|Remarks of Brother Thomas R. Labagh, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Youth Foundation|
Right Worshipful Grand Master:
I appreciate this opportunity to participate in this ceremony, and speaking of participants, I want to take a moment and introduce to you those who have offered their musical talents to us today. Of course, our Grand Organist, Bro. Jack Goodman, played for the Processional and the national Anthem. Following the Pledge of Allegiance, DeMolay members from Reading Chapter, Brothers Danny Forrer and Alex Fizz, offered a fine version of Lee Greenwood's GOD BLESS THE U.S.A. Then we were treated to a lovely performance of KUM BAH YAH, by children and staff of the Masonic Homes Children's Home. Several of the selections were presented a cappella by Brothers Alex Fleming and Kevin Dougherty, of the Franklin Chapter of the Acacia Fraternity at the University of Pennsylvania. And lastly, Bro. John H. Platt, Jr., Executive Director of the Masonic Library and Museum, with his wife Elaine, gave us that powerful rendition of BLESS THIS HOUSE. And this leads me back to our DeMolay pianist, Bro. Danny Forrer, who is going to assist me now.
Brother State Master Councilor, I believe you and your officers have a duty to perform.
Danny is going to begin playing something he shared with me last month when I auditioned Alex and him in Reading. It is called, IF YOU BELIEVE, by Jim Brickman. Listen to it for a moment. To my knowledge, this music has no words… but it speaks to us in its notes and rhythms, and its title… IF YOU BELIEVE. It sings of the Dreams of all of us, our collective dreams in the Fraternity, and our own, individual dreams. Some are small, personal dreams for ourselves, or our families. Some are big dreams, shared with our friends and brothers. Other dreams are majestic is scope- dreams that others dare not dream!
Do you hear your dreams?
Do you dare to have dreams?!
IF YOU BELIEVE it will happen--- it CAN HAPPEN!!
Bro. Thomas Ranken Patton dreamed of a school for orphans of Masons, to give them a chance at success in life. He BELIEVED in his dream, and it was realized!
Bro. Samuel C. Williamson dreamed of establishing a Foundation to support the Masonic Youth Groups, and to bring them to this facility which had closed its doors after 50 years of faithful service. He BELIEVED in his dream, and it was realized!
In 1997, Bro. James L. Ernette, then R. W. Deputy Grand Master, began to dream of a state-of-the-art multimedia center- (and it is, as you will soon see). He dreamed of a facility for Masons, for Youth, for D.A.R.E., for G.R.E.A.T., and for all who would serve the youth of our commonwealth. He not only dreamed- as any great leader, he shared his dream with those on his team who could help him achieve it. HE BELIEVED IN HIS DREAM-HE BELIEVED IN HIS TEAM-men such as his Elected Line of Officers, Bro. Samuel C. Williamson, RWPGM, Bro. Joseph E. Murphy, Executive Director of the Masonic Homes, and Bro. Carl Flohr, Chairman of the Building and Grounds Committee. They spread the dream to Architect James E. Lewis, a partner of Reese, Lower, Patrick and Scott, and Bro. Ralph Simpson, Vice-President of Warfel Construction Company. They all BELIEVED IN THE DREAM, and shared it with hundreds of workers and craftsmen (and if you had been here the last two or three days, you'd have thought they were ALL on site at one time!) Working together, they focussed on a common goal, and with good planning, and talent, and good, old-fashioned, hard work, and BELIEF IN THE DREAM, it was REALIZED!
LISTEN TO THE MUSIC…
LISTEN TO YOUR DREAMS!
The greatest of all was the dream of Bro. Samuel C. Williamson-who had a vision of this facility continuing to serve the purposes of Thomas Ranken Patton, and to serve youth, AND to serve Freemasonry. The Capstone that was just unveiled says it all: the Masonic Conference Center-Patton Campus- Dedicated to Freemasonry and Youth!
Because you dared to DREAM, Brother and "Dad" Williamson, because you BELIEVED IN YOUR DREAM, and DARED US TO DREAM, Pennsylvania DeMolay has a gift for you, and for the Masonic Fraternity.
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