ASHLAND, Maine — A lack of membership that resulted in the closing of the Ashland Odd Fellows Hall and its subsequent sale has led to a number of other organizations receiving donations from the Independent Order of Odd Fellows of Maine.
“The lack of membership is why the building, which was built in the mid-’70s after the old hall burned, was sold,” said Art Coffin, district deputy grand master. “The decision to sell was made very quickly between the membership here and the Grand Lodge — a good decision because the building has been remodeled and is being used by Ashland Auto Parts, the new owner.”
Even in closing, the community-minded organization is continuing to pay it forward, helping agencies that, in turn, assist others in many ways — from a library and Boy Scout troop, to the local ambulance service and animal shelter, among others.
The building which housed Mountain View Lodge No. 144, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in Ashland was sold for $35,000, Coffin said, with some of the proceeds donated to benefit the area.
“This was a decision by the membership here and Grand Lodge, located in Auburn. We felt that it was important that a portion of the funds came back to the communities that the membership resided and worked in,” said Coffin. “For many years the lodge was a viable institution. Perhaps these gifts will serve as a tribute to the lodge and its members.”
The money was dispersed as follows:
- Ashland Ambulance received $14,200 for a new power stretcher that will enable ambulance crews to lift patients more easily.
- Boy Scout Troop 179 and Cub Pack 179 was presented with $2,500 to benefit Scouts of all ages.
- The Ashland library received $1,000.
- The Aroostook Lodge 88, IOOF, of Caribou, was given $2,000 to assist their lodge.
- Camp NEOFA — a youth camp run by the IOOF — received $2,500.
- The Odd Fellows and Rebekahs home in Auburn was given $5,000.
- The Central Aroostook Humane Society in Presque Isle was presented with a check for $750 to benefit homeless animals.
- The remainder of funds, $7,050, will be dispersed by the Grand Lodge of Maine, IOOF.
In accepting the donation on Aug. 1, Pat Long, director of the Ashland Ambulance Service, said the stretcher would have remained on the ambulance service’s wish list indefinitely.
“Big-ticket items are hard to come by, given the economy,” Long said, adding that the new stretcher was greatly appreciated. He said it would make work for his crew much easier, allowing the department to better serve the community.