ftf12I'll never forget my Masonic degrees and the power of that experience. That memory strengthens me to endure life's challenges. The values of Freemasonry... opened my heart to brotherhood and service to others.

Somewhere I saw a quotation: "Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life; the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind." The power of those words gave me my mission statement for life. From childhood through college, I had a passion to write and to teach children with special needs. For three decades, I dedicated my life to children and families with special needs, serving as a teacher, counselor, psychologist, and an administrator of pupil personnel services. Therein Freemasonry touched my life.

I became the Regional Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Department of Education's Student Assistance Training. On my first day at the Masonic Conference Center in Elizabethtown, as I faced the first week of training for more than 150 educators, I had an epiphany. In a light rain outside the Carpenter Chapel, I asked myself, "Why am I here?" At that moment, the Chapel's lights came on behind a beautiful stained glass window and the Chapel's bells played "Amazing Grace." I knew that God would guide and strengthen me in my work. He did.

There were many weeks of training at Elizabethtown and more throughout the Commonwealth. The Masons, through their Pennsylvania Masonic Foundation for Children, provided much of the funding. Without the support of the Masons our work could not have been accomplished.

One day, I asked a lifelong friend how to become a Mason. He said that he had waited a long time for me to ask. As a Mason in Sunset Lodge, I served as Secretary for seven years and then wanted to "go through the chairs." I was asked to serve as the Master for the 100th Anniversary - an honor I quickly accepted.

Every Mason should reap the benefits of brotherhood that are available to him. The Fraternity has given me so much: brotherly love and fellowship, knowledge that I treasure, and the ability to relieve the suffering of others. Our responsibility as Masons extends beyond the Fraternity to the community and I am proud to say that I am a Mason. Freemasonry does make good men better men.

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May 2001 / February 2001