{Address to the District Deputy Grand Masters, Grand Lodge Staff Officers and Assistant Grand Lecturers for the year 2019 through 2020 in the Daniel D. Tompkins Memorial Chapel on the Campus of the Masonic Care Community in Utica, New York.}

Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master, Most Worshipful Past Grand Masters, Members of the Grand Lodge, Brethren, Ladies and Friends of New York Freemasonry — We are delighted that you are able to join us for the Annual Investiture Ceremony for the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York.

The Trustees of the Masonic Hall and Home, The Directors of the Masonic Medical Research Institute, the Trustees of the Chancellor Robert R Livingston Masonic Library, those that comprise the Headquarters for New York DeMolay, The Grand Lodge Committees and the State-Wide Leadership Teams gather together on this campus in harmony and progress.
This weekend alone our District Deputy Grand Masters, Grand Lodge Staff Officers and Assistant Grand Lecturers utilized the facilities of the Masonic Care Community to receive updates and to share ideas that will benefit our Fraternity and its Members.

The Trustees of the Masonic Hall and Home

When you think of the Trustees you think of a team of talented, diverse men who dedicate many hours of service. You also need to think of this Chapel that we are in today and the expert care that is needed to keep and maintain this sanctuary, as well as the grounds of this Masonic Care Community. You need to think of The Masonic Hall in New York City where our Grand Lodge meets each May as well as numerous Lodges and Concordant Bodies. You need to think of the George Washington Masonic Historic Site at Tappan, NY, which has been expanded to include community events during the year. You need to think of our 1,600 acre property at Round Lake in the Adirondack Park in upstate New York.

Having a Masonic Hall in New York City is not easy. Security is constantly being evaluated and upgraded, building codes, energy efficiencies and more are part of the daily “trestle board” of these Trustees. Just recently a massive fire sprinkler system was completed to insure the safety of everyone. Thanks to their expertise, we are able to support the work that is accomplished here at the Masonic Care Community through the fraternal and commercial rents that are received.

The Trustees are also investigating the expansion into “mini MCC’s” that are closer to our homes in the Eastern and the Western part of the State. My thanks to RW Stephen Getman, President, and the Trustees of the Masonic Hall and Home for their continued diligence and patience. I urge all Districts to plan a trip to this magnificent facility. Have lunch with the residents. See first hand the constant care and improvements that are handled with innovation and dedication. After all, it’s your Masonic Care Community.

The Masonic Medical Research Institute

For over 60 years the research from this entity has been groundbreaking. And more ground is about to be broken. Thanks to the diligent focus of RW Alvaro Quiroga, the President, the Board of Directors of the Institute and its Staff, this facility is now on the global map. Our Director of Research, Dr. Maria Kontaridis continues to attract talent and funding.

Just a few days ago they partnered with our Trustees of the Masonic Hall and Home. The result was a second to none Beatles Concert right here on campus. In addition to the talented scientists, the Institute has added creative staff. Staff that continues to interface with our Grand Lodge regarding creative ideas and positive thinking.

The Chancellor Robert R Livingston Masonic Library

Where can you find a lock of Brother George Washington’s hair along with a hand-written letter from our Brother George Washington? Where can you find certificates and documents that rewrite history books? Where can you find tens of thousands of volumes of books that delve into our New York Grand Lodge and other Masonic Grand Lodges and Bodies around the world? Where? The 14th Floor of Masonic Hall in New York City! And right across the street here in Utica, NY. That’s where! Your Library has books, artifacts and lectures that attract people from around the world.  My thanks to RW Stephen King, the Library Board President, and the Library Trustees and Staff for their continued focus and expertise.

Youth Groups

There is no doubt I have a soft spot in my heart for our youth groups. And this Grand Lodge watches how our youth are treated and listened to very carefully.  This is the 100th year of DeMolay. Triangle and Rainbow are hovering in the 90 plus years and will be at their 100th year, sooner that we think. Your Grand Lodge did not let this Milestone for DeMolay go unnoticed. We celebrated with a ribbon cutting event in the lobby of your Grand Lodge Building and dedicated a window to some of the history of New York DeMolay. It was well attended by local advisors, your Grand Line, the Deputy State Master Councilor Austin Altman and the International Master Councilor Avery Brinkley who was there from California.
You will never regret helping a young person. You will never regret listening to a young person. You will never regret learning from a young person.

