It was 22 years ago today that I knelt at the altar at Maroa Lodge #454 and took my obligation of a Master Mason. The journey that I took I will remember for the rest of my life, I was raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason. As I reflect back on that day, I remember my brothers who were there to share in that experience. Some of those brothers traveled over a 100 miles to be there for that event in my life. That really impressed me very much and it meant a lot to me. Some of the brother who were there were as follows: Larry Austin,my father-in-law; J.T. Liming, Grandfather; Robert Austin,Uncle; Garrell Leslie, a very dear friend and my childhood barber; Jerry Ray, supervisor, Merrell Goodrich, employee, and many brothers from Maroa and surrounding lodges. Some of these brothers have traveled to that house in heaven not made with hands.
I have heard many brothers say that you always get more out of Masonry than you put into it! It is very true, I have have been very blessed in my years as a Mason. Many brothers have become close friends and very dear to me. Some of them have even become more like family and even like a father to me. Both of my parents are deceased and this bond we have shared can not be broken. I have also been blessed with some brothers who have become mentors to me and I look up to them for guidance.
When I have been in need, my brothers near and far have come to my aid to help me and my family. Just knowing they were there and willing to help made those times easier to get through and I will cherish those memories for ever. They were there when I lost my father, my brother was in the hospital for over a month in Nashville, I lost my job, and when I was in the hospital after my tree stand broke, and most recently my hip replacement.
I hope and pray to continue to give to Masonry and lead by example and become a true brother to other brothers and their families. When you extend your hand out in Brotherly Love you will experience great joys that are hard to put into words, but it is one of the best experiences in life.
Thank you to all of my brothers near and far who have helped me gain more light in Masonry and experience the joys of my life. I pray that I can help others just as you helped me.