Dear Friends of Odd Fellows:
YOU ARE MISSING THE BOAT! (if you haven’t seen our website). It is a first-class operation, and I invite you to visit it. Go to http://lexingtonoddfellows.com. You can find all kinds of information about Odd Fellows at the site, from its history to famous people who are buried there to information about Lexington Odd Fellows Cemetery, Inc. (LOFC), which now owns and operates Odd Fellows. The website is a huge project that has taken a lot of time and energy to develop. I know that you will enjoy seeing it.
The site is, and likely will always be, a work in progress, as we add to and improve the functions that it performs. In this regard we will shortly have a state of the art cemetery management system that will be an online web application to assist us in all facets of the management of Odd Fellows. This feature will provide your officers with the tools to manage all of the records with respect to existing and available graves. In addition, we will have an online interactive cemetery map that will provide an enjoyable user experience for website visitors, who will be able to “zoom in” on sections one through twelve.
Your board of directors continues to meet monthly, and since our last email to you we have addressed a number of issues arising out of the maintenance and operation of the cemetery. As we have previously reported, the cemetery has a major fire ant problem, and we have taken steps to eradicate them, if that is possible, for they are resilient little pests. If we can’t get them all, we will get a bunch of them! We are grateful to Neill Marshall of Helena Chemicals for donating the poison and to Phil Williamson for applying it.
LOFC has purchased six additional trash cans, because the ones that we had were routinely overflowing. Your board has developed and promulgated rules and regulations governing the operation and functioning of Odd Fellows and has sent a letter to all of the funeral homes in the surrounding area to apprise them of the rules, which affect how and when they conduct interments and the repair of any damage caused by the interment, as well as the $200 fee that is due from the funeral home to Odd Fellows for each interment. Those rules and regulations are now a part of the website, so you can review them there. We have filed our first federal income tax return and filed our annual report with the Secretary of State.
Your board continues to raise money to pay for current operations and to fund our endowment. We need to raise about $55,000 to obtain a second matching donation of $100,000 from our very generous anonymous donor. PLEASE help us raise this money. Your board will shortly begin calling you to seek your help with raising the funds necessary to secure the matching contribution. We recognize that most folks do not like to be solicited, by telephone or otherwise, and I can assure you that none of the board of directors likes to do the soliciting, but it is critical that we get the match and continue to build our endowment fund. Our goal – our hope! – is to raise enough money eventually to fund the maintenance of Odd Fellows in perpetuity. That will require an endowment fund of around one million dollars. If raising the $55,000 to secure the second matching gift of $100,000 is daunting, then the larger amount is REALLY daunting. Nevertheless, your board is undaunted and will continue to work toward this goal, so that – with your help and active participation – we can leave Odd Fellows in a position to survive when our generation is gone.
So please, PLEASE, HELP US SAVE ODD FELLOWS, because that is really what this is all about. We have come so far in restoring the cemetery to its former beauty, but we can continue to do so only with your help. You can support Odd Fellows by giving in one of two ways: one is by sending a check to Lexington Odd Fellows Cemetery, Inc. at P. O. Box 1213, Lexington, MS 39095, and the other is by going online to our secure web site and making your contribution by credit card. If you have already given, please consider making an annual contribution in whatever amount that you are comfortable with. Finally, memorial gifts are a wonderful way to give. You can make a gift in memory of a family member, a friend, a friend’s loved one, a former coach or teacher, or in memory of anyone who has touched your life in a special way. We will then notify the family of your memorial gift.
The board of directors joins me in thanking you for your support, and we send to you our warmest regards and best wishes.
Ed Thurmond, President
Lexington Odd Fellows Cemetery, Inc.