Sunday, October 31, 2010

MWB AlynDull - Past Grand Master & Mentor

Last Wednesday, October 27th, MWB Alyn Dull and his wife Annie left for their winter home in Pharr, Texas. Their nephew drives them down to Texas and then he flies home for the winter and makes his return trip in March to drive them back to Minnesota. I spoke with both Annie and Alyn this morning and they stated the trip went well and it took them three days to get to their destination. Annie told me it was 85 degrees and sunny yesterday. Alyn said they found their home to be in good shape and everything worked well when they turned it on (including the refrigerator, furnace, and air conditioner). I don't think we will have to worry about turning our air conditioner on here in Minnesota again until spring.

Before Alyn and Annie left for Texas, a group of us gathered for lunch at the Mexican Village to wish them well and a safe and healthy winter. The group included MWB Roger Taylor and his wife Nancy Fischer; MWB Alyn and his wife Annie, WB Bob Darling and his wife Kathy. Unfortunately, WB Doug Caskey and his wife Mary were not able to make it.

I have considered MWB Alyn a mentor to me as long as I can remember. I became active with Mn Masonry after moving here in 1990. MWB Alyn has always given me good and timely council when I need it, even if I was not aware that he was mentoring me. He always wants to see the person be the best they can be and he is willing to help them succeed, no matter what time and effort is required. I am very fortunate to have Alyn be one of my mentors. I have also been fortunate to have other Past Grand Masters mentor me also, which include MWB Roger Taylor, MWB Thomas McCarthy, and MWB Edward Waldon. These PGM's and brothers have always been there to give words of encouragement as well as guidance when needed. They have also mentored several other brothers while mentoring myself.

I know MWB Alyn has maintained email contact with one of our brothers that was raised at North Star #23, but since has relocated due to his occupational requirements. Our brother has dedicated his life not only to masonry, but also to the service of our country. That Brother is Brother Jason Voss. Brother Voss is getting ready to head back overseas for his (fourth?) tour of duty. One of his latest emails he thanked MWB for his continued communication with him.

I know anyone would be a great success if only they could be half as good as our Past Grand Master Alyn Dull. My hat is off to you my brother, and I say thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have done for Kathy and myself, and for all you have done for masonry.

The top picture is (l to r) MWB Alyn Dull and MWB Roger Taylor.
The bottom picture is (l to r) Annie and MWB Alyn.

Friday, October 29, 2010

In Memory of MWB Russell E. Torfin

This post is done in the honor of MWB Russell Edward Torfin, Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota Masons in 1972.

MWB Russell was born September 17, 1924in Gleenwood, MN and died October 23, 2010 in Gleenwood, MN. Russell graduated from Villard High School in 1942 and enlisted in the Navy during WWII. He married his high school sweetheart Ruth Streich.After the war was over he attend college at St. Cloud State University and graduated with a degree in teaching. He took his first teaching position at Paynesville, MN. He went from Paynsville to Cyrus for two years as a teacher /principal.In 1953-1958 he and his family lived in Gleenwood where he owned and operated a wholesale meat businees for Schweigert.

During his time in Gleenwood, Russ was a charter member of the Gleenwood Jaycees, VFW, and served as Mayor. In 1958 he purchased Gordon's Resort form Charlie Gordon, which allowed him to return to his boyhood home on Lake Amelia. For the next 16 years Russ and Ruth operated the resort as Torfin's Resort. During these years he also taught in the Villard School District. In 1974 Russ retired from teaching and he and Ruth sold the resort and moved to their present home. For the next 30 years Russ and Ruth traveled to their second home in Mission, Texas where they spent their winters enjoying golfing, dancing,the beaches, and meeting new friends.

MWB Russ took all of his degrees at the old Sincerity Lodge #161 in Villard, MN; Entered Apprentice Degree 3-5-1946; Fellowcraft Degree 3-19-1946; Master Mason Degree 3-30-1946. He served as the Worshipful Master for Sincerity Lodge #161 in 1959. He was appointed to the Grand Lodge Progressive Line on March 22, 1962 by then Grand Master Harvard B. Olson and was elected Grand Master on Masons in Minnesota on April 21, 1972, serving that office for the 1972 - 1973 term.His appointee to the Grand Lodge Line was MWB John P. Peterson, Grand Master of Masons in Minnesota for the 1981 - 1982 term. MWB Vern Long, Grand Master in 1973 conducted the Masonic Services for MWB Russ on Octorber 28, 2010 at the Hoplin-Hitchcook Mortuary. It was a very well attend by brother of Valley Lodge #174 in Gleenwood and other brothers and Grand Lodges Officers from around the state.

