Volume LVIOctober 2009Number 3

Thousand Mile Challenge Benefits Masonic Children's Home

At 4:30 a.m. on Labor Day, Bro. Stephen G. Tondora, S.W., Cambria Lodge No. 278, Johnstown, set out on a "Thousand Mile Challenge," the name he dubbed for his charitable motorcycle ride to raise funds for the Masonic Children's Home.

Bro. Tondora, age 47, completed the challenge in 19 hours, pausing only for gas and water breaks. A few weeks later, on Sept. 18, he visited the Masonic Children's Home to meet the youth who would benefit from his effort.

Bro. Tondora's lodge members backed him financially, and he took along with him a phone list of brethren who said they would help him if he ran into any trouble along the way. In the fall, he plans to challenge all Masons across the Commonwealth who enjoy riding to join him in riding the same route, within the same 24-hour time frame. "I want to show others that if I can do it, now you can do it," he said. He is in the process of refining the guidelines for the challenge, stressing that no illegal or unsafe practices will be condoned.

Desiring to mesh his love for long-distance motorcycle riding with, as he stated in his own words, "the need, particularly in the midst of modern-day culture, to bring up children with the kind of guidance, values and environment Masons can provide," Bro. Tondora organized the fund-raiser like a walkathon, asking supporters to sponsor him a certain amount per mile, or to pledge an outright donation. He did not have a specific goal for his first ride, but is pleased to have raised more than $1,000 on his first attempt. "I'd love to see in five years that 20-25 guys would each raise $1,000. Maybe it could catch on across the country and we can build an endowment fund," he said.

If you are interested in joining Bro. Tondora on the next "Thousand Mile Challenge," contact him via e-mail or (814) 244-7510.

Masonic Children's Home Treated to Fun in the Sun

Last holiday season, 65 members of Lodge No. 9, Philadelphia, arrived at the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown to have lunch with and give presents to the children of the Masonic Children's Home. The lodge also promised the youth a summer surprise.

True to their word, on Aug. 5, a bus arrived at the children's home to take all of the children and staff to Wildwood, N.J. The trip, sponsored by Lodge No. 9 through the generosity of Janney Montgomery Scott, LLC, a Philadelphia-based investment firm, covered all of the children's expenses for the day. Not only did the children enjoy the sand and surf, but they rode unlimited water slide and amusement rides. The children's meals were paid for, and everyone received special t-shirts to commemorate the day. Members of Lodge No. 9 and Janney Montgomery Scott, LLC, met the children in Wildwood, including Rick Santella, senior vice-president, and Wayne Campbell, first vice-president, who are pictured with the children below.

"This type of event provides lifetime memories for the youth," Ginny Migrala, director of children's services, said. "We are very grateful to Lodge No. 9 and Janney Montgomery Scott, LLC, for providing this trip for the children. Everyone had a great time!"

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