Although Pauline Roach is the first female member of the Lincoln County Odd Fellows, the group has never made her feel odd about not being a fellow.
â€œI was a little apprehensive at first. I didnâ€™t know what to expect,â€ she said. â€œI didnâ€™t know how they would accept me, but they accepted me very well and welcomed me in.â€
The Odd Fellows, a fraternal order dating back to the 18th century, focuses on helping those in need, whether it be a cancer patient low on funds or people living with disabilities.
â€œWe help a lot of handicapped people,â€ said Richard Roach, the groupâ€™s noble grand in charge. â€œIf we find out someone needs a ramp built, weâ€™ll go out, weâ€™ll build a ramp. It doesnâ€™t cost them anything.â€
The club also has fundraisers in which they sell hotdogs and hamburgers. Thousands of dollars can be raised from such events, and it always benefits the local community.
â€œWe donâ€™t go to South Carolina or anything like that and help people,â€ said Richard. â€œWe keep it in our community.â€
Although Pauline has admired the groupâ€™s volunteer work, she wasnâ€™t very interested in joining. It was her husband, Richard, who convinced her.
â€œHe wanted me to join so we could do things together,â€ she said.
Now, she can travel on Odd Fellows trips and retreats. Despite her initial apprehension, Pauline has enjoyed her eight months with the group.
â€œNow that sheâ€™s in the organization, and she sees what we do, sheâ€™s excited,â€ said Richard.
That said, she wouldnâ€™t mind a little female companionship.
â€œRight now, I donâ€™t worry about it anymore,â€ she said. â€œIâ€™m sure there will be others who will join.â€
Despite being the first woman in history to join the branch, Paulineâ€™s arrival met with little fanfare or controversy.
â€œI donâ€™t think anyone rejected it really,â€ said Richard. â€œI think they liked the idea.â€
The group has always had a sister organization, the Rebekahs, which has only female members.
For more information on the Odd Fellows call Richard Roach at 704-735-4988.by Sarah Grano