HARTS — The second new LEASA Facility received its official cornerstone in a special Masonic ceremony on July 11 at Harts Creek. The ceremony was the second for LEASA as their new operations on Switzer had the cornerstone laid on July 4.
Members of the Grand Lodge of West Virginia and Aracoma Lodge 99 from Logan were on hand for the laying of the cornerstone which will be the foundation of the new facility on Harts Creek.
West Virginia Senator Art Kirkendoll was on hand with Logan Emergency Ambulance Service Authority Director Roger Bryant and Logan County Administrator Rocky Adkins along with a host of EMS personnel for the special event. Kirkendoll recalled the early days of LEASA and how from the humble origins a great organization had grown, providing top flight emergency services to the people of Logan County.
Members of the Grand Lodge of West Virginia including Grand Master Sam Ash, Deputy Grand Master R.W. Douglas Neal, Senior Grand Warden Richard Nuhfer, Junior Grand Warden Carl McDaniels, Grand Secretary M.W. William R. French P.G.M. , Grand Tresurer M. W. Paul Cottrell, Grand Lecturer M.W. Steven G. Swank P.G.M., Grand Chaplin Pro Tem Wor. Devin Olachea, Sr. Grand Deacon Wor. Jesse S. Bailes, Jr. Grand Deacon Wor. William B. Dehart, Grand Marshall Wor. James E. Jeffries, Grand Pursuivant Dave C. Wanner and Grand Tyler Ralph E. Pence were scheduled to perform the ceremony, but as Grand Master Sam Ash explained high water had made it impossible for a few to travel that morning. Past Master Glen McDonald served as Tyler Pro-Tem and current Aracoma 99 Worshipful Master William Reagan carried in the Book of Constitutions.
“This is an historic day for the people of Harts Creek,” noted LEASA’s Roger Bryant, who is also a member of Aracoma 99. Bryant pointed out that the new station was an investment in the people of that area.
Brittney Hodges and Robert Fields of the Southern Coalition for the Arts performed the National Anthem and members of the Boy Scouts Troup 217 lead the salute to the flag with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Sen. Kirkendoll, who was representing the Logan County Commission where he worked for many decades, discussed LEASA’s humble origins, noting that LEASA “started out in a trailer” but had grown and expanded its services over the years and racked up numerous state and national awards while serving the public through medical crisis and natural disaster alike.
“From those early days we now have the best emergency services in the state,” Kirkendoll said. “I can truly say we have the best paramedics in Logan County and you can trust them as much as you can trust your doctor… Through both state and national competition they have proven themselves second to none.”
Kirkendoll said much of LEASA’s success came from a focus on qualification and training as well as a desire to be the best for the people of Southern West Virginia, “because you deserve it.” He added that a well-staffed and well trained agency was possible through the hard work and dedication of many people including his longtime fellow Commissioners.
The cornerstone itself was tested by members of the Grand Lodge and a special container with mementos from members of the Grand Lodge and Aracoma 99 was sealed within it. Grand Master Sam Ash prepared the stone to be set by spreading the cement with a trowel.
Grand Master Sam ash said that the Grand Lodge of West Virginia was honored to be asked to provide the Cornerstone Ceremony and discussed the significance of what is one of Freemasonry’s older ceremonies even in these modern times.
Orator Steven G. Swank, Past Grand Master and Grand Lecturer said the Cornerstone represents a solid foundation for progress and touched upon the history of the ceremony as well as the Masonic fraternity itself.
“A building is no stronger than its foundation,” the Orator said.
This was the third Masonic Cornerstone Ceremony in Logan in the past year, Past Master Billy Ray Chafin of Aracoma 99 Lodge in Logan pointed out.
“This has been an honor for our Lodge and local Freemasons to be a part of,” he said noting that two weeks earlier the LEASA facility at Switzer had its own Cornerstone laid. At that event officers of the Grand Lodge of West Virginia conferred the ceremony itself with Grand Master Sam Ash in charge. Several special dignitaries were present at the cornerstone ceremony in Switzer including Senator Art Kirkendoll and Danny Godby of the Logan County Commission as well as members of local Boy Scouts of America troop 217. Chafin noted that for many years the ceremony had not been performed making the trio of Cornerstones special indeed.