Plymouth, California, is a quiet community
of fewer than 1,000 people located in the
foothills of the Sierras. When Dusty Deryck
looks around the 400-house town east of
Sacramento, he sees the possibilities: better
fire education for the students at Plymouth
Elementary School, and more books, too.
And whatever else the city asks of Drytown
Lodge No. 174.
“I’ll be visiting the city council meeting
next week to ask what they need done that
our lodge can do,” says Deryck, senior war-
den at Drytown Lodge and a past master of
Hiram Lodge No. 25. “We don’t just want to
promote lodge visibility – we want to be a
benefit to our town. I’m not sure what we
will do yet; we don’t want to dictate what
we’ll offer. We just want to contribute some-
thing of lasting value for our community.”
The brothers’ ability to pitch in – to
do whatever it takes – is a remarkable
accomplishment. A few years ago, the 150
year-old-lodge was in danger of closing, due
to spotty attendance and near-empty tills.
Membership had dwindled to around 30
brothers, and there weren’t always enough
officers to open stated meetings.
But, that’s all changed. A campaign by
Deryck, Master Harold “Hal” Barker (also
past master of Placerville Lodge No. 26), and Secretary Bill
Brewer, among others, has grown the membership to more than
60 members and has reinvigorated the lodge. Today, Brewer
explains, brothers visit Drytown Lodge to get a sense of what it
really means to be a Mason.
“People come and they say, ‘This is what Masonry is all
about,’” says Brewer. “Masonry makes good men better, and the
more you get involved in your community, the more you reach
out, the better it can be. We make an effort to stay active.”
The Drytown brothers continue to enthusiastically pur-
sue their vision of volunteerism and service. They recently
got the ball rolling to bring this year’s Grand Master’s Project,
Firefighters in Safety Education, to the town’s sole grade school,
where local volunteer firefighters will teach kids to stay fire-safe.
“If we can save one kid from serious burns, it will be worth
it,” says Barton. “As an old Shriner, I’ve seen too many kids
And, community efforts don’t stop there. The lodge is building
partnerships with the local Rotary Club, and hopes to initiate joint
projects. At the annual Rotary Club Street Fair and Flea Market,
held every May, Drytown brothers plan to grill hamburgers and
sell tacos – just to be out in the community and be part of it.
“We hope this will be the first of many events where our two
organizations will cooperatively join with each other in order to
reach out to the community,” says Brewer.
The lodge recently dedicated a bench to the town with the
lodge’s name on it, which will be placed in a local park to raise
community awareness. The parade the lodge held for its sesquicentennial in March generated so much enthusiasm, the lodge
may make it an annual event. Brothers may also try to continue
Raising A Reader locally – and there’s talk of holding a book drive.
Before the lodge decides on its next act of community service, officers plan to meet with city, fire department, and school
officials. “We want to know what they need,” says Barker. “We
aren’t going to decide for them.”
This enthusiasm to give back stretches further than the little
town of Plymouth. Brothers are looking to spread their good
work to Ione, Jackson, and beyond, says Deryck.
IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA,
by Heather Boerner