|Volume LIII||November 2006||Number 4|
Brothers Across Borders
A hospital is an uncomfortable, unfamiliar place for a person to find himself. For Bro. Patrick Jones of Oriental-Evergreen Lodge No. 114 in Connecticut, the feelings were exacerbated by being in Pennsylvania, far from the comforts of home.
As a Mason, though, Bro. Jones' closest brother was only a phone call away. His hospital stay in Pennsylvania soon became another example of Masons Helping Masons. Bro. Jones and his wife, Linda, were vacationing in Pennsylvania in May. They had spent a day touring the Amish country and were headed for Gettysburg and Philadelphia.
It started with stomach pains. The Jones' were soon at Lancaster General Hospital, where Bro. Patrick stayed for three weeks until he was transported to a hospital in Connecticut. He was diagnosed with appendicitis and needed surgery.
In Connecticut, Bro. Bill Fraize, Worshipful Master of Lodge No. 114, heard of the Jones' situation and called the Grand Lodge of Connecticut, who put him in touch with the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. Marie Wambold, Senior Administrative Assistant, contacted the District Deputy Grand Master of the 1st Masonic District, Bob Conway, and followed up with the Grand Lodge of Connecticut. Bro. Conway contacted Bro. LaVerne Gibble, P.M., Secretary of Lodge No. 43 in Lancaster, who in turn contacted Bro. George Vernau Jr., P.M., also of Lodge No. 43, asking him to check in with the Joneses and see if they needed assistance.
Bro. Vernau visited Bro. Jones and spoke with him on his condition, their lodges and what Masonry means to each of them. Linda was staying in a local hotel, and Bro. Vernau made sure she had his phone number.
"I'd hope for visitors if I were in his situation," Bro. Vernau said. "You expect it from your brothers if you're in need."
Bro. Conway and his wife, Roberta, made two visits to Bro. Jones and his wife to make sure they were okay and Linda had a place to stay.
"I enjoyed visiting with him," he said. "I'm sure if anything ever happens to me, I would want someone to make sure I was taken care of."
"Unless you're in that circumstance, you can't imagine how uplifting it can be to have people come and visit. They took the time to help with practical things," Bro. Jones said. "In the hospital, days can be very long."
Bro. Jones is feeling great now, appreciating basic things like eating and drinking. He returned to work in July.
"Being on vacation, I was very encouraged by my experience," he said. "The Masons are a very good group, and I'm proud to be a part of them."
The Joneses hope to return to Pennsylvania and finish their vacation, despite their previous tribulation.
"We're thankful for the brothers and their wives who were able to stop down and take care of his wife's needs. It lessened the impact on her," Bro. Fraize said. "It's warming to know you can go anywhere and be welcome by fellow brothers."
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