BEATRICE – The Masons of Nebraska conducted a symbolic cornerstone laying ceremony in Beatrice, Saturday. The stone dedicating the new Beatrice Fire and Rescue Headquarters will eventually be installed on an exterior wall near the department’s main entrance.

State representatives of the Masons from all around Nebraska attended the ceremony held inside the fire bays, and hosted by Beatrice Masonic Lodge Number 26.

Alex Straatmann, of Kearney is the head of the Nebraska Grand Lodge of Masons.  "Many of us have worn different uniforms and we even have some firefighters amongst our rank. We have all the services represented and we even have a police officer or two here. We have the highest appreciation and are humbled to be here and share this with you."

The ceremony comes 82 years after the cornerstone was laid for the Beatrice Municipal Auditorium, where the Beatrice Fire and Rescue Department was housed for several decades before moving into the new headquarters last December.

Jeff Buhrman, of Lincoln… the Grand Orator of the Nebraska Masons…said the dedication also marks a renewal. "A renewal of Beatrice's commitment to strengthen the future of public safety. Today, we dedicate this building whose spirit and legacy is hallowed by the noble efforts of foregone generations."

The cornerstone ceremony was only the second held by the Nebraska Masons since 2019…because the coronavirus pandemic prevented having other ceremonies.  The Masons lay cornerstones on public buildings and those dedicated to religion, education, civic service and philanthropy. On average, ten cornerstone laying ceremonies are conducted in Nebraska, annually.

Items are included in the cornerstone as a type of time capsule, reflecting the culture of today and events associated with the ceremony.