MHCO Ambassador Class of 2017

The weekend of April 21st was a very special weekend in the happenings of your Children’s Home.  Fourteen Masons from across the state gathered, most with their spouses, to experience life on campus and learn specific information regarding the operation, programs, and plans of MHCO.  These Ambassadors have been commissioned with the goal of carrying the message of the Children’s Home to families in need.

On Friday evening April 21st the Second Class of Ambassadors gathered in the Cobb Center and took in the storied history of our beloved Children’s Home.  The event began with a welcome from Past Grand Master and Board Chairman Preslar and was followed by dinner in the cottages.  The Ambassadors were able tour the cottages, ask questions, and interact directly with children and House Parents.  The group traversed across campus and gathered to play games in the gym with Bemis and Gray Cottages.  Groups then met in the York Rite Chapel for reflective activities.  Older residents and Class of ’89 Alumnus Tina Gilreath were able to share their experience at MHCO and how important the Home has been in their lives.  As a group, we discussed the difficulties of being raised out of one’s home, having to abide with campus rules, and the perspective of guardians having to let go and trust others to raise their children.

Saturday began early with a welcome from PDDGM Phil Johnson from the first district and a working breakfast. Extensive information was shared with the intended purpose of providing a well-rounded understanding of the many aspects of operation in order for the Ambassadors to be able to present and respond to groups.  The Ambassador Orientation continued with each person or couple beginning development on an Action Plan to share the message and connect the Home with families in need and those who can help with the Mission.

One important message is a familiar one… MHCO is in need of House Parent Couples to work as Child Care Workers. If you know anyone who would be good House Parents, please have them contact MHCO at 919-693-5111 or visit the website at .  The Home’s capacity to provide is directly linked to our dedicated and professional House Parent Couples.  Consider becoming a part of our team today.

The weekend culminated with a Graduation Ceremony. Each Ambassador received a Certificate, Pin, and a Walking Stick to help represent their journey taking the Light of the Home to those in Dark times.  PGM Preslar presented the Walking Sticks and informed the class of their purpose.

Grand Master Cobb then Commissioned the Class in accordance with the Ambassador Charter, which is displayed in the York Rite Chapel. The each class is recognized by a separate framed picture next to the Charter.  Ambassadors are requested to provide a three year commitment to the program.  Within three years we expect each Masonic District in North Carolina to have their own Ambassador.

The Children’s Home continues to be a great place to be a kid and impacts generations to come. Thank you all for Shining the Light of your Children’s Home across the state.


The Ambassador Class of 2017 consists of:

  • Douglas and Deborah Brickhouse – District 1
  • Earl “Buddy” and Donna Wilson – District 4
  • Johnny & Estelle Surles – District 7
  • Randy Bowen – District 8
  • Don and Wendy Steichen – District 14
  • Will Barham – District 16
  • Marc and Paula Sessoms – District 18
  • Michael & Hilary Verville – District 19
  • Velton Wayne Tudor – District 20
  • Tracy and Jennifer Lucas – District 25
  • Clifford and Jenny Shrewsbury – District 26
  • Mark Mabe – District 29
  • Gary and Donna Ramey – District 30
  • Chris and Britt Hawkins – District 35
  • James B. “Eric” and Kim Call – District 36
  • Jesse and Jennifer Padgett – District 39

Ten Years with TenPlus


Raleigh IT Company Celebrates a Decade of Keeping Children’s Home Cyber-Safe and Ahead of the Technology Curve


The importance of technology, especially in the life of a young person, cannot be overstated. With a campus full of children whose lives are impacted every day by technology, the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford sought a proven solution for its IT network. Thanks to a successful capital campaign in 1999, The Home installed its first campus-wide computer network. In 2007, following a need to upgrade the data back-up systems, increase cyber-security, and develop a wireless network for staff and residents, MHCO chose TenPlus Systems as its preferred IT service provider.

TenPlus’ presence at the Home brings with it an assembly of highly trained staff members with years of familiarity in establishing and maintaining complex networks necessary for the growing demand of IT reliance in all facets of operation at MHCO.

Twice per week for the past ten years, technicians from TenPlus Systems make their appointed rounds, working on issues such as fixing “jammed” printers, reconnecting users to wireless access points, patching servers, and updating anti-virus protection. However, their real value appears when they make it possible for a child to finish their homework or ensure the delivery of emails that announce an approaching cookout or recreational activity.

