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Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Freeport Moose Family Center is 103 Years of Age
Those responsible for the operation of the Freeport Moose Family Center 162 located at 601 E. South Street, Freeport, IL 61032-9677 are a 9 member volunteer board of officers with:

Administrator: Lynn Folgate (CFO) charged with the administrative responsibilities.

Governor: Josh Snyder (CEO) charged with the executive duties of leading the officers and appointing chairpersons.

Linda Wright: Social Quarters Manager charged with scheduling room rental to members, assigning bartender shifts, recording funds deposited and writing checks approved by the Board of Officers. In times past she was also Editor but now Cindy Shenberger had taken over that job.

Additionally, the Freeport Moose Family Center is proud to have a W.O.T.M. Chapter 548 with Deb Boatright as the last Senior Regent and Marlene Kostenbader is Recorder. This Chapter 548 was instituted June 8, 1921 and the charter was issued January 2, 1932.

The three main purposes of the Fraternity’s Moose Lodges and Moose Family Centers are to support Mooseheart and Moosehaven and their communities.

Freeport’s Moose lodge was instituted the morning of Monday, September 20, 1909 and Rockford Lodge 163 was instituted on that same day in the afternoon. These two institutions on the same day were a matter of convenience as the Mooseheart dignitaries instituted the Rockford Lodge as they returned to Mooseheart from Freeport. The Rockford lodge closed before reaching 100 years but a new Moose Service Center 2684 was just instituted July 12, 2009. It, until recently, shared temporarily the Rockford Teamsters Association building at 5533 S. 11th. Street, Rockford, IL 61109. As of late 2011 it was relocated and shares a facility east of Stillman Valley on Route 72 and west of Davis Junction. (An MSC requires only 25 members to be chartered whereas a lodge requires 100 charter members.)

Freeport Moose Family Center 162 is currently the oldest of about 94 lodges in Illinois. There are nearly 2,000 Moose Centers in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Bermuda with nearly a million members since its founding in 1888 by Dr. John Henry Wilson of Louisville, Kentucky. But, recognition for growth and strength in membership is credited to James J. Davis of Elwood, Indiana who was the 247th. member in 1906. With the enthusiasm of Mr. Davis he transformed the small fraternity into a dynamic social force which, within seven years, boasted 1,000 Moose homes and more than 500,000 members. Mr. Davis – who also served as Secretary of Labor under three presidents and as a United States Senator for 15 years- committed the Moose to the service of humanity by establishing Mooseheart in 1913. Mooseheart is located in the Fox River Valley of Illinois about an hours drive from Chicago (40 miles west from Chicago) and about an hour and a half drive from Freeport (southeast about 104 miles). It is a 1,000-acre community with its own zip code (60539) located between Batavia on the north and Aurora on the south.

In 1909 the first Freeport lodge was located at 118 ½ E. Stephenson Street. It was rather small and accessible only by a narrow stairway to the second story.

In 1913 the lodge moved to 107-109 E. Main Street. This was a year of three major changes for the International Moose Fraternity as well. For this is the year that Mooseheart (The Child City) was built, The Women of the Moose was established as a unit of the Moose Fraternity and the Second Degree of the Moose “The Fellowship Degree of Honor” was established.

In 1917 the lodge moved to a new three-story building at 103 E. Main St. (Across the street from the current Journal Standard.) The building was later razed and is currently a parking lot with green space. Annual dues then were $20.00 back then and today they are $35.00 but will need to be increased to maybe $70.00 before long. An enrollment fee then was $5.00 and today it is $20.00 unless waived. As this is being written the enrollment fee is not only waived but the next years dues are paid by Mooseheart for all those who sign up two members. This is true for all three: the Moose, the Chapters and the Moose Legion.

In 1970 they (Freeport Moose Lodge) erected a new lodge building on an 18 acre site 3 ½ miles northeast of Freeport in Lancaster Heights that is off of Hwy 75 at 2342 Kenneth Drive. The membership then was over 1,100. It shrank to just over 900 on their Diamond (75th.) Anniversary when the late Wayne Pearson was governor and now the membership stands at just over 400. Twenty-five years ago public Bingo was held at the Moose and it is still open to the public at their new facility at 601 E. South Street on Freeport’s South side on Sundays at 2:00 pm and Wednesdays at 6:30 pm.

