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Pennsylvania Freemasonry -- why is it so important today? Each of us will immediately have a different answer for this question. It might be the fellowship or the message shared in the degrees of the Blue Lodge, York Rite, Scottish Rite, Shrine, Eastern Star, or one of the other wonderful appendant bodies available to us as Pennsylvania Freemasons. It might be a family tradition of several generations belonging to the same lodge. It might be an experience from your life in the military. It might be one of the stories of how we helped a child overcome an injury or restriction to be the best person possible, or through education and instruction we helped keep a child safe or teach him or her how to be a leader.

The Pennsylvania Masonic family today has created four villages across the Commonwealth to serve Masons, wives, widows, mothers, sisters, daughters, their families and others in the community. Every day, at one of these communities, I see and hear all of the reasons shared above being demonstrated or discussed.

My personal favorite? I see and feel a true sense of family. Daily, individuals reach out and extend themselves many times for people who they did not know before moving to live at or being involved with one of the Masonic Villages. Pennsylvania Masonry has created a standard or founding principle for the Masonic Villages that striving for excellence is the only acceptable option. Do we excel every day in everything we do? Of course not, but with the help, encouragement, advice, guidance, support and leadership of residents, families, volunteers and employees, we try to learn from every action that falls short. This team approach, built on the principles of Pennsylvania Freemasonry, generates a strong sense of community -- a sense of family.

We receive numerous letters and messages from people sharing their appreciation and gratitude for the services we are able to provide through the benevolence of Freemasonry. Oftentimes they recognize specific staff persons, because they become family. The following is an excerpt of a recent note:

Dear Mr. Murphy,

We would be remiss if we did not express our appreciation to the staff and administration of the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown. Our father and husband, R. Arnold Fink, was admitted to Lafayette West on January 28, 2004. From the day we met with Jeanie Hummer in Admissions, we have witnessed nothing but the most kind professionalism exercised anywhere.

The staff of Lafayette West deserves whatever recognition is possible for their care and understanding of the residents. Nothing is too much trouble for them when it comes to the residents' well-being. They make sure that all the residents' needs are met. Rick Schies and his staff have kept us informed in all aspects and have gone the extra mile. The entire staff on all shifts have been "Angels of Mercy" to Arnold. He loves them and they love him; consequently his quality of life has indeed been improved.

Also, we wish to recognize Jennifer Kuntz. She, too, has gone the extra mile in helping us through the paperwork.

Thank you so much for providing our family member a quality life for his remaining years.

Sincerely,
Marilyn W. Fink and Joseph A. Fink

Why is Freemasonry so important today? Because it makes a difference in so many peoples' lives. Because Sharing the Light is not only what we do... it's who we are inside... and because there is nothing more important than family.

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