Rockbridge Odd Fellows restart community efforts with contribution

Published: May. 5, 2021 at 6:57 PM EDT
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ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - The Rockbridge Area Health Center received a big donation from the local Odd Fellows Lodge., but it represented more than just the organization’s efforts to help the community. It was a symbol of the Odd Fellows’ revival.

It looked like a check presentation like any other, but with two big differences:

One, the Odd Fellows Rockbridge Lodge was passing over a substantial $10,000.

“The organization came into existence to care for others, particularly orphans, widows, and those with issues related to sight,” explained Stacy Stevens, the Odd Fellows Grand Noble, or president.

And the other, it was the first such gift since the lodge has seen a revival in recent years.

“It was very close to folding,” Stevens said. “But Mr. Conner wasn’t willing to let that happen.”

Andrew Harold Conner, 89, a member for 62 years, has kept the Odd Fellows going.

“I want to help people,” he said, “help each other.”

In the past, they held real estate throughout downtown Lexington, but like the membership, that declined over the years. Now, they only own the building containing their lodge.

But the money that real estate generated allows them, now that they have begun to turn the membership corner, to begin their community work.

“‘Til just recently we got it back up to meeting,” Conner said.

“It was important to Mr. Conner that we try to put this money locally,” Stevens said, “and try to capture as much opportunity to serve the children in our community.”

Membership is not quite bursting at the seams yet, but as they’ve brought in more than just a handful, younger members, the Odd Fellows hope this presentation is just the beginning of a fitting legacy for Mr. Conner.

“We take very seriously the stewardship of the assets that we have, and so we are excited to make the contribution that we have,” Stevens said, “and yes, it is significant for us.”

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