|Volume LIV||May 2007||Number 2|
Masons Helping Masons ...and Others
Finding Comfort & Hope at the Masonic Temple
Upon returning to the Grand Lodge from a meeting one evening, Ronald A. Aungst, Sr., R.W. Grand Master, and Mark A. Haines, R.W. Grand Secretary, were approached by Bros. Joseph Schreiber and Thomas Waite, who were assisting an elderly gentleman. The man recently had been released from the hospital, but appeared disoriented and had nowhere to go. He was a brother who had been suspended for non-payment of dues, yet he innately knew where he could turn when he needed help.
Grand Master Aungst immediately called the Courtyard Marriot and reserved the brother a room for the night. He then called the Masonic Outreach Program to arrange further assistance. Outreach staff called the Corporation of Aging in Philadelphia, an agency that has worked collaboratively with Outreach in the past. The Philadelphia Corporation of Aging provided Outreach with information on options to assist the brother in need. Within a relatively short time, an investigator was assigned to assist in the brother's case. The agency found emergency shelter for the brother and assured the Outreach staff that the brother would be assisted. Due to confidentiality concerns when the brother's case was turned over to the Older Adult Protective Services through the Philadelphia Corporation of Aging, the Outreach staff could no longer receive information about his situation.
Throughout the situation, the general manager of the Courtyard Marriott was very helpful. She assisted the brother in contacting the Outreach staff throughout the day, relaying messages and ensuring his comfort until the protective services staff came to pick him up. She reported that our elderly brother felt a sense of relief knowing he had support from the Grand Lodge and the Outreach staff.
Hiram Lodge Masons Making a Difference in the Community
It's a cold January evening, one of the coldest nights of the season in the historic Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia. Bro. David Vahey, Worshipful Master of Hiram Lodge No. 81, has called a meeting of the Past Masters at the Chestnut Hill Masonic Hall, where the lodge has been meeting since the 1800s, to discuss strategic issues for the lodge.
During the meeting, one of the Past Masters excuses himself to go upstairs and fix a small plumbing item. Suddenly there is a loud shriek, a call for assistance from the third floor. Bro. Vahey, thinking three steps ahead, as usual, sees visions of water flowing across the floor and runs up the stairs. But instead, there, in the ante room outside the lodge room, was a young lady curled up on the floor, sound asleep. The young lady turned out to be the cleaning lady. She had recently lost her apartment and took refuge in the comforting confines of the Lodge Hall.
The good members of Hiram Lodge, demonstrating the wonderful tenets of Freemasonry, took action, doing what Masons do best: help others. Bro. Vahey arranged for the woman to stay at a nearby hotel that evening and arranged for a longer-term stay at a local shelter. But the lodge didn't stop there. They have continued to work to help this woman get back on her feet. Members of the lodge have found additional work for the woman and are looking for long-term shared living arrangements for her.
Did this woman just make a lucky choice, or did she know she would find comfort and assistance in the Masonic fraternity? Either way, she received more help than she had hoped for, from brethren ready and willing to extend a helping hand.
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