The North Carolina Mason

November/December 2017

North Carolina Mason

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 4 of 15

November/December 2017 The North Carolina Mason Page 5 W hat induced you to become a Master Mason? at's a question I like to ask brethren, and it's also a good question to ask ourselves every now and then. I asked it at WhiteStone just last month, at the annual meeting of the District Deputy Grand Masters and District Deputy Grand Lecturers and I got about 50 different answers. ere were common themes, such as Masons in the family and learning that coworkers and friends were Masons. One brother added an anecdote about shaking hands with Presi- dent Ford, who instantly recognized him as a Mason. I was so engrossed in their stories that it didn't occur to me to answer my own ques- tion. I'll answer it now as a way of introducing myself to you. My Masonic journey began when my cousin Tom Speed enlisted me to help finish the family history he had been compiling for 20 years. Tom was in his 80s and didn't think he would live to finish the book. He was a quiet man living on a quiet street in Oxford, and the most kind and gentlemanly person I've ever known. Tom and his wife Edna were childless and he was utterly dedicated to our Home for Children. Past Grand Master Dan Rice told me that Tom headed Oxford #122's fundraising for the Home in the Oxford community and took the job seriously. During the course of our work on the book, I learned that this mild-mannered and scholarly insurance agent served as an Army Air Corps flight engineer in World War II. He flew missions over the Himalayas – the famed and treacherous "Hump" – hauling gasoline and war materiel that kept the famed Flying Tigers aloft in their fight against the Japanese. Tom faced various health challenges with a quiet wit, describing his maladies with a smile as "geriatric syndrome." Gradually, his health declined. Once when we visited him in the hospital in Oxford we could hear music from the St. John's Day celebration just down the street at the Children's Home. He died five months after I was raised and before we finished the family history. His brother James, also a Mason, his secretary Kathy Webb, and I completed and delivered the manuscript to the School of Graphic Arts at his beloved Home for Children. ey produced a beautiful hardbound book, which we dedicated to Tom. During our time together I learned that Tom and other cousins and uncles I loved were Masons. So was the grandfather who died before I was born, but whose compassion and wit were familiar to me from family lore. If these men were in a group that I could join, sign me up. at's the answer I would have given to the DDGMs and DDGLs gathered at White- Stone. My goal for the meeting was to do more listening than talking, to provide an opportu- nity for the experienced to share their hard- earned wisdom with the newcomers, and to let them know how much I appreciate their work. ese district officers are absolutely crucial to the success of any grand master and to the vitality of the Craft. ey are the Grand Lodge's point men in our 371 lodges and with our 37,604 members. I talked about my priorities, including an emphasis on philanthropy and district-wide activities, the importance of transparency and accountability for Grand Lodge committees, the new committee I charged with evaluating and recommending models for future Grand Lodge governance, and additions to the Lion and Pillar program for 2018. I've been fortunate to serve with grand masters who every year raised the bar and inspired us to clear it. I've learned from them to work hard, every day, to serve North Caro- lina Masons and to settle for nothing less than excellence. ey taught me to act so that, when the time comes to hand the gavel to my successor, I did everything I could to make the most of my time and make a difference. Note well that these lessons apply to lodge officers as well as to grand lodge officers, to masters as well as grand masters. I have ideas for how every one of us – from the youngest entered apprentice to the most experienced Master Mason – can best use our brief time to advance our beloved fraternity. You have ideas too, and I want to hear them. I'll need your support, and you already have mine if you're engaged in the heady business of creating excellence in your lodge. I'm seeing excellence in Masonry across the state, and I see a future that is bright. We know what we need to do to be successful, and we do not need to turn to history to see our best days. I'm excited by the possibilities of the next year and the next decade, and I'm absolutely convinced that the best is yet to come. Brethren, we have the solid foundation, if only we will build on it. We have the rules and maxims, if only we will follow them. e world's greatest fraternity is now in our care. To echo a wise past grand master, a mentor on whose shoulders I stand, let's go to work. ank you for your support and trust, and for all that you are doing and will do to build Masonry for the next generation. From the Grand master Building a solid foundation By Speed Hallman Grand Master It's your choice. If you like getting the North Caro- lina Mason online, you can now opt out of receiving the print version! To stop the mailed paper, send an email to with your name, home mailing address, your lodge and the words: "OPT OUT." That's all you need to do. If you prefer reading it the good old-fashioned way – in print and on paper – do nothing. Your Mason will arrive as usual every other month. Thank you for reading the Mason – in any form! We are happy to bring the paper to you in both forms for as long as there are brothers out there who want to read us! Would you rather do your reading online instead?

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The North Carolina Mason - November/December 2017