RIEHS EARNS JR.O.U.A.M. DISTINCTION -
This Article is from the Archdale Trinity News, (North Carolina),
by Staff Writer, Debbie Hightower
Charles Riehs of Trinity has earned distinction as a fourth-generation member of the oldest fraternal organization in the country – Junior Order of United American Mechanics. After nearly a half-century as part of the organization, he is proud to carry on his family’s rich heritage as National Councilor.
In July of 1845, the Jr.O.U.A.M. was formed in Philadelphia, PA, making it the oldest fraternal organization founded in America. With its tenants of Liberty, Virtue and Patriotism, members proudly espouse their love of God, Country and Service to mankind, which are embodied in one of their crown jewels, The American Children’s Home in Lexington.
In 1995 Riehs’ father, Charles A. Riehs, and his mother, Doris Whitlow Riehs, made history by holding the state’s top offices at the same time. Charles was the State Councilor of the Junior Order and Doris was the State Councilor of the Daughters of America, the Junior Order’s auxiliary organization.
A graduate of Trinity High School, Riehs joined the organization at the tender age of 16. He started off full steam ahead – in May 1969 Riehs was honored as Junior of the Year by Trophy Council No. 29. A recognition he gained by helping the council raise more than $3,000 for the organization’s home for children in Lexington. Riehs names the orphanage as the main reason he joined the Junior Order. “We used to go over there when I was a kid and I played with the orphans, “ he said. “ I didn’t know they were orphans – I was just playing with other kids.”
The Children’s Home was dedicated in 1927 and it is still going. “They took in neglected and abused kids, and kids that come from broken homes and that’s what we still do today.”
Riehs explained that the word “junior” in the organization’s name currently has no correlation with the age of its members and similarly, the word “mechanic” has no relevance to the members’ occupations. “When this organization was founded, the automobile of course had not be invented,” said Riehs. “Back then, the word mechanics meant builders of character and (members) came from all walks of life”
During his involvement with the organization, Riehs has served three terms as State Councilor and three terms as Chairman of the Board of the American Children’s Home, all while serving on the Board of the Trinity High School Boosters’ Club. His face is well-known at Trinity High School home football games where, for 30 years he has been a faithful member on the “Chain Gang”.
For the past 31 years Riehs has been the owner of Sunshine Racing.
Local chapters include Junior Order Guilford Council, Mechanicsville Council and Trophy Council #29 where Riehs is a member. Community service has always been an essential component of the organization that was instrumental in the establishment of the first hospital in High Point in 1904, appropriately named the Junior Order Hospital.
He outlines other objectives as well. “Our main objective is to keep the Bible and the American flag in the schools.” Said Riehs. “Back when they put the Pledge of Allegiance back in schools, we put flags back in every elementary school in the area.
Despite his national office Riehs remains humble. He is well into the first year of his term as National Councilor – a position that means he frequently travels to various states to assist in Junior Order inaugural events. During his two-year term Riehs’ focus is on strengthening the organization and instituting comprehensive membership drives, which will educate the public that members come from all walks of life and professions - lawyers, accountants, firemen, law enforcement and military – not just mechanics.
He intends to continue to enhance The Children’s Home outreach into a growing list of community services. Trophy Council #29 meets weekly at 6:30 pm, every Thursday at 452 S. Main St., High Point. Members must be 16.
For more information, call Charles Riehs 336-883-2372 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
GO FORTH AND SPREAD THE NEWS OF OUR BELOVED ORDER'S PRINCIPLES. OUR NATION NEEDS US DURING THESE TROUBLED TIMES.