“Supporting the Masonic Home for Children has been an honor for TenPlus. All of our technicians enjoy spending time on the Home’s beautiful campus and interacting with both the staff and the residents” says Bryan Miller, Technical Services Manager for TenPlus Systems. The relationship goes beyond business and technology, as TenPlus supports the Home in its charitable mission of providing a Home for children. For the last several years, TenPlus has held an annual holiday sales event, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Home and three other charities in North Carolina. To date, TenPlus Systems has donated approximately $3500 to the Home.

For ten years TenPlus Systems has been and continues to be a vital part of the success of MHCO.  Please take a moment to meet our technology partners at TenPlus Systems, our friends who make sure our Home is always on-line and strives to ensure the lives, success, and safety of our children always comes first. To find out more about TenPlus Systems and its service to MHCO or anyone seeking computer assistance, visit




Strategic Planning Retreat – 2017


     A Strategic Planning Retreat was held March 24-25 with almost 50 personnel, board members, alumni, community partners, and other stakeholders in attendance. Friday evening’s activities included reflecting on MHCO’s past, sharing resident and staff experiences, discussing the current organizational profile, and analyzing where MHCO stands currently including internal strengths and weaknesses and external threats and opportunities for growth. Saturday’s activities included envisioning the future and strategizing how to close the gap between MHCO’s operations in 2017 and vision for 2021. Breakout groups revised the mission, vision, and quality statements and developed a new tagline. Goals, objectives, and initiatives were developed to enhance the sustainability  of MHCO including utilization and stewardship of resources, community partnerships, and recruitment and retention of employees. The strategic plan ideas will be compiled and discussed at the May meeting of the Board of Directors for feasibility and implementation. This retreat was the first of many discussions about the bright and promising future of MHCO.

2017 Great Landscape Event

It was cold…and it was rainy! But that didn’t stop friends of MHCO from braving the elements and working at our Home for the 2017 Great Landscape Event! Flowerbeds were mulched, God’s Half Acre was spruced up, things were painted, trash was collected, and our York Rite Chapel got a major overhaul! Special thanks to all those who came out!!

Lebanon Lodge No. 391
Boy Scout Troop No. 629
James B. Green Lodge No. 735
Hiram Lodge No. 40
Andrew Jackson Lodge No. 576
Oxford Lodge No. 122
Oxford Preparatory School
Currituck Lodge No. 463
Creedmoor Lodge No. 499
Lebanon Lodge No. 391
Chris Richardson – NC Masonic Foundation
Perquimans Lodge No. 106
Girl Scout Troop No. 508 & 961
Creedmoor United Methodist Church
Break Through Physical Therapy
Selma Lodge No. 320
Lowes Henderson
Girl Scout Troop No. 1119
Hall Lodge No. 53
Youngsville Lodge No. 377
MHCO Staff
See more photos on our Facebook page!

5th Annual Masonic Pheasant Hunt

The 18th Masonic District’s 5th Annual Masonic Pheasant Hunt was held on February 11, 2017 on a beautiful day at Honey Hill Hunting Preserve in Hillsboro, North Carolina.  Three hunts were offered releasing 200 birds each.  Over 150 hunters took advantage of the wonderful sporting event to help support the mission at the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford.  The day began at 7am with a fantastic breakfast provided by organizers PDDGM James Britt of Proctorville Lodge #643 and Edwin Russ and Happy Bufkin of Lebanon Lodge #207.

The Masonic Pheasant Hunt provided a great time for Masons and non-Masons to learn about the Home. The Walker Sisters always attend and share how important the Home was for them and give thanks by saying the OO Meal Blessing.  The Honorable A.B. Swindell, Oxford Lodge #122 and past Board Member, attended again this year with his sons.  A family from Pennsylvania also heard about the Masonic Pheasant Hunt, made the trip, and plan to attend again next year.  PDDGM Britt estimates this year’s net proceeds will exceed $4000 for the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford.  Sincerest thanks to all who planned, prepared, participated, and plan on attending next year.  It’s a great day for a great cause.

