By Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
When you’re trying to get something off the ground, whether it’s an event, a community group, or a career, every little bit of help can make a difference.
The guys at Soldier Lodge #708 F&AM understand that more than most. They’re not a big lodge, but they do what they can to make a positive impact in their community. One way they do that is with their scholarship fund.
It isn’t a huge scholarship – only a couple of hundred dollars – but it’s enough to buy some books and other items. And, car show organizer John Gilliam explained, if that’s a burden and concern they can help a local student with, they’re glad to do so.
“The scholarship fund is open to any senior in any surrounding county,” Gilliam said.
They give out two scholarships a year, each for $250. Students interested in applying simply need to speak to their high school counselor to begin the process. Then the lodge votes on the recipients and those who are chosen will receive the award.
“It’s not a lot,” Gilliam acknowledged. “But we’re not a large lodge.”
Still, like with anything else worthwhile, every little bit helps; and it meshes well with the Lodge’s goal of helping men improve themselves and the communities they live in.
To raise funds for those goals the Lodge has initiated a new event they hope the community will help them build and grow, the First Annual Soldier Lodge Car Show.
The show, scheduled for Saturday, September 9 at the Haldeman Community Center, was born at the intersection of their members’ passion for helping the community and appreciating old cars.
“We were wanting to raise money for our scholarship fund, and the building fund… and all of us always liked old vehicles,” Gilliam explained.
From there, he said, the idea developed into more than just a fundraiser for the lodge’s building maintenance and scholarship program.
It became, he said, “A way to show the community we are there (to support) different things.”
Empower Athletics, for instance, will be set up selling concessions to raise funds for their tumbling teams’ travel expenses, as will students from West Carter Middle School.
He said the lodge hopes it can become an annual event that will benefit the community and students for many years to come.
“That’s what we’re hoping for,” Gilliam noted.
They’re also planning for a big turnout.
The show, which runs from Noon until 4 p.m. with setup beginning at 10 a.m., will award badge plaques to the first 50 registrants for the show.
Trophies will also be awarded in three categories – Best of Show, Member’s Choice, and People’s Choice.
Registration for the event is just $15, with no admission charged to come and check out the show. Gilliam said they hope it will be a fun, family friendly event with a good turnout.
“We’re just trying to help the kids out while we’re having a good time,” he said.
You really can’t ask for much more than that.
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