This has been another busy week and I am looking forward to next Wednesday, when Beth and I fly to Kona, HI. We will be taking a two week break before attending the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Hawaii in Honolulu on April 17. We are also hoping that Mt. Redoubt (our errant volcano) behaves and our flight departs without incident.
On Monday and Tuesday of this past week (March 23 & 24) I traveled to Eagle River Lodge No. 13 and Aurora Lodge No. 15 respectively to witness the raising to two brothers to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason. A third Master Mason Degree was conferred at Anchorage Lodge No. 17 on Wednesday the 25th, however I stayed home and entertained our Senior Grand Warden, RW Ron Ackerman, who traveled from Skagway, AK to attend the Grand Master’s reception in Soldotna, AK.
On Thursday, March 26, Beth and I joined a caravan traveling to the Kenai Peninsula for the joint Grand Master’s reception with Seward Lodge No. 6 and Kenai Lodge No. 11. Those traveling with us included: VW James R. Herrington (DDGM District No. 5), W Frank G. Weiss, III (Grand Sword Bearer), W John K. Bishop (Grand Lecturer), RW Jerry Wasson (Grand Secretary), RW Jerry Pinion (JGW), RW Ron Ackerman (SGW), and RW Johnnie Wallace (DGM). Mt. Redoubt had erupted sometime before we left and we were anxious that we might encounter some ash fall on our three hour driving trip. The highway was a bit slushy and we did experience some “white-out” snow conditions as we entered Turnagain Pass, but we never saw any ash fall.
Squires of the Roundtable.
The skies were clear when we arrived in Soldotna and the temperature was warming. Our reception by the brethren of Seward and Kenai Lodges was warmer still. Prior to our program of speakers from Grand Lodge, we were delighted by a performance by the Kenai Squires of the Roundtable. The Squires is a program sponsored by DeMolay International for boys ages 9 to 11. It shares many qualities with DeMolay (which is for young men ages 12 – 21). It has a focus on fun, through activities, ceremony, and service. The Squires develops leadership skills in these young men through youth planned and led activities and meetings. The core values of the Squires of the Roundtable are respect for others, fidelity, loyalty, integrity, patriotism, and belief in God.
After the presentation of the Grand Lodge Program, we retired to the dining room for a wonderful dinner prepared by the wife and friends Bro. V.J. (Nik) Nikalos (Junior Warden, Kenai No. 11). We also enjoyed great fellowship with the Seward and Kenai brethren. A special thanks to WB Don Merry (Seward No. 6) and WB Glen Faulkner (Kenai No. 11) for a great evening.
Early Friday morning, March 27, after a late night drive back from the Kenai Peninsula the evening before, WB John Bishop (Grand Lecturer) and I left Palmer for the more than six hour drive north to Fairbanks, AK. After arriving, we visited Tanana Lodge No. 3, where I opened a special session of the Grand Lodge of Alaska. In addition to WB John and myself, those present included: MW Gene Freeman (PGM), VW John Johnson (DDGM District No. 1), W Vern Carlson, W David Worel, and W Kevin Tennant. The purpose of this special session was the installation of WB Tennant to the office of Grand Marshall for the Grand Lodge of Alaska. After this special session of Grand Lodge, I met with members of the Grand Lodge committee on Wills and Endowments to discuss their plans for the preparation of a “Guide for Giving”.
On Saturday morning, WB John and I returned to Tanana Lodge to participate in the District No. 1 presentation of the Lodge Officers Training Workshop. The training was led by VW John Johnson who was ably assisted by MW Samuel Medsker (PGM), VW Monte Ervin (PDDGM), and W David Worel. There were about a dozen participants in this training which was enthusiastically received. While the training proceeded, I met briefly with MW Lloyd Triggs (PGM), who is a member of the Grand Master’s special committee on ritual consolidation.
At about 4:00 pm, WB John and I got back on the road for the six hour plus drive back south. Although, there was some packed snow and ice on the roadway and an occasional snow flurry, our trip was uneventful. During the drive, we entertained ourselves by listening to previous segments of the Masonic Central Podcast, which I had downloaded to my iPhone. As we neared the end of our trip, we started getting reports that Mt. Redoubt had again erupted and parts of Anchorage were experiencing light ash fall. We continued on cautiously, but saw no evidence of ash along our route. WB John dropped me off in Palmer at around 10:00 pm and continued on back to Anchorage.
Overall, this was a long but enjoyable week. Many thanks to the Grand Lecturer for his company and excellent driving to and from Fairbanks.
Tomorrow begins another week with the conferral of a Master Mason degree at Eagle River Lodge No. 13. The candidate will be Brother Jeffrey Wasson, the son of Eagle River’s Secretary and our Grand Secretary, RW Jerry Wasson. I look forward to participating in this special event.