Volume LIXAugust 2012Number 3

Random Acts of Kindness & Community Service

Random acts of kindness and community service opportunities often "find" you when you least expect it. It may be a favor for a friend or stranger, a challenge to think fast in an emergency or an anonymous gesture to help people in need. Freemasons' random acts of kindness and lodge community service initiatives are reaching individuals, families and neighborhoods worldwide. In the name of the fraternity, members are opening their hearts to help make the world a better place.

Visit http://www.pagrandlodge.org/rak/index.html to enter your lodge community service initiatives and random acts of kindness on the registry or for inspiration on how you can make a difference.

Leaving a Good Tip

Bro. Tom Stewart, Argyle Lodge No. 540, Chicora, was eating breakfast at a local restaurant with his wife when, while waiting in line to pay, he heard an elderly man tell the cashier he forgot his wallet and only had two dollars. Bro. Stewart told the man he would take care of his bill and not to worry about it.

"The cashier thanked me and told me not many people would do that," he said. "I told her I was a Mason and that's what we do."

Answering a Call for Help

At 4:30 one morning in March, Bro. Pierce Wagner, Lehighton Lodge No. 621, received a phone call from his neighbor, an 82-year-old widow. There was a stray dog at her home that just bit her on the hand. It had a collar, but no tags.

Bro. Wagner and his wife both put on heavy coats and heavy welders gloves and went to help her. They were able to catch the dog and got a lead on the collar. They took their neighbor to the hospital, where she received eight stitches on her thumb. Later, they turned the dog over to Animal Control for evaluation.

"Maybe this is not so random, but I'm glad she thought of me when she needed help," Bro. Wagner said. "I was only happy to help."

Joining Lodge Forces

For the second year, North Star Lodge No. 241, Warren, joined with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Warren Lodge #339 to host a community Easter egg hunt on April 7. More than 300 people attended the event.

Left-right: Bros. Rusty L. Barr, W.M.; Ryan D. Knopf, Jr. Deacon (Easter Bunny); Karl L. Wiler; Sr. Deacon and Chairman of the event; C. Donald Nelson, P.D.D.G.M.; Paul O. Walker, P.D.D.G.M.; and Michael R. Keister, P.M.
Honoring Local Students

Since 1999, Mount Zion Lodge No. 774, McConnellsburg, has been sponsoring a banquet for National Honor Society members from three local school districts. Thirty-two students and school advisors from Central Fulton School District, Forbes Road School District and Southern Fulton School District attended the most recent banquet with more than 70 family members.

The lodge provided entertainment and the McConnellsburg Volunteer Fire Company Auxiliary ladies cooked food for the event, which also included an invocation, introductions of the students and a benediction. Lodge members thanked the students for their hard work and dedication.

Back row, left-right: Bro. Roger Strait, W.M.; Bro. Mike Crampton; Bro. John Daniels, J.W.; Jessica Vollbrecht, Honor Society Advisor; and Denny Richards, Chaplain. Front row, left-right: Tristan Gelvin; Olivia Mills, Secretary; and Kyle Schoen.
Photo Credit: Jean Snyder/Fulton County News
Helping Protect Local Children

Mount Moriah Lodge No. 300, Huntingdon, in cooperation with the Huntingdon Borough Police Department, held a CHIP event on April 28. The event was held in conjunction with Huntingdon Borough's "May Fest" celebration, a street festival with entertainment, food and vendors. Washington Street in downtown Huntingdon was closed from traffic for this day-long event.

Parents and children were invited into the Borough Municipal Building for finger printing and photographing beginning at 9 a.m. Members had to stop just after 4 p.m. when they ran out of supplies. Fifteen volunteers helped to "CHIP" 203 children - a great turnout for the lodge's first-time effort.

CHIP photography crew: back row, left-right: Ralph Shultz, P.M., and his lady, Deb Shultz, and front row, left-right: Bros. David Wessels; Jobe Glenny, J.M.C.; and Mike Kemp, Pursuivant.
A Homerun for Charity

On March 6, Bros. Brian T. Wilding, W.M., and Robert L. Eckbreth, P.M., Secretary, both of Lodge No. 45, Pittsburgh, traveled to Eisenhower Elementary School to present a check to former Major League Baseball player Sean Casey, of Casey's Clubhouse, a charitable foundation. The lodge was honored to have Chloe Kondrich hand over the check for this noble project. Chloe is the daughter of Kurt Kondrich, a friend of Bro. Eckbreth, who presented the idea to the lodge's Charity Committee, which decided Casey's Clubhouse was a worthwhile charity to support.

Casey's Clubhouse recently completed a ball field to accommodate kids with special needs. Miracle League Field is located at the Upper St. Clair Community & Recreation Center in Boyce-Mayview Park. It is available to all Pittsburgh Pirates Charities Miracle League Players, "dedicated to giving children with special needs the opportunity to hit, throw and take the field just like their peers."

Left-right: Bro. Robert L. Eckbreth, Secretary, P.M.; Chloe Kondrich; Sean Casey; and Bro. Brian T. Wilding, W.M.
Concerts for a Cause

Valley Lodge No. 797, Valley View, held its second annual benefit concert at Tri-Valley Jr./Sr. High School in Hegins on March 3. Approximately 800 people attended the two shows, with proceeds going toward various charities including the local public library and food closets and to purchase textbooks for second graders. The final amount raised is estimated to be more than $10,000.

