Recent Announcements

9th Annual Chili Cook-off

posted Feb 3, 2018, 9:36 AM by WMLodge 208   [ updated Feb 4, 2018, 5:43 AM ]

Once again the annual chili cook-off was another great success.  The Pedals for Progress reading program at Stevens Middle School will receive 2 Trek bicycles from the proceeds

posted Feb 25, 2017, 3:16 PM by WMLodge 208

Pictured are:  Worshipful Master Thomas Milianti, , 1st place winner Brother  Ken Farmer, 2nd place - Audrey Medina, 3rd place - Tina Nall, Brother Tony Collachia

Thanks to all the participants and to all that came out to support us!

8th Annual Chili Cook-off

posted Feb 25, 2017, 1:16 PM by WMLodge 208

This year's chili cook-off was another great success.  Enough money was raised to provide 2 Trek bicycles and accessories to the Pedals for Progress reading program for Stevens Middle School.

Pictured are:  Brother Tony Collachia, 1st place winner Brother Russ Peterka, 2nd place - Brother Troy Butler, 3rd place - Steve Medina, Sr. Warden Thomas Milianti and Worshipful Master Jeff Cromer  

Masons provide second bicycle and helmet for “Pedals for Progress”

posted Jan 16, 2016, 7:27 PM by WMLodge 208   [ updated Jan 16, 2016, 7:29 PM ]

Proceeds from the Chili Cook-off provided a second bicycle and helmet to the Stevens Intermediate school  “Pedals for Progress” program.

Staci Roesel, the Special Education Administrator for Wilmington School District wrote the following letter about the young winner and the day he was presented with his new bike:

Hello Wilmington Mason Secretary and Members,
Today was a very exciting day for us in the Wilmington Special Education Department, as well as for the entire Stevens Intermediate School! Because of your generosity a young man feels like his hard work has paid off and that there are people in our community that care about his reading progress, but even more than that, care about him! After you left I heard him tell his teacher, “I have never gotten such a nice gift in all my life!”  “That was really nice of those people.” My staff, myself included, had tear-filled eyes as we gathered later to talk about the joy you have brought to him. This is something that he will never forget, nor the special education department as a whole. Thank you so much!
Thank you again,
Staci Roesel
Special Education Administrator for Wilmington School District

Masons Provide Bicycle for “Pedals for Progress” Winnertled Post

posted Jun 19, 2015, 4:46 PM by WMLodge 208   [ updated Jun 19, 2015, 4:47 PM ]

Glen Boynton, Stevens Intermediate 5th Grader, displays the bicycle presented by the Wilmington Masons after he was named the winner of the “Pedals for Progress” award.

Pictured left to right are:  Glen, Lodge Secretary George Roesel, Lodge Senior Deacon Tom Milianti, and Glen’s mother Theresa Boynton. 

Glen Boynton, a 5th grader at Stevens Intermediate School, was presented with a bicycle by the Wilmington Masonic Lodge after he was named the winner of the “Pedals for Progress” reading award.  Glen was a member of the class taught by Mrs. Robin Tkach and Mrs. Chris Flannery. 

            During the year Glen made significant progress in his reading skills.  Mrs. Stacy Roesel

thanked the Masons for encouraging all students to “do their best.”   

            The funds used to purchase the bicycle came from the Illinois Grand Lodge “Coins for Children” program.  Under that program, local lodges hold fund raisers dedicated to a particular project and the Grand Lodge matches what the local lodge spends on that project. 

            Proceeds from the lodge’s annual Chili Cook-Off held in January were earmarked for the “Pedals for Progress” project.  Chairmen for the very successful Cook-Off were Tom Milianti and Tony Collachia. 

            In an effort to promote bicycle safety, the lodge included a helmet and other accessories with the bicycle.

Chili Cook-off 2015

posted Feb 3, 2015, 5:34 PM by WMLodge 208

The Annual Chili Cook-Off and bake sale was held on January 25, 2015.  Once again, the event was a huge success.  Money was raised for the Stevens Middle School Pedals for Progress program.

