Grand Master’s Message – April 2024

      Wisconsin Proud. The Badger men’s and women’s hockey and basketball teams all made it into the post season. Women’s hockey finishing second in the nation. That is something we can be proud of. In Wisconsin we have a perverse pride in our weather. We are the home of snow and cold four to five months of the year. Hot and humid mosquito filled summers. Springs that are late in coming, wet and muddy when they arrive. We take special pride in our week-long autumns. We are proud that we fish through the ice. Sitting in trees in November waiting for deer or watch football outdoors at Camp Randell or the frozen tundra is something we brag about. We are proud of our beer both national and regional varieties.

      As Wisconsin  Masons, we have quite a bit, we are proud of. What are you proud of as a Mason?  We tend to be proud of our buildings. We are proud of giant stone edifices that have graced our busy thoroughfares since the 1920’s. We are also proud of our small lodges. I often hear pride in the voice of the men who make up Cambridge, Keith D. Chamberlain, or Olive Branch Lodges talking about doing degree work in their small lodges. We hear Brothers talking about their modern lodges outfitted with convinces and ease. I also hear men talk about their ancient old lodges with all the quirks that come with age. An antique lodge room atop a narrow, long, steep set of stairs usually with an unused chairlift parked at the bottom. Where the lodge is placed is another point of pride. “We are a downtown lodge.” vs. “We are a rural lodge in the middle of nowhere.”

     We are proud of the demographics of our membership. “We are the largest lodge in the state like Lake Lodge in Milwaukee. Maybe the pride is in having the youngest lodge with a low average age, or maybe it is pride in having a great mixture from a number of generations. I have heard men speak with pride about being a blue-collar lodge or a businessman’s lodge or a professional’s lodge.

     No matter which lodge you call home there is always a point of pride. Maybe a tapestry, an autographed letter, antique chairs or even stories from a bygone time.

     What am I proud of? You, my Brothers. I have had the opportunity to meet some of best most diversified men society and life have to offer. I do many memorial services and the number of Masons who have a bronze or silver star in their military shadow box is staggering. I have sat and spoken with many war heroes and never knew it until their passing. Masons also tend to be people in their communities sitting on church councils and committees, town councils, city and county government, library boards and all forms of civic committees. The men who wish to serve society and their community. Masons tend to be the most generous men I know. How often does passing the hat yield abundant help for as Brother or person in the community? You are the men who struggle to be courteous even when it is difficult. Standing to shake hands when seated in a restaurant booth often proves a challenge.

     You are also the men that I have watched comfort a friend, cry with him in his sorrow and laugh with him in his joy. You are the men who introduce yourself to people you have not yet met. You parade in the heat to help children you do not know and consider yourself lucky for the opportunity. You are the men who are there for a neighbor or a traveling Brother and his family.

     You are the men who blindly knocked upon a door and took an obligation you try to keep each and every day. In a world of ego, you are the men who keep learning, keep striving to improve. You are the men who are humble enough to know that you can and should endeavor to become better men. You are the men who by their example will change the world, yet again, and make it a better place simply by the way you live your life. The example you set for others.

I am very proud to call you all Brothers. Keep up the good work the world needs it.