Volume LVIIAugust 2010Number 3

Help for Our Heroes

Your generous donations to the Help for Our Heroes program continue to provide meaningful communications and needed supplies to our troops bravely serving our country.

Each month, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania provides McGuire Air Force Base 150 pre-paid calling cards for troops deploying through the base, and recently gave an additional 250 cards to airmen deploying from McGuire Air Force Base to Afghanistan. Cards are also regularly transported to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany for troops injured while serving overseas. Grand Lodge also supports the Pennsylvania Air National Guard Unit out of Harrisburg with cards as requested for their continued deployments.

As a way of showing appreciation for the Pennsylvania Freemasons' support, McGuire Air Force Base asked Bro. and Col. Harris Brooks (Ret.), Brotherhood Lodge No. 126, Philadelphia, how they could show their appreciation to the Grand Lodge. With the Adopt-a-Resident initiative in mind, Bro. Brooks arranged, on behalf of the Grand Lodge, for members of Brotherhood Lodge No. 126 to take Masons who are veterans living at the Masonic Village at Lafayette Hill on a tour of the base and its weapons systems.

On June 16, the men, many of whom are veterans of WWII or the Korean War, and several Masons from Brotherhood Lodge No. 126 met at McGuire Air Force Base. While on board the C17 aircraft, the residents watched as Staff Sgt. Richard Slifer, Jr., presented a petition to become a Mason to Bro. Brooks (pictured at right). After touring the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia, Staff Sgt. Slifer's experience, combined with his interaction with Masons at the base, inspired his interest in membership. He will become a Master Mason during the One-Day Masonic Journey prior to his scheduled deployment. Col. John Spare (pictured above, second from left) also recently presented a petition to join the fraternity.

Masonic Village resident and Bro. Benjamin Levinson was surprised and honored to discover that his grandson-in-law, Major and Bro. Daniel Fehl, Brotherhood Lodge No. 126, was the C17's pilot that day. Next, the group proceeded to the KC-10 tanker for a tour.

"[The residents] asked great questions," Bro. Brooks said. "It was like they never left the service."

Following lunch at the officers club, the men visited the military dog training area where they met the canines trained to attack, sniff out bombs and identify drugs.

The military at McGuire truly rolled out the red carpet for the Masonic veterans. "It was a great day," Bro. Brooks said, noting that the young airmen who accompanied the residents during the visit seemed as excited to hear the residents' stories as the veterans were to meet the airmen.

Also as part of the Help for Our Heroes program, the Grand Lodge will participate with an organization to collect and send Christmas stockings to Marines and sailors in Fallujah. These are not just your run-of-the-mill Christmas stockings, however: they contain necessary items such as inserts for their boots, cleaning cloths for their weapons, lights for their helmets and other items they can't get easily though federal supply systems. Through Help for Our Heroes, the Grand Lodge is also working with leadership at the Veterans' hospital in Philadelphia to support programs for our local wounded veterans.

Please, keep those donations coming...
Our heroes need your help!

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