In 1975 the Kenneth Drive lodge added an addition which doubled its seating capacity to over 350 on the main level. The addition included a new lower lever which added another seating capacity for over 100. (At the time, this addition was rejected by Mooseheart as too much expense for a basement. However, Clarence Luy, Secretary and Bar Manager explained it was not a basement; it was a lower lever with access to the grounds through the lower lever where picnics and children’s games could be held.) Mooseheart finally relented and granted approval for the addition.

In 2001 the lodge moved to its present location at 601 E. South Street in Freeport and qualified to be classified as a Moose Family Center according to Lynn Folgate, governor of the lodge at that time. He had served as lodge secretary from 1979 through 1983 and being retired now serves as administrator since November 4, 2010.

During these past 103 years the lodge is privileged to have seven (7) members who have been elevated to the “Pilgrim Degree of Merit”, the fourth and highest degree of the Moose Fraternity which was created in 1918, i.e., 94 years ago. Those seven in order of their conferral dates are:

Pilgrim Name Year Received Staus
Robert “Bob” Noble 1967 Deceased
Loran “Shorty” Hoefle 1972 Deceased
Clarence Luy 1983 Deceased
Ken “Bud” Kostenbader 1989 Past IMA President, Deputy Supreme Gov.
Lynn Folgate 2002 Past Gov. and Past District 4 President
Willard “Rab” Shenberger 2004 Past Governor of Freeport Lodge.
Dave Rohde 2011 Past Governor of Freeport Lodge.

In the mid-1920s the third degree of the Moose was deemed needed as a ‘waiting area’ for those ultimately to possibly reach the Pilgrim Degree. Thus, the Fellowship Degree of Honor was created. The Freeport lodge currently has 15 members holding the Fellowship Degree of Honor out of 37 Moose Legionnaires. (The 4 living Pilgrim are included in this number 15.) The Fellowship Degree of Honor is the Third Degree of the Moose. The Second Degree of the Moose is the Legion of the Moose. To attain this level requires that the member be a Moose member for one year and sign up at least one Moose member or, be a member 6 months and sign up 3 Moose members. Those of the Freeport Moose Lodge holding the Fellowship Degree of Honor are: Jeffery Brinkmeier, Ken “Bud” Kostenbader, Jerald Snyder, Lynn Folgate, Roger Wilson, Duane LaBudde, Delbert Kluck, Dave Snyder, Willard Shenberger, Wayne Craig, Michael Squires, Dave Rohde, Martin Genkinger, Laurence Miller, and Eugene Mergen,

An interesting aspect of the children at Mooseheart is that one of them was chosen as the image to portray on the star that hangs above the alter at every lodge home. The little boy - about 5 years of age - was Douglas Fordyce of Freeport. He and his brother Larry were residents at Mooseheart with their mother. These were just 2 of the more than 1,200 that have been given a home when it was needed most. Both Doug and Larry are now into eternal rest. Doug passed away at the young age of 30 and Larry was in his late 60’s when he passed on in about 2007. Today there are 198 children there from the age of toddler through high school. At the Mid-Year Conference (3-11-2011) it was announced that there are 107 boys and 94 girls there at Mooseheart. Severe disadvantaged children, needing specialized care, are encouraged to go to other facilities where their special needs can best receive the more appropriate care such as care for the blind etc.
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Administrator's Message
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Greetings Brother Moose and Ladies,

Our lodge status is “still in the running”. In other words, we are hanging on after these past 103 years. Yes, I know we must accentuate the positive yet, we need to be realists also. We generally meet our financial obligations but in reality, we must continue to ask for your support. With only 450 members in 2012 compared to over a thousand years ago, we need to seek the return of those who have left. Or, we need to get new members to replace those departed.

If you question, why belong to the Moose? The simple answer is because we support our many fine kids at Mooseheart. Equally important is that we share a common sense of family and enjoy being together. Our family events are what our fraternity is all about. Our Western Night, Halloween and Christmas Parties, New Years Eve dances and similar activities like our Queen of Hearts are just some of our many events enjoyed by all members. Plus, as part of District 4, we have some of the best attended get together events with free meals just about every month and a host of other sports and events.

So I ask, seriously consider becoming a part of our extended family. If you are willing and able to volunteer your service in any of a number of ways please do it. Don’t be afraid to stand up and be counted with those who have given so much to make our fraternity the largest and greatest fraternity that it is. We can make it even better and we invite you to join us in making it happen.

Lynn Folgate, Administrator
Governor's Message
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Senior Regent's Message
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Recorder's Message
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