By Kathy Collins

On Saturday, August 8, over 150 members, families and friends looked on as Riverview’s DeSoto Masonic Lodge reached a significant milestone in its 127 year history. On that day, the Walter Fishback Chapter of the Order of DeMolay, sponsored by the Lodge, was presented with their official charter from DeMolay International.

The Order of DeMolay, which was established in 1919, is a youth fraternity for young men ages 12 to 21 who are of good character and who acknowledge a higher spiritual and interpersonal power. The organization instills leadership skills and accountability and always strives to do what is both morally and ethically right.

What makes this distinction even more significant is the fact that this is the first chapter presentation in the Tampa Bay area since the 1980’s.

The Chapter is named in honor of the late Walter Fishback, an influential member of the local community who was involved in various Masonic and community organizations. He served, among other things, as the secretary for the DeSoto Masonic Lodge. It is because of his dedication and that of the young men of the chapter, that the Walter Fishback Chapter has grown substantially over the years. The young men of the chapter, who come from Newsome, East Bay and Lennard High Schools, are doing great things in the community.

The newly elected Master Councilor, Cooper McKinlay, a resident of FishHawk and a student at Newsome High School, took the gavel with pride and officially opened the Chapter under the newly issued charter for the first time. McKinlay said, “It’s an honor to hold the office of Master Councilor as member of the official chapter, and I’m going to do my best to keep us moving in a good direction and bringing in new members.”

The members of the Walter Fishback Chapter of the Order of DeMolay are active within the community. They routinely work to clean up the sides of Highway 301 in Riverview in conjunction with the DeSoto Masonic Lodge.

In addition, they will be helping to raise money for Shriners Hospital on Sunday, October 25 at the Sun City Center Pancake Breakfast. They are also active in Relay for Life.

For more information, visit, or contact David Puzzo at or call 480-5679.

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