3rd Degree at Fraternal Lodge #92 in Princeton, MN

A 3rd Degree was held on Wednesday, October 27th at Fraternal Lodge #92 in Princeton. I was given the honor to raise Brother Lee Craig was to the sublime degree of a Master Mason. I have had the privilege to work with Lee in our St. Cloud Office for the past 2 years.

Brothers from three (3) different Grand Lodge Areas and eight (8) lodge help with taking parts in both sections of the degree to make it a memorable evening for Lee. In his words the next day, he stated that would be an evening he won't forget and thought everyone did a fantastic job with their parts.

MWB Roger Taylor sat in the east for both sections of the degree. The three areas that were involved with the work were as follows: Metroeast, Metrowest, and the Northwest Area. The lodges that were represented are as follows: Fraternal Lodge #92, Princeton; Helios Lodge #273, Cambridge; Anoka Lodge #30, Anoka; Northeast Lodge #345, Anoka; Tusler-Summit Lodge #263, Roseville; Minnehaha Lodge #165, Minneapolis; Monticello Lodge #16, Monticello; and North Star Lodge #23, St. Cloud.

Brothers in the photo: 1st row (l to R) WB Mark Galloway, DR #8 & #263; WB Duane Evermann, #16 & #23; Brother Lee Craig, #92; WB Keith Kennedy, #23; WB John Puffer, #92 & #30. 2nd Row: WB Greg Volkovan, #30, WB Foster Solem, GL Custodian & #165; Tracy Newman, #16; WB Brian Sjoberg, Master of #92,; Bruce Compton, #273; Shane Compton, #273; WB Warren Sjoberg, #92. Back Row: WB Dayton Berg, Metroeast Area Deputy & #345; WB Donald Nolley, DR #41 & #30; MWB Roger Taylor, PGM, #92, & #23; WB Neil Laitala, #92; WB Larry Reed, #92; and WB Ernie Trebesch, #92.
Not Pictures was Brother John Gardner, #92 and WB Bob Darling.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Golden Fleece Lodge #89 Pancake Breakfast

I attended the Golden Fleece Lodge #89 Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser that was held at the Litchfield Civic Arena this morning(10-24-10). Breakfast consisting of pancakes and sausage tasted great. They started serving at 7:30 am. It was a great facility to hold their fund raiser as it was one level and senior would not have to worry about climbing stairs.

The bottom picture includes the following (left to right) Jake Holly and his wife, and WB Bob Holly holding his youngest grand son.

WB Ed Wern Receives Hiram at Monticello

Last night (October 23, 2010), I attended a Hiram Award dinner for WB Ed Wern presented by Monticello Lodge #16,located in Monticello, MN. WB Ed served as the Master of Monticello Lodge in 1996 and 1997. In 1998 when I stared serving as a District Representative, Monticello was one of the lodges in my District. Wb Ed was always there in attendance and helped keeping the lodge going when times were lean. He was one of Past Masters along with WB Dan Bloomgren and WB Butch Aschnewitz who devoted alot of time and effort to keep the lodge going and alive.

For the past several years, WB Ed has served as the lodge secretary,participated in degree work not only in his home lodge, but has help do courtesy work with other lodges in the area. WD ED has also been active with the Monticello Schools in serving as an officer and coach for a teams involved in projects called Education Destination. Some of the teams WB Ed coached has won State Championships and has finished as high as 6th place in Nationals.

Congratulations to WB ED Wern on his Hiram Award. This award is the highest award that can be given by a lodge to one of its members. It is a life time achievement award. WB ED was well deserving of the award.
The top picture is Ed with his wife and two sons. The bottom picture is WB Chris Zamolsky, Master of Monticello Lodge #16 presenting the Hiram Award to WB Ed Wern.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Planning Session for Project New Hope

On October 16, 2010, a Planning Session pertaining to Project New Hope was held at Aurora Lodge #100 located in Brainerd, MN.

Mike Steinberg , President of M.J. Steinberg Associates conducted the the Planning Session for Board Members of Project New Hope sponsored by the Lion's Club. Project New Hope was founded by caring individuals who understand that for a combat veteran, and their family, wartime doesn't end the day the soldier comes home. The Mission Statement for Project New Hope is, "To Provide Veterans and their families the education, training, and skills necessary to manage their lives after wartime service."
Project New Hope offers and host weekend retreats for the entire family. There is no charge associated with Project New Hope, financial concerns will never prevent them from offering their services to soldiers and their families.
Through the Grand Lodge of Minnesota Masons, the cost of the planning session was covered by funds from Masonic Charities and the Ladd Fund.

The Grand Lodge of MN Masons was represented by MWB Thomas McCarthy,PGM; MWB Andy Rice,PGM; WB John Studell, JGS; WB Steve Johnson, past Grand Marshall (2009) and Secretary of Aurora Lodge #100; and myself.

