Submitted by Illustrious Companion Jonathon Ferguson, Illustrious Master, Jackson Council No. 32, Grand Council of Michigan
On Thursday, Novemeber 10, 2022, a fitting day as it was the USMC Birthday and the day before our National Verteran’s Day Observance; Jackson Lodge #17 in cooperation with the Royal & Select Masters of Jackson Council #32 presented the General Grand Council’s Veteran’s Award to sixteen members of the Jackson Lodge.
The wonderful meal hosted by Worshipful Master Nigel Wyckoff was attended by members of the Lodge along with members of the Council and guests. The Lodge was especially honored to have James Huff, Worshipful Senior Grand Deacon of the Grand Lodge of Michigan in attendance for this special event.
The award presentation, jointly presided over primarily by Worshipful Master Nigel Wyckoff & supported by Thrice Illustrious Master and Arch Deputy of the Grand Council of Royal Select Masons of Michigan Jonathon Ferguson, was a huge success thanks to the forward planning and cooperation between the Symbolic Lodge & and the Council.
The bestowal of the Veteran’s Recognition in the context of a Symbolic Lodge event was a great testament of the committment of the Cryptic Masons working alongside their Brothers and showing in a tangible manner the deeper committment one makes to their Lodge by involvement in the other bodies of York Rite of Masonry. The recognition of so many Brothers in this one single Lodge was extremely memorable and moving, and the reaction of those who were awarded their medal & certificate was one of shear awe. The entire event was filled with a spirit and high energy of gratitude and appreciation by all in attendance.
The General Grand Council’s position to make this impressive recognition (along with others) available to members of the Craft outside of Cryptic Masonry is a powerful witness and statement of our quiet dedication in the Secret Vault to work alongside our Brothers/Companions/Sir Knights/ Cousins/etc. in a spirit of unity. It provides a cohesive experience for our constituent members, and in many cases also provides an introduction of the Royal & Select Masters to the greater membership of the Lodge.
The Jackson Lodge #17 event was hosted by the Lodge and awards were presented in the name the Lodge with representation of the Council in a supporting role. The decision and option afforded to proceed in this manner further demonstrates our character as Cryptic Masons to support and enable the success of our Craft regardless of which body of the Craft without having to be the primary focus. Our presence was noticed for certain, but we were by no means front and center in garnering attention.The Brothers of the Lodge who served in the military, who we were honored to assist in giving recognition to was the primary focus and all involvement and planning made focus on them the main objective.
The more opportunities we as Royal & Select Masters are afforded to be present in these ways are vital. Not for the sake of increasing our membership, not as a self serving promotion for us to be equipped with stacks of petitions ready to be handed out; but to carry out our vocation in Masonry as builders. Building strong relationships, building strong frindships, building even stronger memories.
I have to thank the Balke’s for all that they do in the name of these awards and I close by challenging you, valued Companions… Take one of these recognitions to your Symbolic Lodge. Offer to assist in setting it up. The time spent will do you well, it will do your Council well, and most importantly; it will allow the great opportunity to focus a collective appreciation on those so few who have given so much!