COCHRAN, GEORGIA: Chad Allen, age 41, is an outdoorsy-type of guy. In fact, he says, his whole family, which includes his wife, Brandi and children, Kaitlyn, Jamie and Caleb, “enjoys target shooting with firearms, fishing and hunting .. basically anything outdoors.”
The 1996 graduate of Bleckley County High School said he and his wife “also enjoy going to the races at Cochran Motor Speedway … we’ll occasionally travel to other tracks.”
“We just love the sights, smells, sounds and action,” Chad said to The Murphy Gazette.
Chad, who works at Griffin Construction in Cordele, has been in construction for about 21 years. “I guess you could say I chose the job because at the time I had just gotten laid off from Lithonia Lighting. So, I was desperate for work. I didn’t plan on staying long, but it all sort of fit. So I held on and made a career out of it.”
In his job, Chad said, “I am mostly a foreman and heavy equipment operator., but I started at the very bottom like everyone else. I have mostly worked on installing concrete foundations, floor slabs, walls, and elevated (overhead) slabs.”
He added, “I have skills in many other areas., like carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, a little bit of roofing and welding.”
It is those very skills that have assisted Chad in on of his biggest passions outside of his family – being a member of the Cochran Masonic Lodge #217.
This year, Chad was awarded the designation of ‘Mason of the Year.’ “I didn’t consider anything I did special … nothing we accomplished this past year would have happened without the brethren working together.”
When he received his award, Chad said, “I was shocked. I didn’t consider anything I did this year to be outstanding or out of the ordinary. We completed a few big projects around the lodge. I headed up those projects. We built several handicap ramps, and had many other fundraising events that I was a part of.”
“But none of that could have been accomplished without a great team of men coming together to achieve one goal … success,” he added.
He explained, “My father has been a Mason for as far back as I can remember. I would often go to the lodge building with him, and played around while he did paperwork. The old lodge use to be downtown on Second Street in Cochran … upstairs above where Snow’s Asian Restaurant is now.”
Chad continued, “As I got older, alookednd the “new” lodge was built, I would always be around helping do things. I grew up around a lot of the older Masons, who have now passed on. I considered many of them to be grandfather-like figures to me since both my grandfathers passed when I was very young.”
“I looked up to them, as well as my dad. I knew these men were members of an organization that I wanted to be a part of,” he said. “When I became of age, I wasn’t concerned with joining at the time. It took me a few years, but I finally joined in 2007.”
“While there are many misconceptions, the biggest misconception of freemasonry I would clear up is many people believe we are a cult. Or that we are satanists.”
Chad stated, “That is 100 percent false. My faith and belief in Jesus is too strong to let me be a member of such groups.”
He explained, “Freemasonry is a fraternal organization aimed at taking a good man, and making him better. We are not a religion, but we are a religious organization.”
“Our goals are to teach a man how to stay humble, the value of life, and how to give and do out of the goodness of the heart,” Chad commented. “Do good and do not expect anything in return. Those are the values I learned. We also do everything we do, and raise the funds we raise, in order to support our Masonic Children’s Home in Macon.”
When asked if he had any superpowers what would it be and why, Chad thought, and then he wrote something very profound.
“Of all the superpowers I could possibly have, I would love to have the power to instantly ease pain and suffering of children all over the world. I could have said everybody, but I feel that far too often, children are overlooked in many aspects,” Chad said. “I have personally seen examples of children purposely being neglected. And even those who have loving families and are just victims of an accident or birth defect. It can truly be heartbreaking.”
In thinking about advice he could give anyone, Chad paused, and then said, “My quote would be never give up. Quitters never succeed.”
He defined hope as “believing in a positive outcome in all circumstances of life. Hope for the best.”