Last year’s Junior Warden of my Lodge made less than half of the regular communications during his term in office due to his poor health. He was diagnosed with cancer and it was and is doing its best to destroy his body. This former Junior Warden truly loves the Craft and his Lodge. He was also very active in several other bodies such as the York and the Scottish Rites.
We all knew about his declining health but what we didn’t know about – he being a proud man – were his financial troubles that were byproducts of his health issues. It was actually by accident that we discovered the depth of the financial problems when I made a phone call to him one evening a few months ago to check on him. During the course of the conversation I learned that his electricity was close to being turned off. Other than for his home, almost everything had been repossessed from this hardworking man – truck, boat, etc.
Following that conversation and after taking a few moments to say a prayer in my backyard, I put the phone to good use and spread the word to the “movers and shakers” of my Lodge. The District Deputy Grand Master was also alerted and we fired up the Lodge’s Masonic Relief Committee. The paperwork involved with requesting relief funds from the Grand Lodge Masonic Relief Committee was expedited and the Grand Lodge issued emergency funds even before the paperwork was completed. Within a few weeks, not less than one thousand dollars rolled in from “passing the hat” efforts in my Lodge and in our sister Lodges in the District. The local York Rite Bodies joined in the effort and collected more donations. Our past Junior Warden’s lights are still on and they will not be darkened.
He is not out of the woods and his health is steadily deteriorating, but we will make sure that his basic necessities are taken care of. If and when he succumbs to the cancer, I am confident that his widow will be looked after in the same manner.
This is the way we do it here. We do not engage in institutionalized charity for the masses or throw money at things like the child ID programs. We concentrate our efforts on our Brethren, their widows, and their orphans.