On Harmony Day, look for the Howell Lodge’s trailer in Honey Brook Borough Park to learn how the lodge can help you take measures to protect your child.
Honey Brook’s Howell Lodge No. 405 of the Free and Accepted Masons will feature the Child Identification Program at the community-wide event Sept. 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Honey Brook Borough Park.
Bill Tobias, the Worshipful Master of Howell Lodge No. 405, said the program is one of the most comprehensive of its kind. The lodge provides parents with a DNA kit with hair samples, nail clippings and an oral swab, a card of fingerprints and a three inch mini CD with two still photos of the child in front of a height chart and a roughly two minute video interview with the child.
“From what I understand, the questions we ask in the video are not that important,” Tobias said, “but the FBI can map the child’s behavior and mannerisms so that they can pick that child out of a crowd in, say, a football stadium.
“Our hope is that you do this every year until the child is 12, and then it should be sufficient until they are 18,” he added.
According to the U.S. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, about 800,000 children are reported missing in the United States every year.
“So to get ahead of this, we get all of this information for the parents to use,” Tobias said. He also stressed that the lodge does not keep anything from the kit – everything is handed over to parents to hold onto and give to authorities if the child goes missing. The only thing the lodge keeps is a signed permission form.
The lodge will not only be educating visitors to the park about the program, but will also have a trailer with rooms to eliminate background noise to interview children for parents and provide the service to the public that day.
The lodge itself will also host an open house on Harmony Day, offering visitors a chance to see and learn a little about the lodge, as well as parking and refreshments of soda and water. The lodge will also allow anyone who would like an indoor spot to set up their yard sale there.
Tobias said that Free Masonry is the largest fraternity on the planet, and it is not really considered a charitable organization so much as an organization that “makes good men better men.” However, in the U.S. it is estimated that the Masons give over $2 million a day to charity. Those interested in learning more about Masonry are encouraged to ask a member, he said.