the lodge.