11 contestants competed for top honors.  Our winners pose below with Worshipful Master James Lestina.

Our contestants serving up their Chili!

Some of the judges

Thanks to Tom & Tony for all your hard work again this year!

Chili Cook-Off 2014

posted Feb 11, 2014, 5:50 PM by WMLodge 208   [ updated Mar 8, 2014, 7:16 AM ]

 The 5th Annual Wilmington Lodge Chili Cook-Off was held on Saturday, January 25.  Nine cooks vied for the top honors.

Two chili recipes tied for first place.  Ron Beyers and Troy Butler received the same number of votes from the chili aficionados.  Each was awarded an engraved soup (chili) ladle and a first place ribbon.  Second place was won by Keith Koca.  Third place went to Steve Medina. 


WM Jeff Cromer presents a ribbon and an engraved ladle to the first place winners (Brother Troy Butler, left, and Ron Beyers, right) in the 2014 Chili-Cookoff after the voters had selected their chili presentations as best in the house.

 In addition to the cooks earning honors, the other competitors included Jim Lestina, George Roesel, Dave Stover, Darla and Bob Neises, and John Persic.

It was fun to taste the different entries.  In my notes I find that one of the entries was made with venison, one had a strong taste of molasses (at least to me), another used a spice that reminded me of pumpkin pie, and another one was heavy with a green pepper flavor.  Last year’s winning entry—a white chicken chili—also appeared again this year.  Different degrees of spiciness were also very apparent. 

Everyone likes what he likes—especially when it comes to chili.  Both my wife and I voted for the entry that was closest to what we usually serve at home—a slightly spicy chili flavored with regular chili powder.  Each of the chili presentations had its own personality.

All the women who attended were entered in a drawing.  Dorothy Locke was the lucky winner of the special door-prize basket.

The Cook-Off was chaired again this year by Brethren Tom Milianti and Tony Collachia.  Helped by the officers, brethren, and family members, Tom and Tony did a great job.  Money earned from the event will be donated to the Wilmington Police Department. 


 WB George Roesel poses behind his almost empty pot of chili.


 Second place winner Brother Keith Koca and his children are shown receiving their award from WM Jeff Cromer.  


Brother Jim Lestina poses with his chili entry.


Brother Dave Stover waits for the votes to be counted. 


WB Bob and Darla Neises are shown at the contestants’ table near the end of the Chili Cook-Off.  Bob has been instrumental in making the Cook-Off a great success.  He was the chairman of the event in its first couple of years and has participated in one way or another ever since.


BrethrenTony Collachia (left) and Tom Milianti stand in the lodge kitchen during the Chili Cook-Off.  Tony and Tom were co-chairmen of the event for the second year. 

WM Jeff Cromer presents Steve Medina with his 3rd place ribbon.  Steve served his fiancée Brianne Cromer’s white chicken chili. 


“Mrs. Locke,” Dorothy Locke chats with two of her former 2nd Graders at the Chili Cook-Off.  Dorothy taught Dave Stover (center) and George Roesel when they were 2nd graders (in different years, of course) at Booth Central School in Wilmington.


Mary, wife of WM Jeff Cromer, shares a moment with WB Bob Neises.  Our wives are the greatest asset in the lodge.  Thank you, Mary, for all you do to help make our lodge successful.


WM Jeff Cromer poses with his daughter. 


Masons Support Stevens Reading Program

posted May 16, 2013, 4:23 PM by WMLodge 208   [ updated Feb 11, 2014, 4:51 PM ]

Robert Neises, the Worshipful Master of Wilmington Masonic Lodge No. 208 is pictured presenting a check to Michael Merritt, principal of Lester J. Stevens Intermediate School, to help pay for the renewal of the school's license to use Read Live, a computerized reading assessment program.  The donation made by the local Masonic Lodge will be matched by the Illinois Grand Lodge of Masons through its Coins for Children program.  Also pictured are (l to r) Christine Dooley, Sherri Callis, Chris Flannery, and Sara Allred.  These are some of the teachers who will be using the program as an intervention tool to identify and remediate reading deficiencies of 'at risk' students.