6th Annual Great Landscape Day at MHCO – March 18, 2017


It’s that time of year again!  March 18, 2017 will mark our 6th Annual Great Landscape Day at the Masonic Home!  This day of service and charity has grown from a single Girl Scout Troop to over 120 individuals representing families, businesses, churches, Lodges, and civic organizations.  The beauty those participants have given to this Home continues today.  Our thanks again for the help in the past and for consideration of this year’s event.  We hope any who are interested can join us and will invite others to share in this day of help and fellowship!  Come and join us for a good meal (two in fact) and the chance to bring beauty, comfort, and security to the home of a child.



When:           Saturday, March 18, 2017

                        (NO RAIN DATE THIS YEAR – CALL FOR UPDATES!)

Where:         Masonic Home for Children, 600 College St., Oxford, NC

Schedule:     7:30am – 9am – Continental Breakfast for participants

                         8:30am – 12:00pm – Landscaping Event on Campus

                         12:00pm – Lunch and Conclusion of Event


Groups can start after 8:30am and/or leave before 12 noon if needed.  Please bring shovels, gloves, wheelbarrow, rakes, and other landscaping implements for your personal use.  A needs list of items that can be given as part of the event is available at www.mhc-oxford.orgYou must RSVP and sign-up on or before March 10, 2017 to participate and must include the number attending.  This is very important to make the most of this day. To RSVP or for more information contact MHCO at 919-603-3930 or




Local Student Helps MHCO & Thai Orphanage


Special thanks to Miss Anna Rogers!



Anna is a senior at Franklin Academy in Wake Forest, North Carolina. She is researching residential homes for children for a school project and she selected MHCO and an orphanage in Thailand (her step-father’s job takes him to Thailand periodically) to compare and contrast. She has traveled to Thailand and visited their campus once and she has visited MHCO a few times. Her final write-up and presentation is due in April. Anna held a chicken-plate fundraiser in December and split the money raised between the two homes. Thank you Anna!! (Pictured from left are Dr. Amy Still (MHCO’s Program Director), Anna Rogers, Linda Frederickson (MHCO’s Education Coordinator), and Jennifer Grimes (MHCO’s Financial Development Asst. and Database Coordinator).

Annual Christmas Dinner Celebrates Holiday, Charity, and Special Relationships


For over ten years they have gathered to celebrate Christmas at The Masonic Home for Children.  Special to this night, besides the incredible amount of gifts and generosity for the children, are the gift of people.  People whose relationship with MHCO often spans decades, involves help and belief throughout the year, and those who trust in the Home’s purpose so much, they enlist the help and charity of others.  On a night filled with presents, paper, and wish lists fulfilled, we focus on those friends who come and share their joy of Christmas.  For most, they know not why a child is in care or the circumstances that led them to MHCO.  What they do know is that through their work, planning, giving, and personal sacrifice and that of others, a child will have a better Christmas, with positive memories, and hope for the New Year.



Our friends on this December 8, 2016 night did indeed do that, as witnessed in the smiles, laughter, and excitement of a night of receiving, giving, and sharing.  With all the excitement in the lives and hearts of our children, we turn our attention and vzm-img_20161208_220811extend our gratitude to these special individuals and groups, who come together at Christmas, to insure the wishes of a child are realized now and celebrated throughout a lifetime.  We acknowledge their giving and donations, while we admire the faith and joy found in their work for our children for another Christmas.  As we recognize each here, and their years of helping our Home at Christmas, we distinguish not only their contributions for this year, but their relationship with this Home throughout the years and the memory that our children carry throughout their lives of these friends and their part of a child’s Christmas forever.

Please join us in celebrating these friends of MHCO and their relationship with our family of children, for this Christmas and in years past.  While they bring packages and presents, their ultimate gift is their relationship with our Home, our residents, and their support and faith in our mission for those youngest among us.


Surgery Service at UNC Healthcare
Chelsea Werlau, Char-Norie Poteat, Linnea Van Pelt
Novella Clinical Inc.
Leslie Horton
Oxford Orphanage Alumni Association
Tina Gilreath and Jennifer Grimes
Triangle Italian American Heritage Association
Lou Aiello
OR West Surgical Department at UNC Rex Hospitals
Tamara Reynolds
Oak Grove Masonic Lodge No. 750
David Mitchell, David Wicker, James Adams
Martin & Jones
Allison Rogers
Southern Pharmacy
C/o Sue and Clayton Sutton
Steve and Donna Owen
Annette McGregor & Family
Mrs. Melissa Hogan and Family
Mr. Forest Horne and John Alan Jones of Martin and Jones, Attorneys at Law


Make MHCO a Part of Your “Giving Tuesday”

Different Ways to Give on This Day, Throughout the Holidays, Highlight How You Can Help a Child at our Home


Whether shopping on-line, giving through your employer, or making a valuable donation, there are so many ways to take this giving Tuesday to give to the lives and care of children at MHCO. Following the busiest shopping days of the year and getting those holiday deals, you can provide your own special giving opportunity for a child at MHCO. And the ways are easy, on-line, and available now and throughout the holiday season.