Speaking on behalf of our youth groups is Miss Megan Henderson, State Representative of the Organization of Triangles for Girls, Inc. I would ask that the other youth leaders join us here. Good Advisors are really the ones that provide the safe environment, positive coaching, and lend an ear when needed. As such your Grand Lodge recognizes that talent and at this time, I would ask that RW Bruce Hazard to approach the East so that I may present him with the well deserved Youth Award of Grand Lodge.

Masonic War Veterans

These dedicated patriots have reinvented themselves just like our Military. I remember serving in the U.S. Army and every time I heard the word change; I knew it was more work for me. Your Masonic War Veterans were asked to update a few things, while still providing the professional escort and protection of our Flag. They are moving in a positive direction. Our Grand Lodge session saw a 30-year-old veteran, a 30 year old man that is, receive our highest award, the Distinguished Achievement Medal. Brother William Hoover took 9 rounds in his back, chest, arm, and leg as he threw himself in front of others and saved lives. We know that it is Veteran’s Day every day.

Day Care

We are a campus that brings together the young and those a “little bit older”. Miss Elizabeth of the daycare center and her team are very proud of their center. We saw their backyard garden, their playground and the loving care of the team. There is a waiting list to be part of this center.

Greenhouse (also known as the Horticultural Center)

Last year I stood here and spoke about my vision of building a greenhouse. A vision that resonated with more people than I ever expected. Let me cut a years’ worth of updates out and just say that one year ago it was a vision. This year we have a foundation and a cornerstone and thanks to the diligence of RW Robert Raffle, Executive Director of MCC, his staff and our Trustees, the greenhouse structure should be up and running in two months.

You are probably saying that since the greenhouse is going up, we met our financial goal. Not true! I have what they call “a cash advance” and need to clear it out. There are fliers in the narthex that show how you can purchase a brick or two or twenty. That brick will forever show your name, the name of your loved ones, Lodge, etc.

I have spoken to our residents and they are excited. In fact, one group of card playing ladies donated their winnings of $100 to this project.

I continue to embrace the Past Grand Masters who are a collective resource of history and knowledge. I am working with our Grand Secretary, R∴W∴Richard Schulz and Assistant Grand Secretary, R∴W∴Richard Bateman on ways to facilitate expeditious services to our members.

The Grand Secretary’s Office is now open late on TWO nights to serve you. We have cut dispensation requests from weeks to hours. RW James Kintzel and his committee have cut merger requests from years to months. We have ramped up our Membership Awareness to the point that there are lodges telling us not to send anymore candidates. Because they can’t handle them. We will continue to grow in some areas of business and population advances, while those areas of our jurisdiction that suffer from industry loss will also have an impact on our numbers. But no matter what…they are Masons.
R∴W∴Jason Sheridan continues to excel as the Grand Cinematographer, ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to witness Masonry in action.

TELETHON

By the way, does anyone remember we held a Telethon? Not only did we tell the world what the New York Grand Lodge is doing, we told the world what Masonry is doing. We basically challenged the naysayers to come at me and tell me how wrong our charities are, how wrong our research is, how it is wrong that we take care of our elderly, our youth, our veterans, our society, our future. They never came, because they know we are right.

Tonight, there will be additional bonding at your hotels. But not everyone has a place to go and we have a solution. Those who do not have a District or Lodge event to attend, you are cordially and fraternally invited to be my guest at the Grand Master’s House. There will be grills and the typical grilling food. All for you! We want you to be happy that you are here. We want you to be happy that you are a Mason.

As we leave this campus after our Scholarship Presentations tomorrow afternoon, we will have a new sense of purpose. We will go back to our Districts and Lodges with the assurance that your Grand Lodge is here to support you, your efforts and positive ideas.

Our slogan this year has changed. From Building the Future, to Share the Experience. Tell others what we do. One may just be the next Grand Master who joins your Lodge.

I am very proud of you. Your Grand Lodge is very proud of you. Remember, we are not just men…we are Masons! And this is OUR time, and nobody will take it from us.

God Bless each and everyone of you. God bless the purposes of our Masonic Fraternity and God Bless the United States of America.

Fraternally,

William M. Sardone
Grand Master of Masons in the State of New York