Times Bulletin Staff Writer
VAN WERT — It was on Aug. 20, 2005, when local dentist Dr. Kevin Laing took his son, Bob, to Columbus to be initiated into the Van Wert Chapter Order of DeMolay. Immediately, the young 2012 Van Wert High School graduate became very excited and interested in emulating the young men of the state council.
These days Laing is running the congress of the DeMolay as that organization’s International Master Councilor. “We look over the pieces of legislation that the Supreme Council does,” said Laing. “The organization was established to be run by the boys, not by a government body telling them what to do.”
Since his selection as 2014 Master Councilor last year, Laing, who also serves as the organization’s poster board figure, has traveled to conferences in 22 states, plus international conferences.
Earlier this year, Laing, along with his father, were part of a group who attended a conference in Paris. Later in April, said the elder Laing, they are going to be traveling to Panama to open a new DeMolay. “This is pretty cool stuff,” said Kevin Laing.
Bob Laing is currently attending the University of Miami at Oxford where he is studying to become the fourth generation of dentists in his family. Other dentists from the family include Dr. Bruce Laing, Dr. Robert Laing, Dr. Kevin Laing and the younger Laing.
Laing, who had attended St. Mary’s Elementary School, plunged into DeMolay full speed ahead when he reached high school. During his high school career, he recruited 21 members into the Van Wert Chapter. “There came a point where I had to decide between football and DeMolay,” said Laing. “I chose DeMolay because I felt that I was good at it, I was a good public speaker, and I knew how to give leadership to the group. “When I make up my mind with something and have a goal, I really stick with it,” continued Laing.
“In DeMolay I felt that people cared about me. In Van Wert High School I was a member of 16 clubs and organizations and not one gave me a sense of belonging like DeMolay.”
Some of Laing’s most-cherished awards include Lamp of Knowledge, Founders Membership Award, and he earned a Blue Honor Key with a star for sponsoring 20 new members. In addition, he was honored with the degree of Chevalier and was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by Ohio DeMolay in 2012.
“DeMolay offers so much to young men that membership in DeMolay should be a coveted goal of all worthy men between the ages of 12 and 21,” said the son of Dr. Kevin and Barbara (a nurse) Laing. “Our goal is to spread the good news of DeMolay so that the world will be aware of our good work. DeMolay must become a household name. Serving the individual member and helping them to have the best DeMolay experience is why this experience is so important,” continued Laing. “DeMolay offers the totally unique opportunity to young men of any interest group to pursue that interest and to share their success with their DeMolay brothers.”
The most important thing to Laing about DeMolay is helping develop the seven virtues of leadership character development with young men, including love of parents, reverence of sacred things, courtesy, comradeship, fidelity, cleanness in thought, word, and deed, and patriotism.
“I want young men to have a place when they are involved in DeMolay; I want them to feel like they belong,” observed Laing. “Whatever their abilities are, I want young men to feel important and be a leader.
“With proper focus and concise actions, we will achieve positive results for the Order of DeMolay. We will strive to make the DeMolay experience not just good, not just great, but something worth remembering for a lifetime,” added Laing.