I have 2 things to talk about this month. First is a CD that some of you may own titled Hiramâ€™s Call by brother Howie Dameron of Ohio. This was first brought to my attention by Brother Rhett North who performed a song from the CD at our family night in October. The song is about those of us who wear Masonic rings and what they stand for to Brother Dameron. I have been very moved by this song and listen to it often. The next track after this song is Brother Dameron speaking about masonry and what he feels makes a great lodge. Friendship, fellowship, and a true sense of belonging make lodges strong. I know we have that in Plano Lodge. So as Brother Dameron says â€œletâ€™s continue to practice the successful art of gathering.â€
Next, we had an open forum meeting in September and the subject of how Plano Lodge contributes to charitable causes came up. I have heard this question several times, in several ways recently. Some answers to this form of question are that we have semi-annual blood drives that benefit the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital. We readily contribute to the relief of poor and penniless Masons and their families. Or simply that we are not a charity, but a fraternity which chooses to sometimes contribute to charitable causes. Hearing this question often and not really being happy with the answers, although all we do are great acts of charity and do true good in the community, I propose this. We manage our financial resources to better maximize return while minimizing risk, and create a pool of funds for charitable purposes. I would like to begin with a â€œscholarshipâ€ to accompany the Lamar awards we hand out each year. This has to be one of the most common fund raising causes for local lodges. It seems most other lodges in our district raise money each year and award 1 or 2 scholarships. Why not combine an award we already present with a monetary award that will provide an investment in young men and women who are of extraordinary character or have overcome hardships to continue with their education. I personally find it embarrassing that all we offer these students is a very nice medal and some paperwork. What a young man or woman graduating high school and continuing their education really needs is money. If we are able to use our resources effectively, we can provide a meaningful award to the students and not just a pat on the back.