Volume LVIFebruary 2009Number 1

2008 Stars & Strips Gala

On Nov. 1, 2008, 223 brethren, their ladies and guests gathered at the newly restored Masonic Temple in Philadelphia for the 2008 Stars & Stripes Gala to benefit the continued preservation of this National Historic Landmark. The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania's focus during the event was to honor and pay tribute to the five branches of the armed forces.

Each of the evening's distinguished honorees represented his respective branch of the military and received an award from Grand Master Stephen Gardner for his service to our country. They are shown with Grand Master Gardner in the top left photograph below, from left-right: Stephen J. Harmelin, Esq., U.S. Coast Guard; Brother and Colonel (Ret.) Philip M. DeHinnis, U.S. Army; Lieutenant General Ronald S. Coleman, U.S. Marines; Rear Admiral (select) Kenneth J. Braithwaite, II, U.S. Navy; and Colonel (Ret.) Harris H. Brooks, U.S. Air Force.

In addition to the opportunity to view the restoration work on the exterior of the Masonic Temple, guests participated in a silent auction and cocktail reception and enjoyed dinner and entertainment by Jonathan and His Fuzzy Navel Swing Band. Two DeMolay, Andrew Richards and Paul Stults from the Chester Pike Chapter, served as footmen for the arriving guests.

The evening's events had a patriotic flavor with an emotional touch, including the presentation of colors, a powerful POW/MIA prayer and inspirational remarks by the honorees. The event raised $84,000.

Grand Master Stephen Gardner welcomes the Gala's Honorees Knights Companions of the local Commandery were on board to assist with escorting guests.
Grand Master Stephen Gardner and First Lady Patricia enter the Banquet Room under the Commandery's Arch of Steel. Bro. Larry Christenson announces Phillies' Ryan Howard's signed jersey during the live auction.
Proudly donning their Phillies World Series Champions caps are, left-right, Brothers Jeffrey W. Coy, R.W. Grand Treasurer; Robert J. Bateman, R.W. Junior Grand Warden; Thomas K. Sturgeon, R.W. Deputy Grand Master, Stephen Gardner, R.W. Grand Master; Jay W. Smith, R.W. Senior Grand Warden; and Mark A. Haines, R.W. Grand Secretary. NUR Temple Colonials Fife and Drum Corp members from New Castle, Del., Brothers Frank Hartsell, Tom Parker, Harry Koneman, Ben Parker, Kevin Winter, Art Reed, Rick Swalm, Chuck Maass, Jimmy Restucci and Chuck Blankenship entertain the crowd.

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