Sunday, January 13, 2013

Richard, My Brother, My Friend

Freemasonry in its current state means that younger Masons such as myself become close to men who are 40 years our senior, and feel their loss much more than the average American, I was reminded of this fact again this past Saturday, when I received the phone call that my brother, and friend Richard Adaszczyk passed away.

In 2006 when my job ended in Laredo, TX I thought it was time I became a Mason.  When my Grandmother died in August of 2006 my mother gave me all of my Grandfather's Masonic goods.  I read some about the fraternity, and really thought that this is where I want to be going.  I found a lodge through the Grand Lodge of Texas Website, called Army Lodge #1105.  I sent Richard who at the time was the Secretary of the Lodge, an e-mail requesting more information.  He called me a day later as I was packing out of Laredo, the conversation went something like this:

Me: "Hello?"

Richard: "This Vick?"

Me: "Yes, who is calling?"

Richard "This is Richard Adaszczyk from Army Lodge, you wanted to know more about being a Mason?"

Me: "Yes, I do"

Richard "So what do you want to know?"

While this conversation may seem confrontational to most, I realized that bound that we had at that moment that can't be described to most men.  A young officer interacting with a hardened SNCO, trying to steer the young officer, but being hard at the same time.  He told me where to show up on the second Tuesday of the month around 1800, to meet some of the guys.

I was nervous, I showed up and sat in the parking lot.  After being waived in, I went to our lodge office and there were 5 men in there, and Richard was sitting behind the desk and said "Who are you?"  I responded "I am Vick, I talked to a Richard Adaszczyk?"  I butchered the pronunciation of his name he then corrected me and said "So you want to know about Masonry?  There is over a hundred years of Freemasonry in the room, what do you want to know?"  I asked him about the lodge and he started to explain.

He was gruff, and to the point, again there was the bound between SNCO and young officer.  He gave me an application and told me to fill it out.  When I asked about costs for the fraternity I thought it would be in the thousands, it was nothing, and he told me "Don't worry about it, you are young.  A working professional"

After initiation  my instructor, and Masonic inspiration, Garland Kreger said about Richard "I could call him up in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve, needing his help.  He would cuss, complain, but would come out and help me out."

I can't think of a better way to explain Richard.

Richard became apart of the three great pillars in my Masonic mentoring, the mentors I learned to count on and lean on understanding my masonic journey.  Richard recognizing my interests in Freemasonry beyond the memorization encouraged me to present more about Freemasonry in lodge, my first presentation of Freemasonry was on the Traditional Observance Lodge movement in America.  He was skeptical of the movement, and again asked hard questions, but than there was  that unspeakable bound of brotherhood and service to this country.

When the deployments to Afghanistan started, unfortunately Richard's and I relationship changed and not for the better.

I became disconnected from my brothers, and especially Richard.  It doesn't help that when you are in a warzone you carry a very large chip on your shoulder.  You feel like everything you do is in vain, you see death all around you, it becomes so futile.  So any interaction from home becomes overly hurtful when not sweet and loving.  Richard was never sweet and loving, but he cared, and he cared a lot.

In December 2011 when I was elected as Senior Warden to Army AMD Council #373, Richard came as our treasurer   We sat in the office and talked, and I expressed some of my issues.  He was sympathetic and pretty much told me he had no idea.  It really helped me move on, whether he knew it or not.

In spring of 2012 I sat in lodge for the last time to date, during that stated meeting I sat next to my mentor, my friend and my brother, Richard Adaszczyk.  I put my arm around him and enjoyed his company.  I for the first time, in a long time, felt at home in my mother lodge.  I didn't go back after that, not out of any conscious choice, because life became busy for me, and my other vocational and Masonic obligations.

I have lost a lot of friends and soldiers in my life, I have lost men to suicide, drug addiction, the hands of our enemies and pure accident.  Those are hard pills to swallow.  Richard wasn't doing well for a while, and we all knew it.

Still, I don't want to go back in that lodge room, open it in a EA, FC or MM without him there.  I know I will sooner or later, but it just doesn't seem right

I am thankful to God for being blessed to know Richard Adaszczyk.  He initiated me into this great fraternity, encouraged me and guided me.  He has become ingrained in my Masonic journey and was acting WM when I was initiated, and I am so happy for that.

So as I move forward with things, and my Masonic journey, Richard will always be alive and a corner stone in my Masonic foundation.

Thank you Richard and I know you are in the comfort in the bosom of God and his Son Jesus Christ.

-Bro Vick

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