Voice of the Valley in Tally Newsletter
Vol I, No.2, April 2023
Managing Editor: Paul R. Swanson 32˚
Executive Editor: Douglas G. Knowles 33˚
Appointed Officers of the Valley of Tallahassee
Personal Representative: Ill. Douglas G. Knowles, 33°; Assistant PR Jason E. Johnson 32°, KCCH; General Secretary Hugh W. “Wes” Prine 32° KCCH; Treasurer Gary E. Huff, 32°
Valley Elected Officers for 2023: Venerable Master John A. O’Keefe 32°; Wise Master Adrian P. Dillion, 32°, KCCH; Commander George Schumacher 32°, KCCH; Master of Kadosh David L. Vickers
General Secretary’s, April 2023 message, Voice of the Valley in Tally
I wish to begin by saying welcome to our 9 new members who were initiated in the March Reunion. These brothers are Steven C. Albritton, Christian L. Highland Sr., Timothy L. King, Nicholas P. Koikos, John F. Matheson, Alan J. Parizek, Jordan R. Pass, Wayde T. Retherford, and John S. Weinrich.
The Reunion cast and stage crew did great work using the updated degree work and to Brother Frank Perry who handled the Reunion breakfast and Lunch.
The brothers were requested to attend the Maundy-Thursday and Easter services with their friends and family. They were knighted and received their Hats and 14th degree Rings. Afterward everyone enjoyed dinner at the Maundy-Thursday service and breakfast on Easter morning. Thank you to the brothers who set up and served both events.
We will be having another Reunion in September and presently are receiving petitions. I ask that all of you become good Ambassadors for A.A.S.R., Valley of Tallahassee while attending your blue lodges and spread the good word about Tallahassee Valley Scottish Rite while in the blue lodges. If you know of any brothers who are interested in joining our Valley, please note we have new petition forms available in the Scottish Rite office and on our website.
They are also available on our valley web site thanks to Brother Don Goss who developed it for our Valley. Go check it out (tsrv1.org). Don did a fantastic job with the website and continues to improve it. The petition on the web site can be downloaded and /or filled out and then printed.
In addition, the S.G.I.G., Ill. Richard Hoover 33˚, said the petition must be signed by two Scottish Rite masons who know the petitioner and can vouch for him. Call me to discuss this matter if you have a question about this issue. Those who sign the petition will receive award points that go toward their Knights of the Double-Headed Eagle wards.
Hugh Wes. Prine, Jr., 32°, KCCH; (850)212-0751, email@example.com
Brothers and Daughters of the Nile
Please be sure to coordinate all activities to be held in the Scottish Rite Center in May and June 2023.
Voice of the Valley in Tally
Stories still needed!!!!
Brother Danny Thomas, the founder of St. Jude Children’s Hospitals became a Mason because he found out after starting his hospital that the Shriners were also in a similar business of helping children. Danny Thomas not only became a Mason but also a Scottish Rite Mason, rising to the honorary 33 degree! Obviously, he also became a Shriner and was by all appearances a very model Mason.
This is the shortened version of his Masonic journey. If we can find enough stories of good models for the recipe book perhaps, we can create a book of interest for selling to churches and other groups.
If not, we can just get every single Scottish Rite Valley of Tallahassee member to write their story on how they joined Masonry or the Scottish Rite, whichever is the more interesting story.
The book doesn’t have to be a recipe book, but one of each of us and our stories of joining our fraternity might not sell well without another hook, thus the recipe angle might still be needed.
The bottom line is that if we can’t gather enough other content like each member’s stories, we won’t be able to get this fundraiser off the ground.
My personal story is a bit more intense as it involves a former Army pilot who was shot down during the Viet Nam war and became a POW. He really helped me during a very low time in my life. So, my story will be a bit longer than perhaps some of the rest of you. No worries, just get me the details of your story and I will do the rest of the work.
To date, I have only heard from one person who is writing his story. That simply won’t work if we want to make this project happen and be successful as one of our fundraisers this year. We must work together brothers!
Remember, even some of our members who can’t attend the meetings or events regularly can contribute to this fundraiser and gain Double Eagle points as well.
The idea is to gather enough stories to build enough volume for a book to sell as a fundraiser for our charity requirements.
Paul R. Swanson, 32° April 2023
How did you hear of Masonry before you joined?
Did you know what Masonry was or just heard the name?
Were you aware of Masonry as a young man?
Did you ever see a Masonic funeral?
Was there an uncle or other male member of your family who was a Mason?
If so, did they talk to you about joining at any point?
Did they only allude to Masonry as “secrete” and avoid the topic?
Did you ever attend while growing up any kind of Masonic event?
What was your opinion of Masonry before joining?
What does your family think of Masonry?
Do they understand what it really is?
How has Masonry helped you in your life?