Masons Hold Child Identification Event at Bruning School

posted Nov 1, 2012, 6:48 AM by WMLodge 208   [ updated Nov 1, 2012, 7:00 AM ]

Fifty-five children were fingerprinted, swabbed for a DNA sample, weighed, and interviewed on video during a Wilmington Masons Illinois Child Identification Program (IL CHIP) event on Thursday, October 25, at Bruning School.  

The Masons were available at the school during Parent-Teacher Conferences and collected identification information that could be used if a child went missing—by simply getting lost or from some more sinister reason.  During these events all the information that is gathered is retained by the parent or guardian, who can make it available during an emergency.  

The Masonic Child Identification Program addresses the alarming fact that over one million children are reported missing each year.  The Freemason program is the most comprehensive service of its kind.  It is provided free of any charge to all participants.  It also provides an opportunity to educate our children on safe practices, which will reduce their risk of abduction or exploitation.

Local Masons provide several opportunities during the year for parents to have their children processed for identification information.  The events are usually advertised through press releases in the Free Press/Advocate.    

    Helping with the IL CHIP event were Brethren Wes Smith, Jim Lestina, Mark Roesel, Lee Springer, John Hopwood, Ben Galyon, and Bill Locke.

Lee Springer, a Past Master of Wilmington Masonic Lodge No. 208, fingerprints 6-year-old Porter Hazzard as his brother Parker, 4, waits his turn at the Bruning School Illinois Child Identification Program event held on October 25.  Fingerprints are one identification feature gathered by the Masons as they process children in the IL CHIP program.  

A mother fills out paper work for IL CHIP as she holds her youngster. 

John Hopwood makes sure that everything is properly prepared on IL CHIP permission form. 

Lee Springer and Mark Roesel pose for a picture during a break in the action at Bruning IL CHIP event on October 25.

Brother Henry (Hank) J. Prosser Recognized as a 65-Year Masonst

posted Oct 17, 2012, 5:23 AM by WMLodge 208

During the opening moments of the lodge at the October 12 Stated Meeting, Brother
Henry Jennings Prosser, Jr., was introduced, and after his history as a Mason was reviewed,
Worshipful Master George Roesel presented him with a certificate and pin from the Grand
Lodge of Illinois Masons honoring him as a 65-Year member of the fraternity.
 (Brother Prosser has actually been a Mason for more than 66 years.)

Mr. Hank Prosser submitted a petition for the degrees of Masonry on May 6, 1946. It
was signed by Brothers Lester J. Stevens, Charles Cracraft, and John J. Homolka. After the
lodge officially received his petition on May 8, Brothers George D. Davenport, Waldo (John)
M. Weaver, and Dale S. Montgomery were assigned to investigate Prosser. They recommended him for membership, and he was elected to receive the Masonic degrees in Wilmington Lodge on June 12, 1946.

Two weeks later, on June 26, Mr. Prosser was initiated as an Entered Apprentice. On
July 10, he was passed to the degree of Fellowcraft and on July 20 was raised to the Sublime
Degree of Master Mason.

Since that time Brother Prosser has been a good and faithful member of our lodge.
Congratulations, Hank! Your life as a Mason has been an example for all of us to follow.

Wilmington Masonic Lodge No. 208 recognized Henry (Hank) J. Prosser, Jr., as a 65-year
member of the fraternity at its October business meeting. Pictured above are (left to right)
Worshipful Master George Roesel, Brother Prosser, and Past Masters Bill Locke and Lee
Springer. Brother Prosser, who was raised as a Master Mason in Wilmington Lodge on July 20, 1946, holds the certificate from the Illinois Grand Lodge that honors him for his long and faithful service to the fraternity. Prosser and his wife Marian live in Wilmington.

