In an effort to put in a good word for Masonry and help Nebraska celebrate its 150th birthday, Randy Dunn (and his side-kicks, Bob, the bird), a member of Olive Branch Lodge No. 274 of Walthill, NE has recently attended his 23rd celebration of the summer. He has attended celebrations from Crofton in the North to Grand Island in the South, and Lynch in the West, to Oakland in the East, with many stops in between.
Randy first began doing this to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Lewis and Clark crossing the country in 2003-4. He gave several talks in schools and began walking in fur trader regalia, in parades to explain American History and Lewis & Clark’s connection to the Masonic Lodge. His family connection to the Lodge goes back several hundred years and he had a connection to the route because they gathered their supplies on DuBois Island near St. Louis, which was a family branch.
Most of Randy’s regalia is authentically made reproductions. However, some things, like his sharpshooters glasses, a whistle and the Springfield rifle are from the original time period. The moccasins are handmade elk in the Arapaho Indian style. The hat is beaver felt and has many lapel or hat pins connected with lodges or events he’s been in. The necklaces are made of traders beads, deer antlers, boars teeth, and badger claws, as they would have been made at the time. He wears a medicine bag given to him by an appreciative viewer. The pelts are coyote and ermine, as they would have carried at the time.
Randy’s efforts became so popular that people watching parades from various states and around the world have had pictures taken with him and he’s had the opportunity to expose Masonry, especially to younger people who may have never heard of it. Just because Nebraska’s birthday year is over, doesn’t mean his tours will stop. Randy will continue to find reason to attend celebrations around Nebraska to introduce the concepts of Masonry in his own way. For more in formation on Lewis & Clark, see The Masonic Trowel: http://www.themasonictrowel.com/masonic_talk/stb/stbs/96-12.htm.
Randy Dunn stands in his fur trader regalia with Bob the Bird and Dusty the Cat (Randy’s favorite barn cat, who follows him everywhere on the farm and gave him the idea of an animal riding on his shoulder). Bob the Bird became popular with the younger kids on parade routes as a result and gives him an opening for discussion. Randy is a member of Olive Branch Lodge No. 274 in Walthill.