George, Brooke Martin honored at picnic

Published 8:48 am Thursday, August 18, 2016

More than 100 folks braved the heat and humidity to attend the 139th annual Masonic Picnic Saturday evening.

Benita Finney opened the event with the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner,” and Jimmy Myers welcomed the crowd and recognized veterans after asking them to raise their hands.

“These are the ones who lifted that hand long ago and pledged to give their lives on behalf of this country,” he said.

George and Brooke Martin were to be recognized for their work in the county but were unable to attend.

Myers said some time back, they began recognizing, at the picnic, people who have made a difference in the county, and this year, the Martins were chosen.

“George, to me, is one of the special persons living in this community. His leadership as a churchman, attorney, and Mason has made a difference in the community and also in the work of the Davie Community Foundation. And Brooke is one of the finest Christian women I have ever known in my life. I look up to her and respect her a great deal,” said Myers.

Marlene Shamel talked about the Martins’ contributions to the Davie Community Foundation, from their help in organizing the foundation and their first contribution of $500 to get it started in 1988 to the two endowments they support, the White-Martin Scholarship and the George and Brook Martin Community Fund. In 2013, the Martins made a commitment toward raising $5 million in five years, and to date, Shamel said, more than $3 million has been raised.

“George and Brooke are a vital part of the definition of the word philanthropy in Davie County,” she said.

Hank Van Hoy, a law partner of Martin’s, said Martin would be embarrassed by all the attention because he is humble but would want Van Hoy to thank the Freemasons for the honor.

While the Martins’ public charitable contributions are known, Van Hoy said the private charities the Martins have engaged in over the years have allowed children to go to college and have helped provide housing for abused young women.

“It’s not that they’ve just made a difference but the difference is for the greater common good,” Van Hoy said.

The masters of the county’s three Masonic lodges spoke.

Jeff Finney, master of Advance Lodge 710, said they have decided to hold quarterly fundraisers to support the picnic’s beneficiaries, the Masonic Home for Children in Oxford and the Masonic and Eastern Star Home in Greensboro. The next fundraiser will be a breakfast Oct. 1 at 6 a.m., and other events will be held in January and April.

Mickey Boger, master of Mocksville Lodge 265 said: “The Lodge has been really good to me and I appreciate them,” and Brad Blackwelder, Mocksville Lodge 134 master thanked the people who brought food to serve and the lodge brothers for setting up the tables.

After a blessing, the crowd moved to the feast, which included fried chicken, deviled eggs, green beans, corn, fresh tomatoes, and homemade pies, cakes, and banana pudding. Musical entertainment was provided by Hazy Ridge, a bluegrass band.