A special Thank You to WB Steve Johnson and Aurora Lodge #100 for hosting the event.

It was a true pleasure and honor that I could be their as representative of the Grand Lodge. It is a great program that the Lions are under taking. You can find out more information on Project New Hope at:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Grand Master John L. Cook visits North Star Lodge #23

Last night(October 11th), MWB John L. Cook, Grand Master of MN Masons visited North Star Lodge #23. The Brothers did a great job with the reception of the Grand Master and his officiers. During the meeting MWB John Cook gave the tip of his hat to the stewards for the exceptional job they did with preparing and serving the meal. He also spoke on the importance of the MN KIds ID Program with Take 25 and using it to get involved in your community. He than addressed membership and mentoring. During his discussion on mentoring, he spoke about the importance of mentoring not only new brothers, but also mentoring and assisting current officers.

Thank you MWB John for visiting North Star #23 last night.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

2010 Illinois Grand Lodge

I had a great time at the 2010 Illinois Grand Lodge of Masons Annual Communication held in Springfield, IL. The Grand Master's Banquet was held Thursday night at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. Brother Delbert Yarnell represented President Abraham Lincoln. We also attended two shows and were able to walk through the entire exhibit. WOW was that fantastic.

During the Opening session visiting dignitaries and special guest were introduced. After the opening session, they closed the session and conducted business similar to the same manner we do in MN. The had a demonstration with three brothers preforming a rod drill. This was very impressive.

I met Grand Masters, Past Grand Masters, and other Grand Lodge officers from many states (Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Arizona, Alabama, and Wisconsin to name a few), and a delegation from Italy and one Brother from France.
During the lunch on Friday, I had the honor to sit by MWB Neil E. Neddermeyer who was attending the Grand Lodge to give a talk on Masonic Research. I enjoyed our visit during the lunch hour.

I have included a few photos from Grand Lodge Communications. I have added the complete set of photos on my facebook page (Bob Darling).

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Meeting a Brother by mistake!

I had the opportunity to me a brother last night thanks to a mistake by the US Post Office. When I arrived home from being out of town all last weekend I noticed the mail on the kitchen island. In it was the new addition of the MN Mason. Not only did I have my copy, but I had received a copy for another brother who lived in Becker. I didn't recognize his name, and no it was not Duane Evermann. He is the only other brother I thought that lived in Becker.

Instead of sticking the MN Mason back in the mail box, I got on the Internet and look up his telephone number and gave him a call. I asked if I could bring his MN Mason over to him. After a little conversation he agreed to have me bring it over to him. I told him I would be over in about 5 minutes. I had a warm reception and was invited in for a visit. I met his wife and granddaughter. We had a great visit and found out that he was a 50 year member from Sharon Lodge in Wilmar, MN.

Before I left, I had made arrangement to pick him up tonight and take him to lodge in Monticello with me. Next week I have a feeling I will be having another rider to attend North Star. Now I have two traveling brothers to attend lodges with me. All I need is for the post office to make another mistake in my favor.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

2010 Shriners International Development Conference

I arrived home last night after spending the last three days in Tampa, FL at the 2010 Shriners International Membership Seminar. I represented the Grand Lodge of MN. The seminar was filled with great presentations and speakers. Some of the topics included Recruitment, Masonic Relations, Retention, Mentoring, Communication, and Technology.

They held special sessions presenting two new websites that are approximately one year old. The first one was called, "" It focuses on attracting new prospective Shrine members. It contains several fantastic tools built into the system such as, virtual mentors, e-mails to top individuals, follow contacts, and tracking of the status of the individual throughout their progress to becoming a Shriner. Since it first was rolled out on October 1, 2009, it has had 1280 candidates sign up, with 26 in the month of September, 2010. Sixty percent were below the age of 40 years old and 40% were already masons. They have had 1224 Nobles sign up as virtual mentors. The Shrine International is doing national advertising in USA Today, NSCAR, and other areas.

The other new web program is call "Shriners Village" and is designed for the current Shriner. You have to log onto the system with your name and your membership number. It has several great tools such as: current breaking news, membership benefits, power point presentations, calendar of events, etc.

They had one whole presentation on Mentoring. Taking mentoring to the next level and why it is so important. They discussed having the right attitude is critical to make any program work and become successful. They also discussed that temple should partner up with 5-6 lodge and work on membership and memtoring together for membership retention.

I felt this seminar was very beneficial containing great ideas and I had a lot of fun visiting with other nobles and brothers from different juristrictions.

Pictured above are as follow:

Top picture (left to right) Zuhrah Shriners Divan Representatives: Adrian Skytland and Ross Hjermstad.

Bottom picture (left to right) Osman Shriners Divan Representatives: Richard Purcell and Roger Berge.