Tag Archives: Scottish Rite

Nebraska Masonic Home

October 14, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

The building known as “The Castle” is hard to miss while driving through Plattsmouth on Webster Boulevard. Its imposing grey stone structure boasts Elizabethan towers and arched doorways fit for a Scottish king. For its 100 or so residents, however, The Nebraska Masonic Home is a warm and caring place to spend their retirement years.

“This is their home,” executive director Mary Stockton says. “And the Masonic Home is like a home to me after working here 12 years.”

As a continuing care retirement community, the facility provides a range of options that can change with the needs of residents: independent apartment living, assisted living, nursing care, and special care for residents with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Residents enjoy a range of activities and outings as well as amenities and services from housekeeping to state-of-the-art dining facilities.
nebraska-masonic-home-2But not just anyone can take up residence at the Nebraska Masonic Home. It has exclusively served eligible members of Masonic organizations—like Scottish Rite, York Rite, and Shriners International—and their eligible female relatives (wives, widows, mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, and granddaughters) since 1903. It is the only Masonic retirement facility in the state.

“Masons support their brothers, and Masons take care of their families,” Stockton says. “Masons, on the whole, are a very generous, caring group of gentlemen. They are the most philanthropic that I’ve ever seen…Whatever they can do to help, they’re there.”

nebraska-masonic-home-3

That generosity manifests through The Nebraska Masonic Home Foundation, which provides support for both the facility and individual residents who require financial assistance; the facility does not participate in government funding through Medicare and Medicaid.

Employee turnover is unusually low compared to the norm for retirement communities and nursing homes, Stockton says, and the staff includes employees at all levels who have reached 10, 15, or 20-year anniversaries. Some have been on the job even longer.


nebraska-masonic-home-1Marilyn McLaughlin, a CNA/CMA, will reach 30 years with the Nebraska Masonic Home next spring.

“The staff and residents are nice, considerate, and respectful. You feel as soon as you walk in that you just want to be here and help,” McLaughlin says, adding that a manageable workload allows direct care staff like herself to provide quality care. “I couldn’t go and work anywhere else after working here.”

Chris Abbott, the facility’s administrative assistant and admissions coordinator, joined the Nebraska Masonic Home 26 years ago and says she had a positive impression immediately.

“I had never been in a nursing home, and I was just amazed when I walked in the door. I could smell good food cooking. The people were wonderful, the residents were well-dressed and clean…26 years later I’m still at it and I’m not going anywhere,” Abbott says. “Residents get care not like anyplace else; it’s a place where people are made to feel wanted. We care about residents, and we care about their families.”

Stockton agrees: “It really is a privilege to know and care for them.”

Visit thenebraskamasonichome.org for more information. Sixty Plus

DOI Gala

December 25, 2012 by
Photography by Downtown Omaha Inc.

Since the founding of Downtown Omaha Inc. in 1967 as a nonprofit, privately funded corporation, the DOI has followed its mission statement “to inform, promote, and unite the downtown community.” Its ultimate goal: creating a world-class place for living, working, leisure, and the arts.

Its board is composed primarily of presidents and CEOs from downtown businesses, though everyone in the downtown area—from merchants to workers to residents—is encouraged to become involved in activities that make Downtown Omaha a better place. The Holiday Lights Festival, the Heartland Walk for Warmth, and the new Wayfinding project are just a few of the efforts supported by DOI that have created economic opportunities for area businesses, supported local charities, and spawned new traditions for countless Omahans.

Beginning in 1997, Downtown Omaha Inc. has recognized individuals, associations, and corporations in different categories for contributing to the growth of Downtown Omaha at its biannual Gala event. A list of past DOI Outstanding Achievement Winners reads like a “Who’s Who” of Omaha: Holland Performing Arts Center, Midtown Crossing, Hal Daub, River City Rodeo, and Joslyn Sculpture Garden, to name a few.

The DOI will recognize 2013 honorees at its Gala event held at the Downtown DoubleTree Hotel on January 26th. Winners include:

  • Architectural Planning – Don Prochaska of Old Market Place
  • Economic Development – America First Real Estate Group, DICON General Contractors, and Holland Basham Architects for the L14 Flats
  • Cultural Arts & Entertainment – Omaha Children’s Museum
  • Spirit of Community – Paula Steenson of Paula Presents!
  • Visionary Pioneer – Frank McGree of Goodwill
  • Special Events/Festivals – Bobby Mancuso for Taste of Omaha
  • Adaptive Reuse/Restoration – Scottish Rite

Award recipient Paula Steenson, owner of Paula Presents!, an event planning and graphic/web design firm based in Omaha, is an active member of the DOI, serving as vice president of the group and coordinator of this year’s Gala. She’s also reaped big rewards from being involved with the organization. “DOI has been a huge part of my professional life the last 15 years,” she says. “It’s given me the opportunity to meet and work with many of the people and businesses downtown and to grow my business.”

Aggie DeRozza serves as secretary on DOI’s Board and also has great things to say about her involvement: “I’ve been with Bass & Associates for the last 18 years and our company has been a member of DOI during the entire time. DOI is instrumental in bringing quality programs and networking to its members monthly. It is a wonderful networking opportunity for companies and you find that you are conducting business with many of the people you meet there.”

The theme for this year’s Gala is “Back to the ’50s,” and will feature ’50s music, a silent auction, a menu reminiscent of the ’50s, and Omaha Publications’ own Gil Cohen as emcee. A ’50s era costume contest will also be held with mystery judges. Proceeds from the event will support
Downtown Omaha Inc.’s future endeavors to help downtown businesses and organizations grow.

Speaking of the DOI Gala, DeRozza said, “It promises to be a fun event!”

The DOI Gala 2013 will take place at the DoubleTree Hotel, 1616 Dodge St., at 5:30 p.m. For more information about becoming an event sponsor, activities, or the organization, visit downtownomahainc.org or call 402-341-3700. Tickets are $75 each. RSVP no later than Jan. 22.