MHCO Pool Project



Oh, summer pool!

So cold and blue

Are you aware

That I love you?


Your diving board,

Your lovely slide …

Which is best?

I can’t decide.


On sunny days that never end

Oh, summer pool

You’re my best friend!



“Making a Splash” for our Kids at Oxford

The Importance of a Pool in the Lives of our Kids at Oxford

For decades the swimming pool has been a part of the summer experience and generated positive and lasting memories in the lives of children living at Oxford Orphanage and the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford. From the “swimming hole” on the Orphanage Farm to the first pool built in 1921 to the latest location completed in 1988, the pool has been a social gathering place for recreation and fun and is vital to the care of our kids!

Why is a new Pool for our Kids Needed?

Due to its age, major leaks, and the absence of the most current and most efficient safety and environmental features the difficult, but necessary decision was made to close the pool in the summer of 2017. The shower house and pump house also showed signs of disrepair including significant leaks, wiring issues, broken decking, and disconnected ladders.  As with any facility on our campus, physical condition and a safe living environment are the first and most important factors in deciding when to repair, to renovate, and ultimately when to close and rebuild.

A swimming pool is more than just an added feature to an already incredible living environment for our children. It is a place of gladness and relaxation. Throughout history our pool was a gathering spot for cooling off, first swimming lessons, and quality time with staff and other residents alike.  Our pool is a place that brings the campus together to celebrate birthdays, childhood milestones, and to create lasting memories.  Our pool is a place to get away, providing a positive and fun setting that aids our children with difficult and daily feelings of living apart from or without a family. With its current condition and for the health, safety, and well-being of our kids, we must build a new pool that is safe, affordable, and enjoyable, for years to come.

What is the plan for a new Pool at MHCO?

Our MHCO Board of Directors has thoroughly reviewed proposals and approved the design and construction of a new six lane pool, with a “beach-type” zero entry feature allowing children of all ages and ability levels to safely enjoy their experience. New features include a “splash pad”, replacing the maintenance and safety concerns associated with a “baby pool”, and will include a mushroom shower, bubblers, and fountains.  The project also includes a new pool house equipped with ADA compliant showers, an upgraded lifeguard office, and a modern concession stand serving the needs of our children and staff when visiting the pool.  Finally, a new location on campus for the pool was chosen to allow closer proximity to parking and bathrooms with accessibility both inside and outside of the pool.  With these features comes the most important addition – the construction of a safe, efficient pool, built for the health and well-being of all children at MHCO.

We can only make this wonderful part of a child’s life possible at MHCO with your help. Read on to see out how YOU can support this vital and exciting project.

An Executive Summary

CURRENT CONDITION OF POOL – MHCO identified many safety, electrical, and structural concerns that have grown worse over time and because of the risks associated in keeping it in operation, closed the swimming pool and its ancillary facilities, May 2017.  The pool remains closed currently and for the first time since 1980.

Determining factors regarding replacement of the pool versus renovation include the following:

  • Age of the pool – over 30 years old, with filtration and electrical systems of the same age;
  • Cost of repairs – annual costs on average of over $10,000 for leaks, decking repair, pump house repair and maintenance, and other maintenance and safety issues;
  • Comfort and safety of ancillary features – including shower house and pool which are not ADA-compliant, bathrooms that were without privacy features, and limited areas for shade, food preparation, and proper storage of safety equipment;
  • Annual maintenance – due to leaks and the age of pool equipment, annual water costs continued to rise negatively impacting both financial and environmental costs due to water usage and chemical usage.

CONSTRUCTION AND COST – Taking into consideration these factors, the cost to renovate the current pool and its structures, and the ability to properly address these issues with renovation, the MHCO Board of Directors voted in February 2018 to construct a new swimming pool, at a new location on campus, to include a new pool house, decking, pump house, and with added safety and convenience features.  Planning also included the replacement of the “Baby Pool” with a more hygienic, safe, and environmentally-friendly, “Splash Pad, to accommodate younger children.

Primary consideration was given in selecting the appropriate contractor, while examining the ability to secure donated funds and financing to complete the project without additional costs negatively impacting MHCO’s budget dedicated to the care of the children. In February 2017, MHCO accepted proposals for construction of the pool reviewing several designs, analyzing costs, and determining a price point necessary to promote and secure donations sufficient to fund the cost of the project.   After thorough review and multiple revisions to determine that price point, Greenville Pool & Supply Company was chosen in February 2017 as the pool contractor.

