Zarnara Brown, 4, walks with members of the Masons and Eastern Star during their visit to deliver gifts to the children at the Hospital for Sick Children in in Northeast on March 16. (Michael A. McCoy/The Washington Informer)
Zarnara Brown, 4, walks with members of the Masons and Eastern Star during their visit to deliver gifts to the children at the Hospital for Sick Children in in Northeast on March 16. (Michael A. McCoy/The Washington Informer)

Like so many young parents at the HSC Pediatric Center, Shanna Brown counts every step that her daughter Zarnara makes as a blessing.

Zarnara, 4, has been at the Northeast hospital since suffering critical injuries in a car accident last month. But she and other children at the 135-year-old institution were all smiles recently when a big gold coach bus pulled up and the leaders of Prince Hall Masonic Grand Lodges in five states and the District walked inside with plenty of toys and love.

“What you see before you are the Grand Masters, Grand Worthy Patrons and Grand Worthy Matrons from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, the District of Columbia and Maryland,” said Quincy G. Gant, Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia. “We chose to come together to have this charitable event.”

Jade Ricks, program assistant for the HSC Health Care System External Affairs Department, took the Masonic leaders on a tour of the facility that included apartment units where parents learn how to care for their children.

During the visit, the leaders learned that the hospital treats people up to the age of 21 who have sustained a variety of traumatic injuries.

“We get kids from D.C., Maryland and Virginia and some of these children are medically fragile and have been and out of the hospital for a very long time,” said Debbie Holson, the hospital’s chief operating officer. “When we have special events for the kids it makes their lives because they need to know that they are loved as they transition to home.”

Eunice J. Dingle, the Grand Worthy Matron of the Georgina Thomas Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star, presented a financial gift to the hospital from the leaders of the different states. Jeffrey M. Calcote Sr., Grand Master for West Virginia, said he plans to visit a similar venue when the meeting takes in his state next year.

“This is where the rubber meets the road,” said John T. Doles, Past Grand Master for the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia. “If we are going to grow, we have to do these kinds of things.”

Hamil R. Harris

Hamil Harris is an award-winning journalist who worked at the Washington Post from 1992 to 2016. During his tenure he wrote hundreds of stories about the people, government and faith communities in the...

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