Have you tried to “improve yourself in Masonry” by using our degree working tools?
Do you look at the world differently now that you are a Mason?
Did Masonry give you what you were looking for when you joined? Be honest.
If not, where have we failed you? Be specific and list as many as you wish.
Ideas for best practices summarized
· Turn less-than-necessary meetings into social gatherings.
· To encourage younger members to join, emphasize fun.
· Emphasize family social events. Occasionally alcohol is served.
· For more information on rebuilding, see the book The Empowered Volunteer Rebuilds America: One Fraternal, Civic, and Veterans Group at a Time, by Paul R. Swanson.
· Double Eagle programs vary by valley.
· Showcase the program (not the building), including a nice meal for prospects while socializing and/or learning.
· Set the tone for the year by holding an all-masonic officers and members meal in January for newly elected lodge officers. Emphasize we are here to help them succeed this year and propose ideas on helping process.
· Reunion degrees are a product of the membership growth, not the goal. As the membership grows, so do the degrees presented and the quality of the degrees. Hold a special family friendly social activity at the end of each reunion.
· Membership appreciation night every year, free for members and family with events for all ages and interests!
· Request the membership complete a survey for future planning with the goal of 100% participation in the next year. Take the answers seriously for potential change.
· The Master Craftsman course completion is key.
· Create a robust Website for the Valley using Vistaprint or Word. Place at least two members to maintain it.
· Send out digital copies of member/actors respective degrees early so that all parts can be learned in order to avoid memory cards. Each degree needs a designated leader.
Mission of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in the orient of Florida
Is to be the premier fraternity of men of integrity and good character by providing opportunities for personal growth, leadership skills, education and social interaction based on the values of friendship, charity, patriotism, tolerance, integrity and belief in a superior being. To that end, we commit to making a positive impact on humankind, promoting our community and providing a value to the masonic fraternity.
Our mission statement for our valley is to increase fraternal friendship among our members and of our masonic community. We hope that through these efforts the members and their families will enjoy attending our events and be proud fundraising for the Scottish Rite our charity and helping good men become better men and Masons. Remember, we are the premier body in Freemasonry for making good men better!
· How many of you receive and read the Scottish Rite Journal that is sent to you 6 times per year?
· Are you going to the Supreme Council Website and viewing the latest news and paying your dues on the website?
· Are you aware that our Valley now has a website thanks to Brother Donald Goss? And do you know the URL or addresses for those 2 websites?
· Are you aware that we have a Facebook platform and are you letting the editor, Paul Swanson, know you are appreciative of the work he does daily to keep it up and providing us with interesting information about history and education?
· Are you interested in assisting with the next Reunion and if so do you know who to contact about that? (Brothers, David Vickers and Adrian Dillon)
· Are you in contact with the office and letting the Secretary know if you are in ill health so we can pray for you and your recovery/healing?
· Are you aware of our fundraising activities and supporting them?
· Do you know to contact Brother John Michalski when you want to contribute to the Almoners Fund?
· Are you aware that we can use your skills in electrical, plumbing, and construction or other skill sets?
· If you want to let us know what you can provide or what we can assist you with please email or contact us in some way soon.
Summer is right around the corner!
We have accomplished a good deal since the last newsletter thanks to all the brothers who did the work. At the March stated meeting many of you received the Double Eagle awards for the work you did this past year. It was amazing to see the number of brothers who received awards. The Double Eagle awards are a great indicator of how much has been done since last year here in our Valley. The Double Eagle program is used to show the work members have contributed to our Valley. This continues as an ongoing effort.
· ROTC: Bro Randy Nichols has already accomplished getting out the ROTC/JROTC awards and certificates to the schools. He and Adrian and other brothers have expanded participation in this program this year.
· Reunions: We used the digital format for all the 2004-20014 revisions to each degree in-house. Each actor was able to practice well in advance of the reunion. We initiated 9 new members in March.
· The Maundy Thursday and Easter Service programs were put together and the cast did a good job. The meals were very good. At the Thursday meeting the new members received their hats and rings prior to the Maundy Thursday service.
· Newsletter: We have ideas for both mailings and digital delivery of a periodic newsletter for the membership. Stay tuned, every member needs to take steps to allow for delivery of a newsletter digitally. If you need help, we have several members who could help you get set up. Snail mail is still cost prohibitive.
We have raised 75% of the funds to support the Foundation goals for our Valley so far this fiscal year (July-June).
Fundraising is still a priority! Our charitable purpose is to raise funds for children with special needs in language development, speech, and hearing. More effort is needed in Fund Raising events, both ideas and participation are appreciated.
We need participation from every member who is physically able this year. Every single Scottish Rite member is important, and several of you have not been involved for some time. If there is an issue holding you back from attending some of our planned events, please share them with either myself or our General Secretary. As we stated before, perhaps we can help.
