By STEVE REAGAN
Howard Stewart is a self-described “volunteer-holic.” One of the results of this condition is receiving awards from a grateful community.
Stewart, a third-generation Mason, was honored Thursday at the local Staked Plains Lodge with the Golden Trowel Award, presented in recognition of outstanding service to the lodge and community.
“His continued involvement with activities here at the lodge and his community service are the reasons for his receiving this award,” said Lodge Master Les Montgomery, who presented the award.
While Masons have been around for centuries, the Golden Trowel is a relatively recent award, first presented in the early 1990s to members for their outstanding service.
“The award winner is the member who constantly does the little things, not because he's asked to or because he seeks recognition, but because he practices in his daily life the principles Masons hold dear,” Montgomery said. “This is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a Master Mason.”
A committee recommends members for the award and the honor is decided by a vote of the entire membership, Montgomery said.
Stewart, who retired from Big Spring Independent School District in 2007 after a 30-year career as a teacher, coach and director of transportation and maintenance, first joined the local lodge in April 1987. Since that time, he has served in a variety of positions, including past master of the lodge, past commander of the local commandry, past high priest of the York Rite Mason chapter 178 and current Worthy Patron of the Oder of the Eastern Star and secretary-treasurer of the Masonic Temple Association.