The total cost approved by the MHCO Board in February 2018 for pool construction was $307,950 and does not include the cost of a slide. DanCo Builders Inc. was selected as the contractor for the Pool House, Pump House, fencing, lighting, decking, and engineering at an approved cost of $274,509, including a $75,000 allowance for site work.  With these two costs the project total for the pool and ancillary structures equals $582,459.  This is a reduction in the original plans and bids first submitted in May 2017 of $220,000.  Additional costs will be realized in sewer, water, and electrical connections and phone installation.  Additional purchases will include pool amenities, lifeguard stands, pool cleaning and safety equipment, deck furniture, recreational, and concession equipment at an estimated cost of an additional $143,355 for a total project cost of $725,814.

At A Glance

A New Pool for our kids Will feature ….

  • Six lane pool, with zero-graded entry and water slide
  • Splash pad feature, with mushroom shower feature, bubblers, and fountains.
  • ADA-compliant shower house, with privacy stalls and multiple entrance and exit points
  • Dedicated concession area for food service with wash and storage capabilities
  • Lifeguard office equipped with compliant safety and communications equipment
  • Pool design features and depth limitations to enhance therapeutic, educational aquatics program for all ages and swimming abilities
  • Modern pool filtration, monitoring systems to lessen environmental impact, safety concerns, and operational costs
  • Improved security and lighting features to enhance safety and promote utilization

Project start date: May 2018

Est. completion date: August 1, 2018

project cost: $725,814.00



Donor Opportunities

The difference your gift will make to this project

Do you have fond memories of summer and swimming at the pool? Wasn’t it the perfect place to meet friends and have great times?  How important was your first swimming lesson and how proud you were to be able to swim? Is this an experience you would like to give to a child at MHCO?

For almost 80 years the pool has been an essential and important part of the lives of children at MHCO. We need your help to ensure that children today and for years to come will continue to enjoy this wonderful part of the care we offer.  As of May 1, 2018, $271,000 in donations have been given to this significant project in the lives of our kids.  With your donation to our MHCO Pool Project – 2018, we can fully fund our goal of $725,000, “making a splash” for those in our care.  Know with this contribution you will be giving to more than the construction of a pool.  You will be giving directly to the health, safety, confidence, and happiness of a child at MHCO, now and for many summers to come.

Ways you can give to the MHCO Pool Project 2018

RECOGNITION/NAMING RIGHTS – Donors who designate funds for the purchase of these items receive exclusive naming rights on the locations indicated below.



Six Lane pool:        $308,ooo

Pool House:           $150,000

Pump House:        $20,000 – Pledged

Decking:                $30,000

Splash Features:    $12,600

Pool Slide:             $50,000

Fencing:                $12,000 – Pledged

Lighting:               $4,000 – Received

Concession:           $15,281 – Pledged

Equipment:           $2,100

Guard Stands:       $4,400 – Pledged

Deck Furniture:    $12,100

Games:                  $5,900

Pool Equipment:   $930 – Pledged


All donors who give $500 or more will be recognized on the MHCO Pool Project 2018 Giving Wall that will be displayed on the Pool House of the MHCO Swimming Pool.  Click HERE to fill out the donation/pledge form and send it in today!

2018 Ambassadors



2017 Ambassador Chris Hawkins addressing the 2018 class.


MHCO is proud to present the 2018 Ambassadors!  With the induction of this class, we only have 2 districts left without representation.  These gentlemen, and many of their wives, visited our campus late in April.  Over the course of 2 days, they met our children, toured our campus, and learned about our past, present and future.  We are honored to have them join our other Ambassodors as representatives, supporters, and champions of our Home.  The 2018 Ambassadors are:

  • Tommy Cook
  • Chris Gibson
  • Rodney Hardy
  • Ron Hensley
  • Kevin Howell
  • Chase Huffer
  • Martin Jackson
  • John Lloyd
  • Michael McMorrow
  • Dave Ozvat
  • James Pugsley
  • Scott Sigmon
  • Victor Vogelsang


Ambassador Michael McMorrow striking a pose!



A good time was had by all, and here are the funny faces to prove it!