#GivingTuesday is a movement, built by people around the world, to celebrate giving of all kinds. It is celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (in the U.S.), Black Friday and Cyber Monday; this year it falls on November 29, 2016. This movement is the result of the collective power of a unique blend of partners—nonprofits large and small; businesses and corporations; schools and universities; civic campaigns in cities, states and regions; and families and individuals—to inspire people to take collaborative action to improve their local communities and contribute in countless ways to the causes they believe in. Everyone has something to give.   Take part in Giving Tuesday 2016 by supporting MHCO and its kids.  You can visit for more information on this year’s event.

Check out some of the ways you can give to the children of NC first’ Home for children this #GivingTuesday!

  • If you are Shopping on Amazon this holiday, choose to shop through Amazon Smile. A portion of your purchase will go to MHCO when chosen and will not impact your shopping purchase cost or shipping.
  • Make a matching gift to MHCO through your employer. Throughout the year many businesses join their employees in donating to MHCO through their corporate matching gift program. Want to know if your employer matches your giving, contact MHCO or your employer’s HR department and make a gift prior to the end of 2016.
  • Honor a loved one this Christmas with an honorary gift. Take this holiday and the chance to give to the care of a child to remember the impact and importance of one dear to you. Visit, our on-line giving page and choose to enter information for an honorary donation. Notification of your gift will be sent by MHCO to that person, sharing your support of a child and your appreciation for that person. Call MHCO’s Financial Development Department for more information.
  • Look for holiday promotions as several businesses who support us throughout the year offer special opportunities for their customers to give to MHCO. Currently TenPlus Systems of Raleigh has included MHCO in their holiday sales event, while the Launching Pad Trampoline Park of Raleigh is offering a Jolly Jump in December, with proceeds benefitting MHCO when visiting the park. Visit our Facebook page throughout the holidays to find out more about these and other businesses finding wonderful ways to sever their customers and support MHCO during the holidays!

GSK Orange Day brings service, care, and support to the Home, Children of MHCO

img_5173When the sun rose over The Masonic Home for Children at Oxford on November 8, 2016, it was greeted by ten special new friends courtesy of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and their “Orange Day” of service.  Orange Day is an major annual initiative of GSK, allowing their employees a paid day of work all in the name of charity and on behalf of GSK and its employees.  With members from the Audit and Independent Monitoring Departments of GSK, Orange Day Coordinators Ella McGaughey and Scott Levy welcomed the team, introducing them to the staff of the Home they were working with on this day.

With a library to be moved, a gym to be painted, and craft cards for acknowledgement to beimg_5203 assembled, it was a full schedule.  As the team gathered on campus they shared not only their charitable work and time, but an interest in learning more about MHCO.

With trips to the museum, time with our staff, and the biggest activity of the day, activities and NC State Ice Cream with the kids, there were opportunities for fellowship, fun, and a chance to demonstrate just how much of an impact this Orange Day had at MHCO.  Not only on this day, but for days to come. 

orangeday_3With each trip to the gym, to the education department, or with the mailing of a thank you, we will remember Mrs. McGaughey and her team and their Orange Day at our Home.  We extend a special thanks to those who made the trip to our Home that are listed below and especially to Mrs. McGaughey (known as Mrs. Ella by some of our Eller girls) for taking this day, this opportunity, and this chance to give and sharing it with MHCO and our children.  The following pictures from the day capture only a brief moment of what was a tremendous amount of charity and care shared with the kids of MHCO!  Thanks GSK team members from Audit and Independent Monitoring Departments for a charitable, kind, and memorable first event!

Ella McGaughey, Scott Levy, Teri Petree, Blaine Fritz, Chuck White, Julie Blackwell, Katie Schottmiller, Ryan Lenz, Kristy Roberts-Ponce and Rick Conway