Volume LVIIIAugust 2011Number 3

Showing a Lifetime of Gratitude - One Month at a Time

The Masonic Charities now offers donors a more convenient way to give: automatic contributions withdrawn from their bank account or charged to their credit card monthly.

Important Benefits of the Masonic Charities Loyalty Club:
  • The monthly electronic transfer or credit card charge will cost you nothing.
  • Easier to fulfill charitable commitments.
  • Easier personal budgeting.
  • The payment appears on your account the day of the withdrawal, simplifying record keeping.
  • Allows you to contribute even when you're away from home.
  • You don't have to worry about your checks being lost or stolen.
  • Participation or donation amount may be changed at any time.

We will give you proof of your donations at the end of the year for tax purposes. Your monthly bank statement or credit card statement will provide you with a record of transfer as additional proof of your donations.

To join the Masonic Charities Loyalty Club, you may:

On the site, select "How You Can Help" and then choose "Online Gifts." Scroll 2/3 of the way down the page and click to download the "Masonic Charities Loyalty Club" form. Mail completed forms to:

Masonic Charities
Office of Gift Planning
One Masonic Drive
Elizabethtown, PA 17022

One donor who finds the program especially beneficial is Bro. Walter Balliet, Joseph H. Brown Lodge No. 751, Philadelphia, a long-time supporter of the Masonic Children's Home.

Among his contributions to the Masonic Children's Home are a named endowment and a child endowment (covers in perpetuity the annual cost of caring for a child). The Balliet Cottage provides a home for up to eight girls between the ages of 11 and 15.

In addition, he makes donations to take care of the children's home's everyday needs. After seeing the Masonic Charities Loyalty Club mentioned in a publication from Masonic Villages, Bro. Balliet signed up for the program. It will help him fulfill his desire to provide for the children's home on a regular basis.

The program makes giving "a lot easier," he said. "For a guy my age, writing a check is a pain in the neck. Keeping records is, as far as I'm concerned, a waste of time."

The Masonic Children's Home holds a special place in Bro. Balliet's heart. As a youth, he spent three years at the Thomas Ranken Patton Masonic Institution for Boys, located at the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown.

When he was 15, Bro. Balliet moved to the Patton School after his father, Walter, who was a Shriner and belonged to the Knights Templar, passed away from acute appendicitis. During the Depression, Walter and his mother and sister lost their home and ran out of money. Bro. Tommy Brunt, a Masonic friend of Bro. Balliet's father, negotiated his move to the Patton School, where he entered the machinist trade.

"It was a major impact on my life," he said. "They fed me, clothed me, took care of my medical conditions; they did everything for me."

After graduation, Bro. Balliet worked for Westinghouse Electric Company as a machinist for a short while and held several other jobs before settling in at Bridge Tool and Die Works as a tool and die maker for 32 years. Since his retirement at age 58, he has dedicated much of his life to a unique form of art known as ornamental turning. Using an ornamental lathe he built himself, he has created hundreds of beautiful and intricate wooden items and is known nationwide for designing tools and machinery. The Wood Turning Center in Philadelphia displayed part of his collection of 300 pieces through the end of July.

Invited to visit the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown during its centennial celebration in June 2010, Bro. Balliet returned to the campus for the first time since he left the Patton School in 1935. He met the girls living in "his" cottage and toured the campus.

The campus has grown a lot in the last 75 years, including the landscape. Bro. Balliet remembers being able to see the Grand Lodge Hall clearly from the Patton School, but now hundreds of trees hide the view. "I carried it with me my whole life, even though I never got back (until now)," he said, of his experience at the school.

Bro. Balliet's visit and a meeting with R.W. Grand Master Thomas Sturgeon inspired him to join the Masonic fraternity. On Oct. 30, 2010, at the age of 93, he was initiated as a Mason into Joseph H. Brown Lodge No. 751. In addition to his father being a Mason, Shriner and Knight Templar, Bro. Balliet's mother was active in the Order of the Eastern Star.

"I carry the fact that I was educated and cared for when I was a kid, and I thought I owed the Masons big time for their treatment," he said. "It was also a way to honor my father and mother."

The Masonic fraternity changed Bro. Balliet's life more than 75 years ago, and in return, he wishes to change the lives of today's youth at the Masonic Children's Home. The Masonic Charities Loyalty Club is helping to grant his wish, so he can focus on other important goals in his life.

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