The Great Landscape Event – 2018


The Great Landscape Event at the Masonic Home for Children took place on April 14, 2018.  This annual event brings friends from near and far to beautify our campus for the spring and summer months!  This year was no exception with 116 volunteers here to  help with the various projects listed:


  • Trash pickup on Forest Ave. and 3 points intersection.
  • Move records from SJAB to the Cobb Center (Archives)
  • Paint trash bag holders.
  • Landscape work in community garden area.
  • Develop plans for repairing tin roofs on barns.
  • Clean all road signs on campus.
  • Pressure wash assigned buildings.
  • Plant flowers at the Chapel and flag pole.
  • Remove weeds from mulched areas on campus.
  • Landscape work at God’s Half Acre.
  • Mulch around new planted tree at Hunt Hall.
  • Mulch beds on campus.


We extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to all who participated in the Great Landscape Event!


  • MHCO Board of Director Members
  • MHCO Staff
  • 1st Masonic District
  • 16th Masonic District
  • Andrew Jackson Lodge #576
  • Corinthian Lodge #230
  • Creedmoor Lodge #499
  • Currituck Lodge #463
  • Granite Lodge #191
  • Granville Lodge #380
  • Guilford Lodge #656
  • Hiram #40
  • James B. Green Lodge #735
  • Keller Memorial Lodge #657
  • Kenly Lodge #257
  • Millbrook Lodge #97
  • Pee Dee #150
  • Relief Lodge #431
  • Widows Son Lodge #75
  • Williams Lodge #176
  • NC Masonic Foundation Employees
  • Boy Scout Troop #629
  • Creedmoor United Methodist Church Mission Kids
  • Girl Scout Troop #4086
  • Green Acres Lawn & Landscaping Service
  • Oxford Preparatory School
  • Ted’s Catering, Inc.
  • Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
  •  Seven Individual Volunteers


Photos curtesy of Beth Grace and the North Carolina Mason!  See more pictures in the next editon!








Wayne Roberson Retires from SGA after 40 Years!



Wayne Roberson, center, along with former students and co-workers.


On Saturday, February 10 friends, family, former co-workers, and current staff members met at the Masonic Home Chapel to celebrate the working career of Wayne Roberson. At 40 years, Wayne was one of longest tenured employees in the history of Oxford Orphanage/Masonic Home for Children.

In our journey through life God often puts us in places and situations where we can best have an impact on our fellow man. For Wayne Roberson that place in 1978 was the Oxford Orphanage Printing Department. He has seen many changes through the years, from different faces in the manager’s office to printing equipment that looks far different today than it did when he started. I’m not sure he realized the day he was hired just what the next 40 years would hold for him. But what he did figure out very quickly was the opportunity he would have to impact the young lives of the students that would be in his care for a few hours each week. The author is unknown, but it was once said that “Every child deserves a champion – An adult who will never give up on them and who understands the power of a connection”. Wayne Roberson was that champion for countless former students who love and respect him for what he meant in their lives. The impact he made during his forty years can best be measured by the young people that were under his instruction and have made the Home proud by becoming productive citizens in their own communities.

During his tenure Wayne Roberson was selected to be honored by placement on the School of Graphic Arts Wall of Fame. He is just as deserving as some of the greats who are there, men like Allen and Joe Colenda and Tommy Eller. The Colendas have a whole generation of alumni who love and still speak fondly of them. Wayne has created the next generation that will do the same for him.

Eddie Dickerson, School of Graphic Arts Manager


2018 Board of Directors & Committee Members



MHCO is proud to present our 2018 Board of Directors and Committee Members!

Front row from left – Larry Thompson, Michael Sterling, Louise Taylor, Raul Herrera, Maria Lowder, Melissa Hogan, Dr. Carla Emerson, Don Steichen, Shaun Bradshaw, David Wicker, Mack Sigmon…Back row from left – Kevin Otis, Dr. Tony Cozart, Reverend Cathie Caimano, Steve Norris, GM Speed Hallman, Chairman Dewey Preslar, Don Kehler


