The St. John’s Masonic Lodge No. 5 in West Columbia held a special ceremony on January 9, 2024 to honor two of its long-standing members. Approximately 100 people attended the emotional event to celebrate Nelson Leopold III and Donald “Bubba” Williams.

Leopold was awarded a 50-year service pin and certificate for his decades of commitment and contribution to the lodge. Surrounded by family and friends, he was pinned by his brother Scott Leopold. Worshipful Master Pecos Beal spoke about the importance of honoring age and service within Freemasonry. Mike Martin read a list of Leopold’s extensive Masonic accomplishments, highlighting his previous Golden Trowel award in 2013.

Eleven speakers, including Martin, Jerry Wilkerson, Williams, and Ray Beal, shared heartfelt stories about Leopold’s positive influence through counseling and leading by example. Leopold expressed gratitude for the fraternity and his Masonic brothers over the years. He encouraged non-Masons in attendance to join the organization that has meant so much to him.

Williams was presented the Golden Trowel, the lodge’s highest honor, by Leopold. This award recognizes members who quietly but actively live the Masonic teachings through community service and devotion. As lodge secretary, Williams reluctantly read his own list of contributions. Twelve speakers affirmed Williams’ character, and his wife, Sharon Lannen Williams, pinned the Golden Trowel on his collar.

In humble remarks, Williams thanked his wife and son for supporting his lodge activities. He was surprised to receive the prestigious honor, feeling there were more deserving members. However, the selection committee was unanimous in choosing Williams.

The ceremony highlighted the selfless service and moral principles of Freemasonry. Leopold and Williams exemplify commitment to the lodge and bettering their community. Their decades of contribution were celebrated in front of appreciative family, friends, and lodge brothers.

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