Article originally published in Fosters Daily Democrat on Tuesday, September 30, 2014. Article written by Liz Markhlevskaya. Photo credit: Foster’s Daily Democrat.
ROCHESTER — The local Free Masons lodge on Saturday presented its first Community Builders Award in 205 years.
The honor went to Tracy Hayes, a patrol officer in Rochester who has become one of the most recognizable faces in the city, according to lodge members.
Hayes, who joined the Police Department in May 2010, said she was “completely surprised and totally honored” to be the recipient of the award.
Free & Accepted Masons, Humane Lodge #21, in Rochester, presented the award to Hayes at the Masonic Temple on Hanson Street on Saturday.
Masons lodge member Daniel Gilbert said although the Masons are typically a “behind-the-scenes organization,” recently lodge members have been trying to get more involved in the community. This year, they joined the Chamber of Commerce.
Gilbert said although the Masons have always been involved in the community, they haven’t advertised their involvement in the past.
According to Gilbert, members of the lodge decided to present the Community Builders Award to Hayes after they heard her name mentioned throughout the community.
Hayes serves multiple charitable organizations in the city, and organizes the annual Wings and Wheels event at Skyhaven Airport, which benefits Gerry’s Food Pantry.
“I just felt that she’s the type of person that exemplifies this particular award,” said Gilbert. “(We) decided she should be recognized for her efforts.”
The Community Builders Award has not been presented to anyone by Rochester’s Humane Lodge #21 in the 205 years of its existence.
Criteria for the award is to be a non-Mason who goes above and beyond in working to benefit the community without expecting anything in return.
On Monday, Hayes said that through her work she always tries to get a feel from people about what they need and how they feel.
“They are the ones living it … I really take in what they tell me,” said Hayes. “They are the eyes and ears for the Police Department.”
Members of Lodge #21 say Hayes’ tireless efforts helped build relationships among citizens and businesses of Rochester to help fight crime in the city.
Police Chief Michael Allen said he is proud of Hayes and her efforts to improve the community. He noted that in her short time with the department she has received several commendations, including the prestigious Red Hayes Community Ambassador Award.
Allen also recognized Hayes for her creativity and innovative work to fight crime.
Master of Humane Lodge #21 Dave Nason, who presented Hayes the Community Builders Award on Saturday, recognized Hayes’ efforts in improving Rochester.
Humane Lodge #21 was formed on Feb. 1, 1810, and currently has approximately 200 members.
It is located at 31 Hanson St.
Original article available here: http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=%2F20140930%2FGJNEWS_01%2F140939981%2F-1%2FROCNEWS01&template=RochesterRegion