Board of Directors

  • Grand Master Speed Hallman – Wadesboro, NC

  • Mr. Dewey R. Preslar, Jr., Chairman – Salisbury, NC

  • Mr. Don Steichen, Vice Chairman – Raleigh, NC

  • Mrs. Melissa Hogan, Treasurer – Mebane, NC

  • Dr. Carla Emerson – Kernersville, NC

  • Dr. Deirdre S. Christy – Black Mountain, NC

  • Mr. Jon Welborn – Mocksville, NC

  • Dr. Tony Cozart – Oxford, NC

  • Mrs. Maria Lowder – Salisbury, NC

  • Mrs. Nicki Perry – Louisburg, NC

  • Mr. Anthony Sessoms – Clinton, NC

  • Mr. Mack Sigmon – Newton, NC

  • Mr. Michael Sterling – Cary, NC

  • Mr. Shaun Bradshaw – Greensboro, NC

  • Mr. Raul Herrera – Hillsborough, NC


 Committee Members

  • Mr. David Wicker, Secretary – Oxford, NC

  • Mr. Jeff Hensley – Raleigh, NC

  • Mr. Thomas Eller – Salisbury, NC

  • Mrs. Kathy Johnson – Garner, NC

  • Mr. Phil Johnson – Hertford, NC

  • Mr. Kirby Matthews – Denton, NC

  • Mr. Dennis Sims – Asheville, NC

  • Mr. Amos Speight – Fayetteville, GA

  • Mr. Johnny Surles – Pollocksville, NC

  • Rev. Cathie Caimano – Huntersville, NC

  • Ms. Louise Taylor – Garysburg, NC



On February 13, 2018 the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford will turn 145 years old!  On that day, our Home began caring for children in need and we continue to provide a stable, safe, and caring home today. 

We will be turning 150 years old in 5 short years.  Check our website often for news regarding the upcoming celebration, our history, and our bright and promising future. 


Check out these other notable happenings from 1873!

  • January 01, 1873 – Origin of Japanese Era

  • January 11, 1873 – 1st livestock market newspaper published, Drover’s Journal, Chicago

  • January 14, 1873 – Celluloid registered as a trademark

  • February 13, 1873 – Oxford Orphan Asylum opens in Oxford, NC (Known as MHCO today.)

  • February 20, 1873 – University of California gets its 1st Med School (UC/SF)

  • March 03, 1873 – Congress authorizes federal departmental postage stamps

  • March 09, 1873 – Royal Canadian Mounted Police found

  • May 01, 1873 – 1st US postal card issued

  • May 20, 1873 – Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis receive United States patent#139121 for using copper rivets to strengthen the pockets of denim work pants. Levi Strauss & Co. begin manufacturing the famous Levi’s brand of jeans, using fabric from the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company in Manchester, New Hampshire.

  • May 23, 1873 – Postal cards sold in San Francisco for the 1st time

  • June 02, 1873 – Construction begins on Clay St (San Francisco) for world’s 1st cable railroad

  • June 18, 1873 – Susan B Anthony fined $100 for attempting to vote for President

  • August 01, 1873 – San Francisco’s 1st cable car begins service

  • August 14, 1873 – Field & Stream begins publishing

  • August 18, 1873 – 1st ascent of Mount Whitney, Calif (14,494′)

  • August 26, 1873 – 1st kindergarten public school opens in St Louis

  • September 17, 1873 – 19 students attend opening class at Ohio State University

  • October 30, 1873 – P T Barnum’s circus, Greatest Show on Earth, debuts (NYC)

  • November 04, 1873 – Dentist John Beers patents gold crown

  • December 30, 1873 – American Metrological Society forms (NYC) weights, measures & money






Thank you for helping MHCO!

MHCO is so blessed to have so many donors and friends who contribute in ways big and small to keep our Home and our kids happy and healthy!  One such donor is Brother Thomas Croall.  He, along with Pittsboro Masonic Lodge No. 102 and DPR Construction have answered our pleas for help many, many times!  Not only does Brother Croall deliver items from our Needs List from time to time, but he also delivers other items to be used in various places on campus.  Last year, he brought our Home a John Deere X350 Lawn Tractor along with a dump cart and protective cover.  These items are for use in our Community Garden.  (Our resident gardener, Mr. David Sneed is pictured driving the new lawn tractor!)   We extend our heartfelt thanks to Mr. Thomas Croall, DPR Construction, and Pittsboro Masonic Lodge No. 102 for their continued and generous support!  Growing Hearts, Brighter Futures…because of you!


School Supplies Needs List is here!


2017-2018 MHCO School Supply Needs List

Printable Version – Click here!

