On June 8, the Clatskanie Masonic Lodge members will award bicycles to two boys and two girls at Clatskanie Elementary School through the Masonic’s Bike for Books program. The student winners will be announced during the ceremony.
In the following conversation, The Chief gains insight into this program from Greg Hinkelman, the head of the Clatskanie Masonic Lodge.
The Chief: What is the connection and why is that connection important between the Clatskanie Masonic Lodge and its members to Clatskanie Elementary School and the students?
Greg Hinkelman: Education has been a major focus of Masonic charity. The Clatskanie Masonic Lodge, in cooperation with the Grand Lodge of Oregon has had a Bikes for Books program for well over a decade. The program has students’ names put into a drawing for every 13 books they read. At the end of the school year, we draw the names of two boys and two girls to receive a bike. The program is an incentive for children to read. The program is monitored by the teachers and the elementary school administration. Each student who completes at least 13 books receives a certificate from the Clatskanie Lodge and of course, the two boys and two girls get a bike.
The Chief: Where do the bicycles come from, what is the cost and who pays?
Hinkelman: We just started using a vendor in Astoria, Bikes and Beyond. The prices range from $100 to $250. The bikes are paid for by the Clatskanie lodge from the proceeds of various fundraisers we have done in the past.
The Chief: Overall, what do you and the lodge members take away from such community service
Hinkelman: There is always a satisfaction to giving back to our community. Helping our students is enormously delightful, especially when we have our Bikes for Books drawing. The looks on the students’ faces when their name is announced that they have just won a bike is more gratifying than can be expressed.
The Chief: What is the mission of the Masonic Lodge?
Hinkelman: The lodge, specifically Masonry, can be best described as: “A brotherhood of good men meeting and working in harmony, teaching strong moral and ethical values in personal, family, and community behavior and a code of caring for others.” (This quote is from a booklet called Freemasonry. Simple answers to leading questions).
Hinkelman adds that the bicycle award presentation will be conducted at 11 a.m. June 8 at Clatskanie Elementary School. In a related event, Hinkelman said KPTV TV, in cooperation with the Oregon Freemasons “Classroom Of The Month,” selected Billie Leinonen’s class at Clatskanie Elementary School as the May classroom of the month.
“This is a thrilling award for the school and the district,” Hinkelman said. “There are only nine classrooms selected throughout the academic year to be chosen as “Classroom of the Month” to receive a $1,000 prize/reward for school supplies. What an honor!”