Dowagiac Freemasons to auction hunting rifle for scholarship fund

Published 6:00 pm Friday, October 1, 2021

DOWAGIAC — An opportunity for one community member to receive a new gun is also an opportunity for three local students to receive a scholarship for their higher education.

The Masonic Temple in Dowagiac, which represents the areas of Cassopolis, Decatur and Dowagiac, will auction off a hunting rifle Saturday at Peninsular Lodge #10, 121 S. Front St., Dowagiac. All money raised from the sales will go toward funding college scholarships for one student each from Decatur, Dowagiac and
Cassopolis.

“Up until a few years ago, it was $500,” said Ben Anderson, a mason from Cassopolis. “Because of this program, and the generosity of the brothers at the lodge, we’ve been able to do more.”

The funds raised will be matched by Michigan Masonic Charitable foundation, according to Masonic Temple treasurer Terry Newell.

“It’s a struggle to come up with the $1,000 every year,” Newell said. “The raffle for the gun really supports the program.”

The scholarship money is reserved for graduating seniors, who go through a scholarship process which includes submitting two references from school and two personal references with their applications. The student must also submit an essay with the applications, which are submitted in the spring and used for the following school year.

Newell said the group looks for who may be in need of financial assistance when deciding on the scholarship recipients, but it is not the only criteria.

“Some students work really hard to get the scholarship,” he said. “They deserve that, in our opinion.”

Newell said that the raffle is just one part of the masons’ mission of giving back to the community. He said the group gave away bicycles to children who engaged in a reading program, and will be bringing back the Child ID program next year.

While the majority of the gun raffle fundraiser is generally provided by members of the Masonic Temple, Anderson said the group welcomes public support.

“We want more public there,” Anderson said. “We think the scholarships are that important. We want the exposure, don’t want the look of impropriety. We want people to know the money is going to a good cause. … We want it to be as open as possible.”

Newell added that the checks are two party checks, made out to both the student and the institution of higher learning they will attend.

Raffle tickets can be purchased at Saturday’s event for $10 each or three for $25.