Saturday, July 17, 2010

What happened to Demolay in WNC?

When I was a young teenager, Demolay was going strong in this area, and so was the sister organization, the Rainbow Girls. For whatever reason, both organizations seemed to fade away.

As a former law enforcement officer and a paramedic, I went into the schools
enlightening our youth on the dangers of Methamphetamine. It was alarming to see the hands raised when I posed the question, “How many of you have used meth, or personally know of someone who uses meth?” No class range from the sixth grade through the twelve was immune from hands being raised. Plus, go to any high school today and you will see an increase in teenage pregnancy.

In today’s culture, if we don’t help our youth find meaningful and moral activities to keep busy, many times the activities they choose on their own have life changing, unwanted, or deadly consequences. Almost every week in our weekly newspapers, there is a young adult or teenager who has died because they made unwise choices.

Demolay is our opportunity to touch the lives of our youth, the opportunity to give them a healthier choice of lifestyle, to prepare them as leaders of tomorrow, and to plant the seeds which may eventually keep our organization growing for years to come.

Some famous individuals who were once part of the Demolay include: Paul Harvey, Neil Armstrong, Mel Blanc, Ernest Borgnine, Roy Clark, Terry Bradshaw, Pete Rose, Walter Cronkite, Walt Disney, Buddy Ebsen, Dan Rather, Paul Harvey, NFL QB’s Danny White and Fran Tarkington, Willard Scott, John Wayne, Mark CAlawy (AKA Undertaker from WWE), and the worlds tallest man Robert Waldow. The list goes on to include Governors, Presidents, Congressmen, Astronauts, TV personalities.

IN 2008, during my first year as District Deputy Grand Master, we attempted to get Demolay resurrected in our district. A handful of interested men attended an informal meeting at Clay Lodge, where representatives from Demolay came and gave us a presentation on the organization. I know for a fact, the seed that was planted then has not died; it has just not been given the opportunity to grow, and there are some brothers like Jason Chastain from Clay 301 wanting to see it sprout and grow. Demolay has been invited to the upcoming 2nd Annual Barn Degree, and we are awaiting word on whether they can come or not. Hopefully they can, and in the meantime be thinking about what you can do to help revive this organization.

Together, we can make a difference.

I’ll close with this quote from Judge David Gray Ross who is over the Federal Office of Child Support, and too was a member of Demolay, "As a young boy who had lost his father, the interest taken in me by the men of DeMolay provided encouragement, leadership, and opportunities which, in hindsight, seem impossible. The vision of the Order of DeMolay kept me focused on the truly important things in life and taught me a morality which remains with me today. As the Director of our Nation's primary support system for America's alienated children, I am mindful of the old adage that says, 'as the twig is bent, so grows the tree.' We must join together to bend our children toward what is right and good and necessary to make them productive citizens of the future."