By Sterling McGinn

Captain Vince Baker, a longtime member of the local Masonic Lodge and former Gould City resident, was the recipient of a prestigious Masonic award, which has only been given out 26 times in its history.

Local Mason Travis Freeman was present at the presentation which took place on Friday, May 13 at the Pentagon.

Freeman and the Scottish Rite team, accompanied by Baker’s father William surprised Captain Vince at the Pentagon.

“It’s an honor to have had a small part in recognizing Captain Vince Baker’s service to our country and humanity,” Freeman said.

Baker was a graduate of Mackinaw City High School in 1982 and enlisted in the United States Navy as a Fire Control Technician assigned to USS Moinester FF 1097, in Norfolk, VA.  In 1991, he was promoted to Chief Petty Officer and assigned to the pre-commissioning crew of USS Vella. He served in numerous positions throughout the country.

He served as the Commanding Officer of Naval Support Activity, Annapolis from 2016 to 2018.

He most recently served as the 49th Commanding Officer of Naval Station Norfolk.

The award is named in honor of Daniel D. Tompkins, the first Sovereign Grand Commander of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. Tompkins served as U.S. Vice President under James Monroe. He was also the fifth governor of the State of New York.

The award is conferred by the Supreme Council or Sovereign Grand Commander to a Scottish Rite or Masonic member who has rendered outstanding and exemplary service to their country or Masonic fraternity, which is not often witnessed among general membership.