|Volume LVI||February 2009||Number 1|
Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania
December Quarterly Communication
On Dec. 6, 2008, 287 Pennsylvania brethren, representing 157 lodges, attended the December Quarterly Communication at the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia. Bro. Calvin K. Kyler, M.W. Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Vermont, offered remarks on behalf of the 18 distinguished guests representing other Grand Lodges and Masonic bodies.
R.W. Grand Master Stephen Gardner presented the Grand Master's Outstanding Service Medal to three brethren whom he considers "benevolent ambassadors in the community." The award, which is presented to honor Masons who have distinguished themselves through service to their community, lodge or Grand Lodge, was presented to Brothers Larry R. Christenson, Thomson Lodge No. 340, Paoli; Col. (Ret.) Harris H. Brooks, Brotherhood Lodge No. 126, Philadelphia; and John E. Goodman, Greenleaf Lodge No. 561, Allentown.
Bro. Christenson was recognized for his dedicated work for the Masonic Charities' Capital Campaign around the state, and for epitomizing Masonic goodwill and values within the community.
Grand Master Gardner expressed his sincere appreciation to Bro. Brooks for being the "magic link" that brought his vision for the "Change for the Troops" to reality. "The logistics are staggering," Grand Master Gardner said, referring to the connections required to get the calling cards into the hands of troops serving in the desert. "I wanted to target troops departing from Pennsylvania so we could give back to our neighbors, co-workers, family members and friends who live in the communities where our lodges meet."
Grand Master Gardner also conveyed his gratitude to Bro. Goodman, Grand Lodge Organist-East, for sharing his outstanding musical talent at Masonic functions across the Commonwealth. His dedication was evident when, despite a fractured hip, he insisted on playing at the 2007 Annual Grand Communication.
Two brothers received the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania Thomson Award for Saving a Human Life: Bro. Charles D. McHenry, Doylestown Lodge No. 245, and Bro. Ronald D. Goodman, Brownstone Lodge No. 666, Hershey.
The award is named for Bro. John Thomson, Past Master of Lodge No. 51, Philadelphia, who served as R.W. Grand Master in 1861-1862. He was the only individual to ever serve in all six elected offices of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, and was publicly acclaimed and cited by the Humane Society of Philadelphia for saving several persons from drowning in the Delaware River. The handcrafted sterling silver cup was designed by the direction of Bro. Robert L. Dluge, Jr., R.W. Grand Master, 2000-2001.
Bro. Charles McHenry pulled over on his way to work when observing a car that hit a tree on the side of the road. The driver's feet were trapped, and she was unable to exit the car. Bro. McHenry, without regard for his own well-being, used a pocketknife to cut the seat belt from the woman's neck and extricated her from the vehicle seconds before it was engulfed in flames. He carried her to his vehicle until medical help arrived.
Bro. Ronald Goodman acted heroically when he heard his neighbor's wife calling for help late one evening. Upon discovering a fire in the master bedroom, his neighbor attempted to rescue his pets, but on his way out his prosthetic leg became caught between some furniture. Bro. Goodman ran across the street and into the house, freed his neighbor and lifted him to safety while smoke poured out the front door.
Bro. Robert A. Di Palma, Sr., Senior Master of Ceremonies of Bluestone Lodge No. 338, Hallstead, received the Collar and Jewel of a Master Masonic Scholar from the Pennsylvania Academy of Masonic Knowledge. This medallion honors brethren who complete all three certification levels and may be worn to any Masonic meeting.
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