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William Males of Mechanicsville, a member of Mechanicsville Lodge No. 495, Loyal Order of Moose, received the Pilgrim Degree of Merit, the highest honor that can be given to a member of the Loyal Order of Moose.

The conferral was held in the House of God in Mooseheart, Ill., on June 2.

According to a news release, the degree, currently held by fewer than one-half of 1 percent of the members of the fraternity in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Bermuda, is the orderís ultimate reward for exceptional devotion to the principles and ideals of caring for children and senior members. And it is earned only by members who have given years of above-the-call-of-duty service to the Loyal Order of Moose and its principle philanthropic endeavors of Mooseheart, a city for children in need 40 miles west of Chicago, and Moosehaven, a retirement community for senior members, on the banks of the St. Johns River in Orange Park, Fla.

The Pilgrim Degree ceremony, traditionally held on the same day as the graduation for Mooseheart High School, is conferred only inside Mooseheartís House of God, a multidenominational cathedral built in 1950.

Members receiving the degree are entitled to wear a coveted gold blazer, which is formally presented to the honoree during a ceremony attended by other Pilgrims, members of the higher degrees of both the Loyal Order of Moose and Women of the Moose, family, friends, community leaders and other members of the Order, the release states.

Males received his blazer at Mechanicsville Lodge 495 on July 29.

Leaders of the Maryland-attended the ceremony to offer congratulations to Males.

The Moose is an international organization of men and women, dedicated to caring for children and seniors, bringing communities closer together, and celebrating life.

Members volunteer their time and talent to assist people in need and make communities better places to live and raise families, the release states.

The organization operates more than 1,600 Moose Centers in America, Great Britain and Bermuda, providing members with family, social and sports activities.

To learn more about what Moose members are doing in the communities, go to www.mooseintl.org or call 630-966-2229.