Since his enrollment into the Loyal Order of Moose over 40 years ago Paul Bearrows held many titles in the organization but his most recent is the highest honor bestowed upon a member.
On June 2 the Rochelle resident was honored with the Pilgrim Degree of Merit, which comes as a reward for his extraordinary service. For Bearrows, the news came as a surprise.
“I have no idea who nominated me, but from what I understand there were several people involved,” he said. “Thanks for recognizing what I’ve done.”
Bearrows began as a member in 1977 and has gone on to serving as Treasurer, Governor, Secretary, Junior Past Governor, Moose Legion Chairman, Audit Committee Chairman and Moose Charities Chairman. He was elevated to the Fellowship Degree of Honor at the Moose International Convention in 1986.
Members of the Rochelle Moose Lodge honored Bearrows late last month at a celebration held at the Hub City Senior Center, which is the Moose Lodge’s former location.
“Paul has also helped our Fraternity beyond the lodge level,” said Dave Schabacker at the presentation. “He served as IMA District 4 President from November 1998 to August 1999. He served as Northwest Illinois Moose Legion President in 1997. He joined the 25 Club on Dec. 12, 1990 by sponsoring 25 members into the Moose Fraternity and presently stands at 60 sponsorships. He has sponsored 22 members into the Moose Legion and as been financially supportive of Moose Charities by being a member of League of Guardians for four straight years.”
Schabacker, who also holds the Pilgrim Degree of Merit, spent time researching Bearrows’ contributions to the Moose organization. He read aloud his findings, including Bearrows’ history as a Marine and his 36-year career with the City of Rochelle street department.
“Paul’s most memorable time with the Street Department was the winter of 1978-79 when the falling snow would not let up,” Schabacker added. “Paul plowed snow seven weeks without a day off, sat out one day and then worked another four weeks without a day off. Paul’s folks had not raised a lazy son!”
Receiving a Pilgrim Degree of Merit is a lifetime honor and Bearrows will now be able to recommend any member of the Order for this Degree.
Along with his duties as a Pilgrim, Bearrows also serves as Chaplain for the Rochelle American Legion Post and is part of the staff for Memorial Day program at Lawnridge Cemetery each year.
“To be recognized for what you’ve done,” Bearrows said when asked what this honor means to him personally. “It’s a way for the Order to say thank you for what you’ve done and keep up the good work.”