By DONNA RYDER
Cars and kids. They’re both things the Western Sun Lodge No. 88 Free and Accepted Masons in Troy hope to have plenty of for Troy Pecan Festival on the Troy Square Sept. 1.
Antique and classic car owners from far and wide are being invited to share their vehicles for viewing during the annual event. They’ll even be able to participate in the poker run being planned for 9-11 a.m. The best hand will receive $100 and the worst hand $25. Antique tractor owners are also being asked to bring their beauties to City Park for the show.
The Masons will serve free white beans and cornbread at 11 a.m. and butter pecan ice cream at 1 p.m.
Organizer Jesse Whitesides invited everyone to join them for the day. “Bring a chair and enjoy and day of free fun,” he said.
Parents can bring their children to receive free comprehensive identification kits between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., until the supply is depleted.
TN CHIP, Tennessee Child Identifi-cation Program, was established to raise public awareness concerning the risk of abduction or exploitation that children face in today’s society. The program is run by Masons across the state, with Tennessee being the 30th state to participate. Masons across the nation were asked to implement the program at the encouragement of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Program coordinator Casey Hood, secretary of the Troy Masonic Lodge, said about 200 kits will be available at Troy Pecan Festival.
He said Masons will be on hand to fingerprint the children, to take mouth swabs for DNA and to help parents fill out the form. Parents will then be encouraged to go home and take fingernail and hair samples from their children and place them in the kit. Hood said there is also a form for the child’s dentist to fill out.
“The Masons keep no information. This is not an invasion of privacy in any way,” he said, adding there are detailed instructions for parents to follow if they decide they’d rather take the kit home and fill out the information themselves.
He encourages everyone who gets a kit to add a school photograph to the kit each year so, if the need arises, police can take the photos and do a computer age progression.
“Our ultimate goal is that every child will have a packet,” he said.
Hood said two million children are missing, abducted, runaway and thrownaway every year. In the 1990, about 62 percent of the children were identified, but because of this program, that number increased to 92 percent in 2010.
The Masons are known for their generous donations to help their fellow human beings, the most known being the Shriners hospitals. They are also currently involved in stem cell research and autism research. This is the first preventative program for the long-time organization, Hood said, adding 100 percent of proceeds from any Mason-sponsored event goes directly to charity, including helping their neighbors right here in Obion County.
To date, the child ID kits, which cost about $2 each, have been paid through donations from Masons. Individuals and business in the community who would like to make a donation toward the worthy cause may contact Hood at 446-8112.
For more information about the child identification program, visit www.tnchip.org.
The Troy Pecan Festival is also being sponsored by the Town of Troy, First State Bank, First Citizens National Bank, E.W. James Supermarket and Prairie Farms Dairy Products.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in The Messenger 8.24.12