  • Pre-Kindergarten/Primary Writing Paper Tablets
  • .8 Lead for mechanical pencils
  • Earbuds
  • Expo Dry Erase Markers
  • 1 Gallon Ziploc Bags
  • Sandwich Ziploc Bags
  • Kleenex-style Tissue Boxes
  • Large bottles of hand sanitizer
  • Lysol or Clorox Wipes
  • Copy Paper
  • Cardstock copy paper for projects, awards, certificates
  • # 2 Pencils
  • Mechanical Pencils
  • 8 GB Flash drives
  • TI 36X Calculators
  • TI 84 Calculators
  • Combination Locks
  • 1-inch binders
  • 2-inch binders
  • 3-inch binders
  • Trapper Keeper styled Notebooks
  • Pocket Folders with prongs
  • 3-Subject notebooks
  • 5-Subject notebooks with pockets
  • Notebook Page Dividers
  • Graph paper
  • Clipboards
  • Multi-Colored Construction Paper
  • Art 4B Drawing Pencils
  • Pink Art Erasers
  • Plastic Magazine Holders
  • White Poster Board
  • Science Fair Type Display Boards
  • Hand-held sanitizer
  • Pencil Pouches
  • Post-it Notes/Pop-Up
  • English Spanish Dictionary- the school prefers VOX Spanish English Dictionary or The University of Chicago version-20
  • Clear tape
  • Paper Towels
  • Skill workbooks for tutoring and extra practice
  • Manipulatives for counting, sorting, ABC practice (educational/skill-based games)
  • Small square and rectangular storage bins for library
  • Academic Award Ribbons





MHCO Urban Forest Management Plan

When one arrives on the campus of the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford the stately and majestic trees capture their immediate attention. The impact of the trees extends beyond their beauty and can be directly calculated to include storm water interception, energy savings, and atmospheric carbon dioxide reduction.  The beautiful urban forest captures the imagination and has been included in several iconic representations including the acorn and heart shaped pins.  Many wonderful memories are created under the oaks.

The reality of a mature and stately forest is that the trees are coming to the end of their cycle. Thus a plan needed to be developed and implemented to help manage the current forest, plant for reforestation, and develop an ongoing plan to ensure the viability of this important resource.   In September of 2015, NCSU Graduate Student Travis Black committed to evaluating 232 trees on upper campus.  Over the course of his graduate work, Mr. Black examined the spring and winter canopies, detailed the condition of each tree, recorded a plan for each tree, and developed a management plan extending thirty years to promote a healthy and vibrant forest for generations to enjoy. The 137 page plan is extensive, thoughtful, and insightful.  Mr. Black presented the Management Plan to Alumni Paul Tausch, Violet Davenport, Tina Gilreath, and MHCO employees on May 18th.

Highlights of the plan include the value of the trees, risk and mitigation budgeting, pruning standards, pruning and removal recommendations, reforestation and planting plans, and goals and strategies for ongoing management. Mr. Black shared some important information and guidelines.  The Oaks represent 63% of the forest, with 52% being Willow Oak.  While impressive, the lack of diversity places the forest at significant risk.  Many recall the epidemic of Dutch Elm Disease.  A similar epidemic related to Oaks would be immediately devastating.  Thus, the replanting plan encourages planting a diversity of other faster growing trees before Mr. Black suggests planting more Oaks.  For each tree removed it is suggested the planting of 2-3 replacements.

Due to damage and age, 41 trees or 22% of the forest are identified for removal. Additionally, 171 or 75% of the trees are identified as either low or high priority pruning.  Mr. Black has suggested a schedule of removal, pruning, and replanting over the course of 30 years recognizing the management of the forest is a long term commitment.

The Urban Forest Management Plan is expected to be a part of the on-going Annual and Long Range Planning process. As the reforestation plan develops, new trees will come from outside nurseries and eventually MHCO hopes to be able to harvest seeds and cuttings from current trees to help propagate the forest.  Additionally in six years MHCO will celebrate its 150th anniversary.  Seedlings and young trees will become an option for stakeholders to take home or plant on campus to help connect them with our forest and see the forest expand beyond this campus.

The dedicated, detailed, and crucial work conducted by Travis Black has helped insure the beauty, serenity, and safety of the campus for decades to come. Mr. Black’s historic work will be the foundation of a continued canopy and diversified forest for generations to enjoy.  May our hearts continue to grow together under stately trees for the benefit of children forever.  Thank You Travis!

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