CAMBRIDGE -- After the decision was made to upgrade the lighting at the Jones Metal Products Co. plant in West Lafayette, engineer Al Miskimen, a past master of Lone Star Masonic Lodge 175, suggested recycling the old lights and donating the proceeds to a worthwhile organization.
He was aware that Alan Hart was also a past master at the lodge and a former chairman of the Cambridge Learning Center Board of Governors, and that Alan's grandson was among the first children tutored at the Learning Center.
More than 100 children have been tutored at the Learning Center to improve their reading skills and increase their elf-confidence.
This was the organization Miskimen and Hart wished to support.
As plans were formulated, it became obvious that this was going to be a huge project. Lone Star Lodge members were contacted to help with transporting and disassembling the old lights.
Newcomerstown resident Jim Friel stepped up to the challenge. Miskimen coordinated the project of dismantling the old plant lights and transporting them to Friel's patio, yard and even a neighbor's yard. There were lights everywhere.
For three hot months, Lodge members labored over "heavy metal," disassembling and separating steel, aluminum and copper before transporting the metals to the recycling centers.
Friel estimated he disassembled about 30 lights a day for almost three weeks. Hart's grandson, Jamie Stout, a former Learning Center student, also worked diligently.
"This is hard work, but I would do anything for the Learning Center. They really helped me," said Stout.
The end result was 8,000 pounds of scrap product worth $2,380.
The check for the entire amount was presented by Lone Star Lodge 175 members, Jim Friel, Alan Hart and Al Miskimen, to the Cambridge Leaning Center at the November Masonic Learning Center Board of Governors meeting.
"This was the most creative fund-raising endeavor we've ever had!" said Jen Navicky, executive director at the Learning Center. "It's particularly appropriate since those with dyslexia commonly arrive at creative solutions by thinking outside-the-box and then commit toward completion of the task. This project joined together a great idea with a generous area business and a hard-working Masonic Lodge. It is the essence of the support that young people receive from the Scottish Rite Valley of Cambridge. The Learning Center and its families are truly grateful for their efforts."