Steady On – Mid Year

Steady On – Mid-Year
Stephen A. Balke, General Grand Recorder

Edgewood Lodge and Companion Nick Brittenham present Brother Keith Henry with the First Responder Recognition of Service

It was my honor and privilege to be present while Companion Nick Brittenham and Edgewood Lodge in New Mexico presented Brother Keith Henry with the First Responder Recognition for Service. Pictured left to right: Companion Harry Jenkins, (me), WM Trevor Wallin, Brother Keith Henry, Lady Amanda Henry, Mister Sean Henry, and Companion Nick Brittenham. Read more here…
photo by Michele Balke

Greetings Companions,

A (hopefully) quick note bringing everyone up to speed on the Triennial Convocation and Assembly, our awards programs, ordering from the General Grand Council and how we are coming along with our programs and projects. Many of our long-awaited items are starting to come to fruition and we are looking forward to a strong finish and new beginning!

Triennial Convocation & Assembly

The Committee has published the website for registration and hotel reservations for our upcoming Triennial Meeting! Please visit and make plans to be there – what an exciting event it will be!

Please remember that your recommendations for the Columbian Award must be in by the 15th of March (email or postal mail). One is allowed for each of our fourteen Regions and in addition, three for “at large” qualified Cryptic Companions.

As we get closer, there will be more information and requests in preparation, as well as meetings with Grand Recorders, Regional Deputies and Ambassadors for the work getting done. Please contact me if you have any questions.     

Awards Programs

Please visit the newest section of the website – Companion Will Highsmith will gladly post your short article and pictures (we are requiring pictures) that highlight presentations of awards to our worthy Companions, Brothers, and Friends! Again, don’t forget to take a picture! THIS IS FOR ALL AWARD PRESENTATIONS – if you are giving recognition at the Grand Assembly, please ensure that you have someone capturing the moment; both with a picture and a short write up. These are also linked from the Decryption on the right – with the honoree, the award abbreviation, and their jurisdiction.

And, in planning, please consider taking it to their ceremonies when it is feasible. Presenting a First Responder at a Lodge Dinner or their event, presenting the Veterans Medal at a Veteran’s recognition event, presenting the Adult Youth Leader Award at their Grand Assembly/Bethel/Conclave will show them we support their efforts and recognize them in front of their peers. You can always then invite them to be recognized at your Grand Assembly as well!

Ordering from General Grand Council


The Marketplace has all of the readily available items, including awards that you may want to order, except our Rituals. Rituals are ordered in quantity by the Grand Recorder of your jurisdiction, so we will always ask how they want to proceed when a Companion contacts us for a Ritual. We will be adding items to the site as time progresses, so please visit the site to see any updates.

When you order, there is a process. Our awards are actually checked before they are sent to ensure that we are following the requirements of the awards. Please allow 2-3 WEEKS to process your order under normal circumstances! This gives us time to check for Good Standing, get any engraving or certificate work done, and ship the item (add a week for international shipping).

That said, we will try to accommodate your “perfect opportunities” – contact your Grand Recorder if you need a rush on ordering something to present it, we will facilitate your event opportunity presented through your Grand Recorder.

Please remember that:

  • We make every effort not to duplicate awards, and replacements are verified.
  • The Lady of the Council must be ordered by a Cryptic Mason (any jurisdiction).
  • The First Responder award must be ordered by a Cryptic Mason (any jurisdiction).
  • The Veterans Medal recipient must be a Cryptic Mason (any jurisdiction).
  • Ritual Awards must be submitted by your Grand Recorder or Committee; Cryptic Mason of the Year, Adult Youth Leadership, and the Ten Percent Gain are the purview by the Most Illustrious Grand Master (or jurisdiction rules as may apply) and submitted through the Grand Recorder.
  • And, Ritual materials must be ordered or approved by your Grand Recorder.

These processes and cross-checks allow us to ensure the integrity of the award and timely response to your orders.

Office Update

Amidst the concerns and employments… the updates for the office are not coming as quickly as we all want, but it is not for lack of effort! Thank you again to MPGGM David Grindle, RPC John Bridegroom, RPC Jim Baum, MIC Mark Irwin, RIC Dennis Newman, RIC Rod Wagoner, IC Will Highsmith, Companion Len Roughgarden, and especially to Lady Michele Balke. There is a LOT of work and everyone has stepped up to help whenever asked (and most just when there needs to be something done).

The transition to an online resource for data and updates is still in process. While the system is up and the structure is in place, we are taking the time to ensure that the best data is available before rolling it out. We will start this month by working with the Trustees, CMMRF and an initial run with Grand Recorders to test the system and results.


If your login to the website doesn’t work – it is because we are re-vamping the system. A single sign-on option for the sites is being tested at this point and we will roll-out the system when testing is complete. This will be a great addition to the site but has many checks that need to be tested thoroughly.

We have just recently reviewed the main site, and many of the buttons and links have now been fixed. Thank you, Companions, for letting us know when you spot broken links or issues with systems. We work to keep these all functional and correct and occasionally miss some of the broken parts. We will also be rolling out updates shortly on some of the previously available information, and appreciate your patience as we ensure that it is both correct and will remain functional.

The processes are starting to bear the fruit of fruition. We have now started the “season” of Grand Assemblies and we are in contact with your Grand Recorders to ensure that everything is in place at the appropriate time.

Regional Conferences are also getting their start this month, if you haven’t been invited, inquire about the York Rite Leadership program! Companion and Sir Knight Lane Pierce will be happy to sign you up – and – you will have a great experience meeting with and learning about the organizations and philanthropies that you are a member or key supporter of as well as have a great time!