You may look at my schedule sometimes and wonder, the Grand Master says he is busy but I do not see him at that many events this week. The role of Grand Master is one where the phone calls and emails never stop; day or night. I often spend my evenings answering Brethren on questions about protocol, discussing Lodge issues, or speaking with those looking to put together a Lodge event and they want some idea of what to do. The role of Grand Master has its challenges but I can assure you that it is the Brotherhood that makes this all worthwhile.
This past week I attended Gideon Lodge No. 84 in Kingston and had two very memorable presentations. The first was to a Brother who has been an active Mason in New Hampshire for the past two decades but began his career as a Mason in Vermont. I was able to hear of this Brother’s journey, both in life and Masonry and present him his 65-Year Service Award on behalf of the Grand Lodge of Vermont. The second was to a Brother who we honored last year with a Centenarian Award (award for reaching 100 years of Age). This year I had the honor to present him with an Award for 75 Years of Masonic Service at the age of nearly 101. What a pleasure it was to see this Brother again and be able to greet him in Lodge. I have been a Mason for over a quarter of a century and I can only hope to be in as good a physical health as these two Brethren. The difference they have made in the lives of others personally as well as Masonically it worthy of note.
One sad note to share. I received a call earlier this week that a Past Grand Master of this jurisdiction, Most Worshipful Brother George Dixon Van Dyke had passed to the celestial Lodge above. M.W. Van Dyke served this Grand Lodge as Grand Master in 1993 & 1994. Prior to 2010 I would say I knew of M.W. Van Dyke but didn’t really know him personally. However, for nearly five years beginning in 2011 I met with him and a small group of Brethren weekly to work on a complete review/rewrite of the Grand Lodge Constitution. What an absolute pleasure it was to get to know this Brother on that personal level. He was a brilliant individual who I was able to share memories of his personal life and learn more about Freemasonry in New Hampshire.
The real value of Masonry is not in the awards of titles we may have but rather it is in all of the Brethren we meet and the relationships we make!
David S. Collins