Masons’ breakfast raises $3,500 for Herald reporter’s medical bills

Published 11:20 am Friday, June 17, 2016

The Masonic groups of Austin flipped up $3,500 to help Austin Daily Herald reporter Jenae Hackensmith and her husband, Jordan, with medical expenses.

The Masonic groups — the Masons, Eastern Star, York Rite and the Shriners — served more than 300 people at a pancake breakfast on June 4 at the Austin lodge to support Jenae, who is recovering after surgery for brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM).

Neil Hanson, secretary of the Masonic Building Association, was happy with the fundraising total and the turnout, as a typical pancake breakfast serves 80 to 100 people.

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“This was pretty fantastic,” he said.

During the busiest time of the breakfast, a long line ran out the door of the Masonic Lodge.

“People had to wait a little bit, but it was for a good cause,” Hanson said.

The $3,500 total also included more than $400 raised through Hering’s Maple Syrup sales courtesy of Adams couple Kevin and Jill Sathre. Jenae wrote a story on Kevin’s syrup operation for the May-June edition of Austin Living.

Hanson came up with the idea to help Jenae and Jordan through the breakfast and brought the idea for the fundraiser to the Masons and then to Herald Publisher Jana Gray.

“She jumped all over this,” he said. “The Herald did a fantastic job with the publicity.”

Along with the Masons, people from Cornerstone Church and the Herald helped with the fundraiser.

The next pancake breakfast will be held at 9 a.m. to noon on July 2 at the Austin Masonic Lodge, 303-A N. Main St. to help with expenses for the Masonic Lodge.

Traditionally, the Masonic groups hold breakfasts on the first Saturday of each month. A few each year benefit a specific cause, like the Wounded Warrior Project, while other breakfasts go toward lodge expenses.

Jenae, 24, has worked for the Herald for more than two years, covering a wide variety of topics.

Jenae and Jordan moved to Austin in April 2014. They are active at Cornerstone Church and adopted two cats, Ike and Pop, from the Mower County Humane Society.

People can also support Jenae and her family by going to