Masons aid Cortland officer

Ernie Stewart of Cortland, a member of the Cortland Masonic Lodge #529, cooks sausage during a charity breakfast Saturday morning at the lodge to benefit Cortland police officer Nick Mancini, who suffered a heart attack while on duty.

CORTLAND — This month, the funds raised by Cortland Masonic Lodge’s monthly charity pancake breakfast will benefit Cortland police officer Nicholas Mancini, who crashed his police cruiser when he suffered a heart attack while on duty the first week of September.

Although Mancini was not able to attend the event, his mother, Nancy Mancini, said he is grateful for the community’s support.

“Nick appreciates everything everyone has done, all the cards he’s received and the generosity of the community,” she said, noting another benefit was held last month by the Cortland Optimist Club.

Nancy Mancini said Nicholas is in cardiac recovery, and is resting at home to avoid cold and flu season.

The Cortland Masonic Lodge No. 529 holds a charity pancake breakfast 9 a.m. to noon the first Saturday of every month, often in conjunction with other organizations, such as the Boy Scouts and the lodge-affiliated Rainbow Girls, according to future Master of the Lodge Frank Daugherty. He said the organization strives to improve the community.

“The purpose of life is not to be happy, but to be useful,” Daugherty said. “And that’s what we try to do.”

He said usually, members of the other organizations help the lodge with cooking and cleanup from the breakfasts, but the benefit for Mancini was something the lodge chose to do themselves. A group of about 15 members made pancakes, eggs and sausage, kept coffee, milk, and orange juice at the ready, and cleaned up Saturday.

Daugherty said usually the breakfasts raise $200 or $300, but he was expecting a larger crowd. By 9:30 a.m., the lodge already had seen more than their usual 40 or 50 patrons, and a grocery run for additional eggs and milk had to be made.

Craig Camens, Master of the Lodge for 2019, said the pancake breakfasts have been “very effective” in bumping the lodge’s charitable donations — nearly doubling the money it’s been able to raise.

Organizations with a charitable goal can contact the lodge about partnering for a pancake breakfast by calling or texting Ernie Stewart at 321-514-8350.