Recognition Night News

posted Oct 9, 2012, 10:36 AM by WMLodge 208   [ updated Nov 1, 2012, 7:03 AM ]

Masonic Recognition Dinner
Contact: Bill Locke
Telephone: (815) 476-9525

Wilmington Masons Hold Annual Recognition Dinner

At their annual Lodge Recognition and Ladies Night on Saturday, September 22,
held at the Gipper’s II restaurant, the Wilmington Masons paid tribute to those who have
made significant contributions to the lodge and the community.

Bert Niehls was named “Community Builder” by the lodge. In making the
presentation, Niehls’ many contributions to the community were cited. Niehls served as
a member of the Wilmington City Council and on the Wilmington Park Board. Over the
years he has worked with the youth of the community by coaching various sports teams—
softball, baseball, and wrestling—and by helping create and maintain facilities for their
activities. He can also be justly proud of the assistance he has been able to give to many
young people of the community by sponsoring them for week-end work at the Route 66
Race Track. For the past several years he has supported the adult slow-pitch softball
league by handling administrative duties and maintaining the ball field. Most recently,
Bert has superintended the construction of the memorial that is being erected on the
North Island. It is a tribute to those who have served their country—as a member of the
military or through other types of service.

Master of the Lodge George Roesel presented Niehls a plaque and thanked him
for his many contributions.

The lodge member named to receive the Lodge Builder award for 2012 was Keith
Koca. Koca could not be present to receive his award because he is currently serving
with his Army unit in the Middle East. While Koca’s deployment, undoubtedly, had a
bearing on his choice as Lodge Builder, his many contributions to the lodge were the
main reason for his selection. Koca has been very helpful in improving the lodge’s use
of technology—by upgrading equipment and sharing his computer knowledge. He has
also made significant contributions as a member of the Masonic Education Committee.
In that capacity he has presented lessons on Masonry at our Stated Meetings which have
been interesting and enlightening. Worshipful Master Roesel expressed his appreciation
for Koca’s help to the lodge and asked for prayers for his safety.

Also recognized during the evening were the widows of deceased Masons and
Past Masters of the lodge. As special guests of the lodge, the widows included: Freida
Geiss (Orville Geiss) and Peggy Shepherd (Royce Shepherd. The Master of the lodge
thanked them for all the support they have provided lodge.

Past Masters were also recognized for their service. The Past Masters present
were: Wayne H. Austin (1970), Basil Crutchfield (1976), William E. Locke (1982 and
2002), Allen W. Pflibsen (1999), Lee M. Springer (2004) and George Roesel (2011 and
2012). Also present were Bill Swope, who has served as Master of Peotone Lodge No.
636, and Dean Geiss, who has served as Master of Braidwood Lodge No. 704.
A total of 43 members and guests were present.

Wilmington Masonic Lodge provides many services to the community. One of its
most important programs is the Illinois Masonic Child Identification Program (IL CHIP).
This program gathers information about children to be used by their parents in the event
the child becomes lost or missing.

The children will be recorded on a video, finger-printed, swabbed for DNA,
weighed and measured. All the information that is collected will be given to the parents
for safe-keeping.

An IL CHIP event is scheduled for Thursday, October 25, at Bruning Elementary
School—during their Parent-Teacher Conference time. Parents of Bruning children, as
well as others from the community, are encouraged to bring their children to the event.

Pictured above are Past Masters who attended the 2012 Wilmington Masonic Lodge
Recognition Dinner held on September 22 at Gippers II. Standing left to right are: Bill Swope (Past Master from Peotone Lodge), Bill Locke (1982 & 2002), Wayne Austin (1970), Al Pflibsen (1999), George Roesel (2011 & 2012), and Lee Springer (2004). Seated is Basil Crutchfield (1976).

Bert Niehls (left), awarded the Masonic Community Builder\Award, poses
with the Worshipful Master George Roesel of Wilmington Lodge No. 208.

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