Greetings From The Grand Master
Hello and welcome to the official web site for the Grand Lodge of Ontario. My name is Gene Dopp and I am the Grand Master for the 2018 – 2019 term. For those of you who know nothing or at least very little about me I will give you a short background. I am the father of 4 and grandfather of 14. I had a step-daughter who died from cancer in 2015 at the age of 32. I retired in 2009 after 28 1/2 years in policing. I am the 3rd youngest of 8 children and come from a family that is very charity oriented and that believes in giving back to the community they live in and helping those who are less fortunate. I guess some of these things made me a perfect candidate for the Odd Fellows.
I must say, the Odd Fellows are one of the best kept secrets in the communities that they are located in. Quite often people confuse our name with the “Good fellows”. Those are what they call those that get “made up” in the Mafia. I can assure, that is not us. When I say we are the best kept secret I refer to the fact that we are a rather modest lot that do things quietly “under the radar”. We raise money through many different types of fundraisers and then donate the funds that we raise back to our community. My home lodge sponsors minor baseball, boys and girls minor hockey teams and a girls under 11 field lacrosse team. We donate to a local youth drop in center, a church run soup kitchen and a breakfast program at a local elementary school. We help the Salvation Army Christmas appeal by making a cash donation and helping man their Christmas kettles. We are one of the largest supporters of the Orangeville Wolves Hockey team – these are a group of young men who are developmentally challenged. Through our efforts they have been able to attend hockey tournaments in Canada, Europe, Great Britain and the United States.
We raise our money through many means. Speaking of my own lodge again. We have held an annual meat roll, roast beef dinners and an annual golf tournament to fund our charitable deeds, unfortunately, the Odd Fellows have something in common with the Amur Leopard, the Black Rhino, the Malayan Tiger and the Orangutan, We are on the “endangered species” list. As our order ages and die we are not filling the void left by those who die. In this modern, technological world people aren’t joining charitable groups and fraternal orders. Life is so busy and active in many households, most have both parents working and often times commuting an hour or more from home to work. By the time they get home at night and get dinner on, kids fed, bathed, homework done and the kids to bed they have no time for anything and are likely exhausted. For many folks today, joining a group such as ours is the last thing on their minds.
I hate to sound like the grim reaper. If we don’t start getting new members there will be no Odd Fellows. We are not the only organizations facing this problem. The Lions, Optimists, Rotary, Kinsmen all face the same challenge. If we don’t get new members and we disappear there will be HUGE voids left in the communities that we service.
I will close by once again thanking you for coming to our Grand Lodge website and urge you to consider helping us out and joining our ranks. Perhaps you could start by contacting your local lodge and offering to assist with a fund raiser. If you find you enjoyed the experience, then join. On this website is a list of lodges, contacts and meeting nights. By giving 2-3 hours of your time a month, you can help us make a difference. Thanks very much.
Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ontario.