Volume LIXMay 2012Number 2

Patriots Class Held in Reading

New DeMolay members pose with State Master Councilor Matthew Blaisdell, Honored Patriot Russell Baker and Commander-in-Chief Herbert Swisher of the Valley of Reading, A.A.S.R.

On Feb. 11, Pennsylvania DeMolay held the annual Patriots Class at the Scottish Rite Cathedral in Reading. This class, sponsored by the Valley of Reading, A.A.S.R., for the past five years, has traditionally honored Patriots from the past, including Bros. George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. This year, Pennsylvania DeMolay chose to honor a living patriot, Bro. Russell W. Baker, 33º and Scottish Rite Deputy for Pennsylvania, who has an outstanding record of service to his country, to Freemasonry and to the Order of DeMolay.

Bro. Baker, Assistant Grand Marshal for the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years and has lived a life that is demonstrative of the DeMolay Precept of Patriotism, which encourages "patriotism of peace as well as heroism of war." His service to DeMolay includes support of statewide inductions with make-up and costuming assistance, participation in Legion of Honor Conferrals, service as Dean of the William J. McCulley Legion of Honor Preceptory, portraying Benjamin Franklin at the 2007 Patriots Class and continued support of various DeMolay activities and programs.

The induction ceremonies for the day were organized by the Pennsylvania DeMolay State Officers, with State Scribe Alexander Temple serving as event chairman. The class included new members from seven different DeMolay Chapters in Pennsylvania and three new members from Newport Chapter that meets in Delaware.

Following the presentation of patents of membership to the members in the class, State Master Councilor Matthew Blaisdell presented Bro. Baker with a copy of the Patriot's Edition of the 1599 Geneva Bible that was signed by the new members and all of the DeMolays participating in the program. The Bible, a copy of the one that was brought to the U.S. Colonies on the Mayflower, includes copies of important historical documents from the "Magna Carta" and the "Mayflower Compact" to the "Declaration of Independence" and the "Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior."

Also attending the ceremonies for the day were Bro. Herbert Swisher, Commander-in-Chief of the Valley of Reading; Bro. Raymond Gottschall, III, and Bro. James Ray, Deputy Executive Officers for Pennsylvania DeMolay; and a number of officers of the Valley of Reading and of the Pennsylvania DeMolay leadership team.

State Master Councilor Matthew Blaisdell and Honored Patriot Russell Baker present a patent of membership to Alexander Pittaro of Chester Pike Chapter, Order of DeMolay, that meets in Prospect Park.

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