Thursday, August 27, 2009

Oldest Man in America is a Mason

Walter Breuning, in addition to inheriting the title of Oldest Living Man in the World, has been recognized for yet another title: the world's oldest Mason and Shriner.
Members of the organization came from all over the state - and country - to honor the legend, including the Imperial Potentate of Shriners International and the highest ranking Shriner in the world, Jack Jones.
Walter was given a plaque and pin for his seven-plus decades of dedication to the cause during a Sunday ceremony at the Rainbow Assisted Living Center in Great Falls.
"There's many men who are interested in these organizations, but when it comes to commitment, Walter is the man," explained Grand Warden Tom Duffy, Jr. "He's had years of commitment, 75 plus in Masonry and Shrinedom. Boy, if Webster had a definition behind it, wouldn't it be Walter right behind 'commitment'?"
It was just about a week ago the oldest man in the world died, allowing the title to be passed to Walter, and it's been a busy week since then for Walter, including fielding calls from around the country and visits from well-wishers, including one from Governor Schweitzer.
(from July 22, 2009) The title of "Montana Governor" is pretty exclusive, but Governor Brian Schweitzer met a man that's in line for an even more exclusive title.
Schweitzer chatted today with 112-year old Walter Breuning, who is believed to be the oldest living man in the world now. The previous holder of the title, Henry Allingham of England, passed away over the weekend, which leaves Breuning as the new record-holder.
Schweitzer and Breuning talked about various things including the economy; Breuning says these days don't even compare to the Great Depression. He and the governor agreed that Montana's economy is faring better than much of the rest of the nation.
Breuning noted, "That's why Montana is in such good shape. We got a lot of good salaries going to everybody. The state highway, hell, what do you get? 21 dollars an hour? Sure! That's good wages."
The governor also presented Breuning with a basket of fruit.
Breuning says eating well and keeping your mind active is the key to a long life. He will celebrate his 113th birthday in September.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How would like to have been the Tyler?

From the New Zeland Herald
4:00AM Thursday Jul 16, 2009
By Andrew Koubaridis

NZ Mason jailed over sorcery claims The Masons were told they could be jailed for 48 hours without charge. Rotorua Daily Post

A New Zealand man spent a "wretched" night in a Fiji prison cell after frightened residents and police raided his Freemasons meeting, suspecting witchcraft and sorcery.
The man, who didn't want to be named, blamed "dopey village people" for the raid in which 14 members of the Freemasons Lodge of Lautoka were herded into police cars and jailed for the night.
Police also seized lodge paraphernalia, including wands, compasses and a skull.
Yesterday, the man told the Herald that Tuesday night's meeting was "interrupted by a banging on the door and there were these village people and the police demanding to be let in".
Nothing sinister had been going on but "such is the nature of life in Fiji" they were taken to a nearby police station, he said.
The Masons were told nothing of the allegations against them, but were warned that under Fiji's emergency decree, they could be jailed for 48 hours without charge.
The lodge secretary showed police a copy of the permit allowing the meeting, but was told the permit was not the problem.
The commanding police officer then disappeared, leaving the 14 men to spend the night in the cells.
"It was hot and wasn't very comfortable, because there was nowhere to lie down," the man said. "The officers who were guarding us were pleasant, though, chatting away to us."
At 8.30am yesterday, an officer let them go, saying the Prime Minister's office had ordered they be released.
The man said he was outraged that overly suspicious villagers had been able to convince police to "totally abuse their power".
He said the police should have told the villagers to calm down.
"The stupidity is overwhelming. Virtually unlimited power is placed in the hands of bungling police, who have no judgment or sense of balance, so, at the whim of an uneducated villager, 14 senior members of society had to spend a night locked up."
A police spokesman said the men were arrested because police had been tipped off that a meeting was being held and there were "some strange goings-on".

