|Volume LVI||MAY/JUNE 2009||Number 2|
CALLING CARDS PRESENTED TO OUR COUNTRY'S
BRAVEST FOR THEIR SERVICE & SACRIFICE
On March 17, Rodney E. Boyce, District Deputy Grand Master of the 30th Masonic District, on behalf of R.W. Grand Master Stephen Gardner, presented calling cards to 14th Quartermaster Company, 1st Platoon, at their departure ceremony in Greensburg, Pa. Twenty service men and women departed for a one-year deployment to northern Iraq. The company operates and maintains reverse-osmosis water units to provide drinking water for troops.
Many may remember the 14th Quartermaster as the unit whose barracks were struck by an Iraqi Scud missile in 1991, killing 29 soldiers and wounding 99, just days after their arrival. Thirteen of the dead and 43 of the injured were from the 14th. The unit never had an opportunity to accomplish its mission because 80 percent of the unit was killed or wounded.
Many community leaders and military personnel were on hand to address the departing soldiers. During his remarks, Bro. Boyce praised and thanked the soldiers and family members of the unit: "To be in the presence of you who are sacrificing so much, either by placing yourselves in harm's way, or by keeping your homes and families together while a loved one is serving, is a true reminder that freedom is not free." He described the "Change for the Troops" program and the staggering pace of support the 116,000 Masons across Pennsylvania have generously given.
Bro. Boyce was accompanied by Brothers Scott B. Mason, W.M., Philanthropy Lodge No. 225, and Robert S. Metcalfe, W.M., Westmoreland Lodge No. 518, both of Greensburg. The lodges were made aware of this deployment at a March 9 lodge meeting and immediately contacted Grand Lodge to make certain calling cards could be secured for this deploying unit. Thanks to the support and help of Bro. and Col. Harris Brooks, calling cards arrived in time for the presentation.
In closing, Bro. Boyce stated: "We are incredibly proud of your dedication. We thank you all for the service and sacrifice you are making to assure that our flag will continue to wave. And I ask God, who is the defender of all that is good and the Great Architect of the Universe, to preserve you from all peril and bless the country we all love."
The highlight was presenting the cards and speaking with the servicemen and women about to deploy. All Masons in Pennsylvania should be incredibly proud of the difference our Grand Master's "Change for the Troops" program has made in the lives of those who are sacrificing so much.
On May 11, Dorothy Fenyacko-Carbisiero, Unit Administrator, 14th Quartermaster Company, contacted Bro. and Col. Brooks to let him know that the soldiers had been delayed in Kuwait on their way to the theater in Iraq and had used up their calling cards ensuring their families that they were safe. The Grand Lodge immediately sent out an additional 100 cards, some for the soliders to use in the interim and some to be issued once they arrive in the theater.
The troops and their families wish to pass along their sincere gratitude and appreciation to all Pennsylvania Masons.
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