Oct 14, 2023
The Grand Master's Official Visit to Districts 1A and 1B.
The preparations began at 10:00AM. Right Worshipful (RW) Ernesto Apaga and family and Right Worshipful (RW) Jeffery Hayes with brothers from 1B decended on the Alexandria Scottish Rights Building and began setting up the tables and chairs. A team effort was required to place the 200 plus placemats, programs, and decorations.
Then at 4:30PM Brothers from KMW: Kevin Thomas, Mike Ruehs, and Chi Tran manned the registration desk and checked-in over 200 Brothers and family members who had registered and many more Brothers who had not.
KMW Brother Jose Revollo's daughters and Jobees (Juliana Revollo and Natalia Revollo) played violin music beginning at 6:00PM.
The Old Dominion Sojourners 364 presented the colors of our nation at around 6:25PM and RW Apaga led us in the Pledge of Allegiance to the United Stated of America. Afterwards our Brother RW Hayes gave a toast to the Flag of Our Nation.
After the toast the Jobees led by Juliana Bernado sang the Star Spangled Banner. Everyone in the room sang with her, who doesn't get goosebumps singing and hearing our National Anthem?
RW Howard Mason blessed the meal prepared by Mission Barbeque. The District Deputy Grand Masters of 1A and 1B chose Mission Barbeque because they have a very similar mission to our Fraternal Order.
Since its inception Mission Barbeque has contribued 20 million dollars to various national and local charitable organizations such as the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Fund, Wreaths Across America, Honor Flight Network, etc.
Music throughout dinner was provided by Harpist Dr. Iraida Poberezhnaya. She has won many awards to include the International Harp Contest in Baku 1990, the International Harp Contest in Israel 1995 and the USA International Harp Competition in 1995 as well. She is currently the Music Director of Bishop Cummins Reformed Episcopal Church.
It was a great night breaking bread with so many brothers we do not get to normally see!
The Grand Master, Most Worshipful (MW) Donald E. Strehle's theme was Service.
What resonated most with me was when MW Strehle repeated what Brother Douglas MacArther had said about leadership:
"A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent."
I will leave my Brothers who could not attend those words to consider.
For those Good Men looking to become a Mason, you just have to ask one to become one.