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Meridian

The Meridian
A Masonic "Sign, Token or Word" Brings Comfort after a Tragedy

We learn of certain "signs, tokens and words, whereby one Mason may know another in the darkness as well as at noonday". But what about a sign from beyond.... from the eternal Lodge above... that all is OK? On Monday, January 31, 2000, Alaska Airlines Flight 261 crashed into the Santa Barbara Channel off the California coast. On board that flight were two couples from Poulsbo, Washington. The men, Bob Williams and Bob Thorgrimson, were friends and Brothers. Both were Past Masters of Warren G.Harding Lodge. A tragic crash, the plane broken into bits, and its precious contents scattered to the four winds of heaven. Most plane pieces settled into the sea in water 700 feet deep. Other pieces, like the seat cushions, floated to the surface, there to be picked up by fishermen and others providing assistance after the crash. Two fishermen on a small boat, the Meridian, worked for hours hauling wreckage and personal effects on board. They dutifully turned everything over to the Coast Guard, as evidence to help reconstruct the crash and determine its cause. Or at least they thought everything had been turned over to the authorities. On the day after the crash, two squid fishermen were washing their boat of the jet fuel that contaminated the debris picked up the day before. Stuck in a recess under the handle of the deck hatch, was a gold and red Masonic ring. Word got out that the fishermen had this Masonic ring. The local Sheriff came to the house of one of the fishermen demanding the ring be turned over to him as evidence. The fisherman's wife was threatened with arrest. She refused! The ring was going to be returned to the family of its owner. "She wasn't giving it up -- she was that strong in her convictions" The two fishermen, one a native of Poulsbo, spent twenty hours contacting Masonic Lodges trying to identify to whom the beautiful ring belonged. They finally determined that the ring belonged to Wor. Bob Williams, given to him by his wife Patty. The ring, worn by the passenger flying thousands of feet above the ocean, in a plane that falls to the ocean's depths; the ring that mysteriously appeared within hours of the crash on the deck of a boat being worked by a fisherman hailing from that small fishing town of Poulsbo, 1100 miles from the crash site. Who can possible explain how something so small would curiously be found by these two fishermen who would make every effort possible to see that the ring would bring peace and light, after death, to the loved ones of the deceased? Bob Williams' daughter feels she knows the answer. Tracy Wnizek struggled to accept the death of her parents, but the Masonic ring was a sign from her father. The father and his small daughter had long ago made a pact that the first to die would send a signal to the other that all was well in the hereafter. Only a year before the accident, after her grandfather died, she reminded her father of their old pact. A message would be sent from beyond "to let the other person know if it's OK, like we think it's going to be". The Masonic ring was her signal... a message from her father. The "Meridian" truly was a divine ark, sailing in the tempestuous sea of troubles off the coast of California last January. Bob William's Masonic ring was a sign to a troubled daughter that her parents had found rest in the Lodge not built with hands, eternal in the heavens. On February 13, 2000, more than 300 people gathered at the Bremerton Masonic Temple in memory of their four friends and Masonic Brethren. The Bremerton Scottish Rite and Warren G. Harding Lodge conducted memorial services. Hearts were feeling the loss of loved ones and a few minds had to be wondering, that the Grand Architect of the Universe used a Masonic ring as a sign to a grieving daughter, in the darkness of her grief, that her parents were in a far better place and wanted her to know that "all is OK"? Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are extended to the families of these two couples and to the Brethren of Warren G. Harding Lodge.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Awards given at Montgomery 426

WM Brian Rau probably summed it up best last night, when he said that it is not every day that a Master gets to give away two 50 Year Service Awards....much less a 60 to boot! But, that was the occasion at Montgomery 426. After a great meal, everyone assembled in the Lodge Room and Sr. Deacon Andy Liakos escorted each Brother and his family to the Altar for the special award to be given. WM Rau asked the Brothers to re-live some of their fondest memories of Masonry....smiles, grins, and claps were given by all present. It was truly a night to remember.

WB Euclid Voyles recieves his 60year Diamond Jubilee Award. With him are his son Bruce(who is a Bro Mason as well), Daughter-in-law Debbie, and WM Rau.

WB Willard Allen after recieving his 50 year Veterans Award....with him are his son Dale Allen, and WM Rau.

And, as was jokingly referred to last night as "saving the best for last" is Brother Fred Verner, his wife, daughter, and WM Rau.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Urgent - Brother in Need

On Saturday, August 8th 2009 there will be a benefit BBQ, Auction, and Poker Run for Ashley Smith, 18 year old daughter of Brother Bobby Smith of Robbinsville Lodge 672 and Sister Kim Smith of Robbinsville Eastern Star Chapter 224. At age 10 Ashley was diagnosed with a pulmonary disorder with little to no chance for survival. For the past 8 years Ms. Smith has been limited to her activities, under constant medical care watch, and constantly in and out of the hospital

This spring she was determined to graduate with her classmates, so staff (including her physician) from Mission Hospital brought her by ambulance to help make her wish a reality. Even though she was brought in a assisted and on oxygen, she refused to be wheeled across to accept her diploma, but rose from the wheel chair and walked across stage to accept her diploma.

Brothers, time is suddenly and rapidly growing short and will soon come to a close. Your prayers would be greatly appreciated. As for the benefit, this has been arranged by the Graham County EMS where her mother works as an administrative assistant. All proceeds and donations go to Ashley Smith. If you can attend, the registration for the Poker Run will be at the Microtel in Robbinsville. Registration begins at 8am - 10am, first rider leaves at 10am, final rider in at 2pm. Final check point will be at Ingles, where there will also be a BBQ and Raffle with all proceeds going to Ashley. All motorcycles and vehicles welcome! Any donations greatly appreciated. The smoked BBQ benefit and auction which coincides with the Poker Run starts at 11:00 am at the United Community Bank grounds directly across the street from the Microtel.

Brothers, I know this conflicts with the 41st Masonic District’s School of Instruction scheduled for the same day, but anyone who was not attending the school of instruction your tenants of charity are sincerely requested to help and support a Worthy Brother in this time of need.


Jim Hyde
District Deputy Grand Master
41st Masonic District of North Carolina