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Bro. Leroy A. Mull

It was a memorable, inspiring, and historic day at the Masonic Conference Center on the Patton Campus at Elizabethtown on Dec. 12, when R.W. Grand Master James L. Ernette and the Grand Lodge Officers laid the date stone and dedicated the new -- and newly named -- Samuel C. Williamson Multimedia Center. During the afternoon, the Order of DeMolay initiated 37 members of a class named in honor of the Grand Master.

The new building is an addition to Memorial Hall, the original classroom and shop building on the Patton Campus. It includes a unique and magnificent two-story lobby that encloses the original entrance to Memorial Hall, so named in memory of Thomas Graham Patton, who died at age 7, the only son of Past Grand Treasurer Thomas Ranken Patton.

To the north of the spacious, bright lobby is a functionally designed registration area, six meeting rooms well suited for breakout sessions, public telephones, rest rooms, and display cases.

To the south is the high-tech, 98-seat multi-media conference room with state-of-the-art computer, video, and audio presentation systems. Included are a VCR, DVD player, slide-to-video converter, presentation computer, and a document camera. The voice audio system is separate from the presentation audio system. The surround-sound system is truly theater quality.

Ceremonies for laying the date stone began with the presentation of the colors by a color guard made up of elected DeMolay state officers. Carl R. Flohr, Chairman of the Building and Grounds Sub-committee of the Committee on Masonic Homes, and the architect, James E. Lewis, reported the completion of the construction project and delivered the plans and prints to the Grand Master.

The musical accompaniment throughout the ceremonies were outstanding and moving. The Grand Organist, Jack Goodman, provided the background music. Selections were offered throughout the program by representative groups who use the Masonic Conference Center. Danny Forrer and Alex Fizz, of Reading Chapter, Order of DeMolay, offered "God Bless the U.S.A." Children and staff members of the Masonic Homes Children's Home sang "Kum Bah Yah." "Amazing Grace," "Break Forth O Beauteous Heavenly Light," "You'll Never Walk Alone," and "Let There be Peace on Earth" were sung a cappella by Alex Flemming and Kevin Dougherty, of the Franklin Chapter of the Acacia Fraternity at the University of Pennsylvania. John H. Platt, Jr., Executive Director of The Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania, accompanied by his wife, Elaine, offered a powerful rendition of "Bless This House."

Concluding the date stone ceremony, elected officers of the Order of DeMolay in Pennsylvania unveiled a polished black granite capstone in the floor in the center of the lobby. It depicts the Grand Master's 1998 medallion with the theme, "Faith, Family, Fraternity, Community," and includes the names of the elected Grand Lodge officers. It bears the motto of the Masonic Conference Center, "Dedicated to Freemasonry and Youth."

It was then that the Grand Master called upon Thomas R. Labagh, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Youth Foundation and the Masonic Conference Center. To the background music of "If You Believe" played on the piano by Danny Forrer of Reading Chapter, Bro. Labagh spoke of the dreams of Thomas Ranken Patton and the school that resulted; of the dream of Grand Master Ernette; and of the dream of R.W.P.G.M. Williamson.

That's when the Grand Master had the Grand Marshal conduct Bro. Williamson to where the officers of the Pennsylvania DeMolay had brought a large easel covered in red velvet (see page 5). The Grand Master proclaimed, "In the spirit of gratitude, I dedicate this edifice as the 'Samuel C. Williamson Multimedia Center.'" Lettering over the doors of the Multimedia Center were revealed at that moment. Then, with the assistance of Rakesh Kumar, the State Master Councilor of DeMolay, a copy of Bro. Williamson's official Past Grand Master's portrait was unveiled. This is a temporary photo, which will be replaced by a duplicate of the original oil now being painted by the artist, Bro. Henry Cooper. It will hang in the lobby between the two doorways to the Multimedia Center.

For more information on the dedication click here

After the ceremonies, the date stone was placed (above) by Leroy A. Mull, of Manheim Lodge No. 587. He got able assistance (below) from Ashley Frederick, granddaughter of Grand Master Ernette and daughter of Lisa and Joseph Frederick, the Grand Sword Bearer.

Ashley Frederick
Bros. Carl R. Flohr, P.M. and Samuel Willaimson, R.W.P.G.M.

Carl R. Flohr, P.M. (left), Chairman of the Masonic Homes Building and Grounds Subcommittee, and Samuel C. Williamson, R.W.P.G.M., look over the capstone which had just been unveiled in the center of the lobby of the Multimedia Center by a team of state officers of the Order of DeMolay.

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R.W. Grand Master James L. Ernette is pictured with the team of DeMolay officers who unveiled the capstone (l-r): Amit Kumar, Rakesh Kumar, Grand Master Ernette, Walter Pietrowski, and Louis Grow.

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