The concerts featured The Bretts from Dick Clark's American Bandstand Theater in Branson, Mo. They performed "a range of classics from the ages, as well as a bit of comedy, and a patriotic, veterans' tribute," according to "The Citizen-Standard."

"One of our members visits Branson once a year and talks with the musicians to find ones suitable for our area," Bro. Don Bixler, W.M., said. "It was a risk the first time through, but it has been very successful."

The lodge already has scheduled a group from Branson, Mo., for March 2013.

Left-right: Bro. Don E. Bixler, W.M.; Andrea Brett; Tom Brett; Bro. Leon P. Maurer, Jr., Valley Lodge No. 797; and Brydon Brett.
Photo Credit: Vicki Terwilliger/The Citizen-Standard
Home Sweet Home

Homes for Our Troops is a national non-profit which assists severely injured veterans by coordinating the process of building, at no cost to the families, a home that provides maximum freedom of movement and the ability to live more independently.

To support Army SSG Earl Granville, a local veteran who soon will be receiving a new home, Masonic Motorcycle Club Chapter 38 arranged for a sign to designate the home's location and ask for volunteers to help build the house. Club members provided the materials for the frame, the labor to build it and installed the sign, which was donated by Fast Signs. Bros. Todd Whitmyer, Lewisburg Lodge No. 144, and Andy Kline, Watsontown Lodge No. 401 and Mifflinburg Lodge No. 370, drove from Williamsport to Carbondale on June 8 to deliver and install the sign. Masonic Motorcycle Club Chapter 38 also participated in a ride/fundraiser on July 29 at Horsepower Harley-Davidson sponsored by the Combat Vets in support of the project.

In June 2008, SSG Granville was on his third deployment in Zormat, Afghanistan. While returning to the Forward Operating Base after a mission, a roadside bomb exploded, throwing him from the vehicle and killing two of the other passengers. Landing unconscious in a ditch, SSG Granville awoke to find the team medic working to stabilize him for Medevac transport to a Combat Support Hospital. Later transferred to Bagram for surgery, SSG Granville was eventually sent to Landstuhl, Germany, where his left leg was amputated. Arriving at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, he spent nearly two months in the hospital before being released for therapies and treatments. Another surgery was performed on his right foot 18 months after his initial injuries, requiring additional time spent at Walter Reed. He continues to receive treatment.

SSG Granville enjoys spending time with his young daughter, Alexandria. He is a member of the USA Warriors Sled Hockey Team and enjoys participating in many adaptive sports. A business student at Lackawanna College, he is looking forward to living in a specially-adapted home that will help him focus on his recovery and his future.

Bros. Todd Whitmyer and Andy Kline display the sign that was donated by Fast Signs and built and installed by brethren to encourage help for building a home for an injured veteran.
Teaming Up to Feed the Community

Members of Tri-County Masonic Lodge No. 252, Donora, teamed up with the Salvation Army in Monessen, Pa., the Westmoreland County Housing Authority and Order of the Eastern Star members to host a free dinner for the community. On March 3, they served 30 guests and prepared 90 dinners for takeout and delivery. Ed Sedlar, pianist; and Billy Evans, guitarist, singer and song writer; volunteered their time and talents. The lodge also donated $250 to the Salvation Army.

"Given the success of the dinner, everyone seemed in favor of continuing the community dinner once per month," Bro. Denny Gutierrez, P.M., said. "It was a great feeling to see their faces light up when delivering the food on behalf of the Salvation Army and Tri-County Lodge."

Freemasons Fight Hunger Worldwide

Lodges from Districts 19 and 34 cooperated to support the Central PA World Hunger Association (CPWHA) in Belleville during their annual fund raising effort. Presenting a check to Brent King, treasurer, CPWHA, are, front row, left-right: Bros. Arthur Stanton, S.W., McVeytown Lodge No. 376; David E. Kleinfelter, J.W., Lewistown Lodge No. 203; Donald W. Weirich, W.M., Mt. Union Lodge No. 688; David W. Peterson, W.M., Union Lodge No. 324; and back row, left-right: John E. Snyder, P.M., Mt. Union Lodge; Shawn A. Vaughn, W.M., Cromwell Lodge No. 572; James A. Ardrey, W.M., Mt. Moriah Lodge No. 300; and Merrill L. Peterson, G.T.C., Juniata Valley Forest No. 88.

26.2 Miles for a Miracle

Bro. Brent Graybill, W.M., presents a check to Gail Fressetta, administrative support for the Children's Miracle Network at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital.

At the start of 2012, members of Riverside Lodge No. 503, Wrightsville, decided they wanted to reach out to the community to let them know who Masons are and show they care about the community.

Combining the desire of Bro. Brent Graybill, W.M., to run a marathon with their outreach goal, the lodge used his race as an opportunity to collect money for charity. Members selected the Children's Miracle Network as their charity initiative and collected donations to help with specialized bedding, heart monitors and ventilators for children.

From beginning to end, it took Bro. Graybill 18 weeks of difficult training and an accumulated 475 miles of running to prepare for his 26.2-mile race.

While he finished somewhere in the middle of the pack, it was an accomplishment not only for him, but for the lodge. His hard work and that of other lodge members culminated at the lodge's Ladies/Mothers' Night banquet when Bro. Graybill presented a check for $500 to a representative from the Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital on behalf of Riverside Lodge No. 503.

The lodge has other outreach events planned for the future, including a Valentine's Day breakfast, community car wash, blood drive, spring community clean up, help a friend, strawberry night, American Cancer Society walk, spaghetti dinner with DeMolay, food drive, toy drive and a lodge open house.

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