June 2019 Newsletter

June 15, 2019

Dear Friends of Odd Fellows: We hope that all of you have had a chance to visit the Odd Fellows website at . It is truly an outstanding site, and it now offers additional features that were not available when I last wrote to you. A customized cemetery management system that contains 6300 records of gravesites at LOFC has been added to the online web application. It will act as a central repository of information and provide the necessary tools to manage efficiently the records of the cemetery.

Your board met on June 10 and accomplished a lot. We thought that you might be interested in some financial information. Thus far, since our creation, we have received $152,367.53 in contributions from 223 friends like you, with an average donation being $906.26. Our anonymous donor has matched the first $100,000 that we raised with a gift of $100,000. We need to raise $47,632.47 to reach the second $100,000, which our anonymous donor has promised to match.

Our expenses in a little over a year are about $40,000, and we anticipate that we will continue to run at least that much and probably a little more. Of the $40,000 about $25,000 has gone for cemetery maintenance; the balance is for insurance, postage, CPA services, website development and the like. We will not incur some of these expenses – website development, for example – again, but maintenance will increase, because we did not pick up the cost of maintenance until later in 2018, thus giving us a shorter year for that function. We anticipate that a full year of maintenance will run around $40,000.00.

This month we want to feature two people who have made another type of contribution: major league sweat equity of the first magnitude. Kathie and Larry Mayo have on their own time and at their own initiative, undertaken a major walkthrough of the cemetery to determine who is buried where and how many graves remain available at Odd Fellows. Now, a little about Kathie and Larry: Larry retired from the U. S. Air Force in 1987, and at that time, he and Kathie returned to Lexington, which is Larry’s hometown. They have the Mayo, Porter, Doty and Millwood families interred at Odd Fellows, and Larry is diligent in placing American flags on as many veterans’ graves as he can identify and in giving those graves a little extra TLC.

Kathie and Larry have two children, four grandchildren and one great grandchild. We are proud to call them friends. They have truly stepped up to the plate, and with their work and the work of others to identify graves, we continue to move toward an accurate rendering of that information. We plan, once the work is completed, to have that information available on our website, and we will be able to use it in our everyday management of Odd Fellows.

Kathie and Larry work at the cemetery every day. Yes, you read that correctly: that’s every day. They love Odd Fellows and keep a watchful eye on it. Because of them, Odd Fellows is a better place, and we are grateful for their help and care.

In addition to Kathie and Larry, Chris Hammett and George Ellison have been diligently entering the field information from Kathie and Larry into an Excel spreadsheet that has been downloaded into our new cemetery management system. George has not only worked to enter Kathie and Larry’s information, he has also worked hard to enter information from old, handwritten records, and without his help, we would not be where we are today with computerizing our cemetery records. We are grateful for George’s diligence and hard work.

I want to add that the people at Columbus Marble Works, which services cemeteries throughout the south, have said that what Odd Fellows has accomplished in the last year is absolutely amazing and that the cemetery is one of the best-maintained – if not the best-maintained – cemeteries in Mississippi. I hope that you will take pride in these accomplishments, because it is your support that has made those accomplishments possible. I also hope that if you have the opportunity, you will visit the cemetery to see firsthand what we have done.

Your board is organized into committees, and we thought you might like to see who serves on what committee:

Finance: Pat Barrett, Jr., Chris Hammett, and Amanda Povall Tailyour
Fundraising: Julian Watson, Chris and Amanda
Graves: Ed Thurmond and Pat, Jr.
Investments: Harold Hammett, Jr., Pat, Jr. and Phil Cohen
Legal and Compliance: Al Povall, Pat, Jr., and Ed
Maintenance: Harold, Jr., Phil, Chris and Ed
Website: Amanda and Chris

Kirkham Povall, Al and Pat, Jr. do, and have done, all our legal work to date. We have hired a CPA in Greenwood who performs our accounting work for us, and Amanda has established a bookkeeping system and maintains our books on a day-to-day basis, then provides that information to the CPA for preparation of our tax return and other required legal and administrative filings. We use Holmes County Bank in Lexington as the repository for our funds. All-in-all, your corporation -- for we view you as our shareholders -- runs smoothly, and we will, with your help, continue to do so.

The Board joins me in sending our warmest regards and gratitude for your support.

Ed Thurmond, President

Lexington Odd Fellows Cemetery, Inc.