Saturday, February 21, 2009

Letters to MSgt Sawyer

As many of you know in a week I start my Combat Skills Training course in New Jersey and from there will be deploying with the Army in Afghanistan. The only useful advice I got in the preparation for this life altering event from members in the military was from MSgt Sawyer.

He was deployed in a similar situation, and has already imparted the best advice possible. My last day of my civilian job was this past Friday, and he told me that if I needed to vent or talk about the stressful situation to e-mail him directly about it. Don't tell my wife or family, just him. He said that way I could have an outlet. I have been wanting to start a blog about my experiences with this event, and to save me the time of writing a blog entry, I am going to copy and paste my e-mails to MSgt Sawyer in the blog.

So if you care to read about the journey and experiences, I invite you to read , I know the language will be harsher than it has been in this blog, just in case you are offended by such a thing.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

My Weekend with Chris Hodapp

The 31st of January was the 84th anniversary of Perfect Union #10 a lodge I affiliated with about a year ago. The lodge has a younger line up, while most of it’s members are in their seventies. The Worshipful Master asked me if I knew of any good Masonic speakers, and Bro Hodapp was the first brother to pop in my mind. I went ahead and took the chance and e-mailed him to see if he could speak at the banquet, it was a chance I was glad I took.

I only knew Bro Hodapp from his books and his blog, and was unsure of the type of man he is, my wife was insistent that he was most likely a stuffed shirt, and not to be disappointed if all he does is sit and talk to himself all day long, thankfully she was wrong. Chris is a man who is easy to talk to and his knowledge of Freemasonry and his boldness on the subject is very refreshing. I don’t mean this in any sycophantic way, but rather as the God’s honest truth. Chris Hodapp is to Freemasonry what Suze Orman is to personal finance, when you watch her show people will call and ask some ridiculous questions about cashing in their 401k to pay for their credit card debt. Suze Orman will be firm yet funny in telling them that the individual has wasteful spending habits and they need to change their ways. While some Masonic speakers will lament on how the glory days of Freemasonry lie during 1948-1955, and that the hope of Freemasonry is putting an emphasis on Shrine membership, Chris Hodapp challenges the brothers to stand up and the opportunity to make Freemasonry relevant in today’s society. While our elders and leadership constantly tell us what we want (cheaper, faster, sloppier) he talks about how they never ever really asked us (the younger masons) what we want.
He is part Masonic educator and motivational speaker, when you hear him talk he puts the fire in your belly that makes you want to make a difference in your local lodge. His bold and righteous stance on some unpopular items, inspire you to have more courage and to stand up to those that disagree.

After he left I felt lucky, not only to meet and get to know him, but that Freemasonry is greatly enhanced by his presence.