Ordinary Odd Fellows: New Kingman Odd Fellows organization is busy supporting charities
Gary Waters wanted to try something new. Then he encountered something old and odd – the 100-year-old Independent Order of Odd Fellows building at 208 N. Fourth St. in downtown Kingman.
Waters, 44, said he has been living in the shadow of the building for years and got intrigued by how far back the history of the Odd Fellows in Kingman goes.
“They basically died out in the ‘80s,” he told the Miner. “Some other lodges took over. Historically, they provided life insurance. They were pretty big.”
In other words, the Odd Fellows turned out to be not that odd. He was thinking about joining before, but found he would have had to travel up to Flagstaff to do charity work.
“It didn’t make sense to go to Flagstaff to chop wood,” he said.
Waters wanted to do volunteer work in Kingman. That’s why he was among the 10 local residents who reinstituted the Odd Fellows chapter in late 2018. They’ve since expanded to 20 members and consider themselves the fastest-growing lodge in the area.
“It’s an anonymous way to do good,” said Waters, who believes in teamwork as the best approach to solving problems. “I like the structure.”
In December of last year, the Odd Fellows donated $500 to the Kingman Cancer Care Unit.
Currently, they are preparing for another themed-action. “Weed control,” Waters said. “The drawings will be for weed rakes and other yard improvement tools.”
The Odd Fellows has been doing drawings to generate money that is given to charities. The time of COVID-19 was “tricky,” Waters said, and the fellows abstained from meetings for a while and returned wearing face masks.
Both men and women are welcome as lodge members, even though the Kingman chapter was a women’s branch of Odd Fellows – Rebekahs. The original building was the second fraternal organization clubhouse in Kingman.
“I like the fact that there’s no starting point,” Waters said about the long and vague history of the local lodge. “That makes the lodge mysterious, like the Masons.”
Waters and other fellows are interested in local history. They’ve been eying the Miners Mineral Monument at the train station downtown, made of local minerals.
“The base is unfinished,” Waters said. “Stone work needs to be done.”
They were told by the City Grounds Coordinator that the sculptor is planning to finish the work, but if he doesn’t they will follow up, Waters said.
“Yes, people get curious,” he said about the Odd Fellows fundraiser tables set in front of local businesses, such as True Value or Tractor Supply Co. “They come over and ask what we are doing.”
Most of the current members are older, but the club is open to all demographics and would gladly welcome younger members, Waters said.
Lodge meetings are held at 10 a.m. on the first and third Saturdays of each month at 2985 E. John L Ave. Those interested in working with fellow community members in a positive and orderly manner can inquire about membership at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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