Masonic recognition award

Four nonprofit agencies were presented with the Stephen F. Austin Distinguished Service Award by the Waco Scottish Rite Bodies. Pictured are (from left) Mike Waldrup, general secretary of the Waco Scottish Rite Bodies; John Calaway, associated executive director of development and volunteers, and Donnis Smith, board member of Mission Waco; Bill Russell and Inez Russell, executive director of Friends for Life; Melody McDermitt, executive director of Meals on Wheels Waco; Ann Owen, director of development, and Buddy Edwards, executive director of Caritas; and Claude Ervin, chairman emeritus of Waco Scottish Rite Bodies.

The Waco Scottish Rite Bodies honored four Waco-area nonprofit agencies with the Stephen F. Austin Distinguished Service Award during a Night of Recognition Nov. 6 at the Lee Lockwood Library and Museum.

Caritas, Meals on Wheels Waco, Mission Waco and Friends for Life each was presented a granite award along with a $10,000 donation from the Waco Scottish Rite Bodies.

Each of the charities is celebrating a milestone of service in 2017. Meals on Wheels Waco and Caritas are marking 50 years of service to the community, while Friends for Life and Mission Waco started 25 years ago.

Representatives from each of the organizations were on hand to accept the award.

The award is given to recognize humanitarian endeavors and outstanding community leadership. It was first presented in 1999.

Caritas operates a food pantry and thrift stores to help families in poverty, but also began a case-management system in 2013 to help clients learn to become more self-sufficient. Buddy Edwards has been executive director since December 2008.

Meals on Wheels Waco delivers more than 200,000 lunches a year to older adults, and as part of Central Texas Senior Ministry operates senior centers and provides transportation to clients. Melody McDermitt has led the group for 35 years.

Friends for Life was founded by Inez Russell to help the elderly and people with disabilities live independently as long as possible and bring together generations. The organization offers a guardianship service in 81 Texas counties for those without a family member.

Mission Waco provides a variety of services and programs to assist the poor throughout the Waco community as well as globally.

It was begun by Jimmy and Janet Dorrell. Jimmy Dorrell continues as its executive director.

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