We are still exploring the reduction of the number of stated meetings each year. We have agreed that in the months we do not have a stated meeting we will be planning social events for our member’s families and the masonic community we serve. Details are being put in place to do this, stay tuned for more information on that issue.
A “PASSPORT” is currently being put together. We do have a template. So, we are proceeding to construct one for our Valley. More information on that project to follow.
The Master Craftsman course is truly worthy. A goal to get our members, especially our newest members, is to complete the course in the next 2 years.
Please remember to wear a suit to our meetings in December, January, and whenever the SGIG visits. Please note and support this change. Our purple shirts that have our Valley logo are encouraged as a uniform at the rest of the events. We encourage the wearing of kaki or black pants when wearing the purple shirt.
Our mission statement for our valley is to increase fraternal friendship among our members and of our Masonic community. We hope that through these efforts the members and their families will enjoy attending our events and be proud of the fundraising efforts for the Scottish Rite Foundation, our charity, and helping good men become better men and Masons. Remember, we are the premier body in Freemasonry for making good men better! Fraternally,
Ill. Douglas G. Knowles, 33°, Personal Representative, Valley of Tallahassee, Orient of Florida
We are creating a “PASSPORT” for our reunions. We now have a template. So, stay tuned for more information on that project.
The Master Craftsman course is truly worthy. We now have 6 members enrolled. Please contact Brother Randy Nichols to sign up for the course. The cost is nominal. We will supply the books from our library.
Please remember to wear a suit in December, January, and whenever the SGIG visits. Please note and support this change. Our purple shirts that have our Valley logo are encouraged as a uniform at the rest of the events. We encourage the wearing of kaki or black pants when wearing the purple shirt.
We have revised the Double Eagle program to reflect all the work members have contributed to our valley. This is an ongoing effort, but it is a reward recognizing the hard work and contributions of our members.
Brothers who passed in 2022-2023
We have lost brothers who are now in the hands of the Grand Architect of the Universe in 2023: Brothers Larry Parish, John A. O’Keeffe, Paul W. Lambert, and Edward B. Jolly.
Members who died in 2022 are: Louis J. De Motsis, R D White, Luther “Chop” Bodiford, Walter S. Henderson, Charles E. Hempstead, Winton O. Whittle, Chester Hudson, Michael F. Meadowcroft
Circle of Concern
Please keep these Brothers in your thoughts and prayers
If you know of a member/family member in sickness or distress, please call the office (850-212-0448) so they can be put on our Circle of Concern list. Thank you!
From David Tranchand 32°,
Trustee for the Valley of Tallahassee,
Scottish Rite Foundation USA, Inc,
Scottish Rite Foundation Support
Thank you, everyone, for supporting the Scottish Rite Foundation of Florida USA, Inc. through your generous donations in an amount above your annual dues. So far, as a Valley, we have remitted over $7,500.00 which is 75% of our goal!
Our Foundation, A 501(c)(3) Charitable Organization, helps raise funding for children who have difficulty speaking or understanding the spoken word or school-age children who have difficulty learning to read. Your donation will go to support activities at the L. L. Schendel Speech and Hearing Clinic which is managed and staffed by Florida State University faculty, clinicians, and graduate students. Children who might have remained educationally behind for a lifetime can now talk, read, and lead productive lives.
Again, I thank you for your generosity. If you have any questions, you may contact me at 850-519-1875. You should keep this letter with your end-of-year tax documents as your contribution to the Foundation is deductible. Please remember our Valley of Tallahassee and the Foundation in your will!
Sincerely and fraternally, David J. Tranchand, 32°, Foundation Chair, Tallahassee Valley
This was a great year for the Scottish Rite Valley of Tallahassee. We will have given out 41 ROTC and JROTC certificates and medals this year. We had 12 college students in ROTC and 29 high school students in JROTC who have received awards this school year, 2023. This surpasses last year, 2022, by almost double.
The Scottish Rite award is not something given out just to anyone. These students are outstanding as they must show that they go above and beyond others in many areas both in and out of school. These awards are not taken lightly by any of the students or the schools.
I have had some of the best help with giving these awards out. This year Brother A. Dillon, Brother P. Swanson, Brother R. Ludlam and Brother D. Boydston are the brothers who have assisted. I’m sure I have forgotten someone, so please forgive me.
But I hope to reach out to others for help next year. If you are interested, please let me know.
This is for all of us to participate in, not just a hand full of brothers.
Brother Randy Nichols, 32°
The first picture was taken at Taylor County High School with Rusty Ludlam and Paul R. Swanson helping the interim JROTC leader with the distribution of the Scottish Rite Medals for the cadets. The second one is of the ROTC cadet who received the award presented by Brother Randy Nichols.