From the Personal Representative (January, 2016)

posted Mar 11, 2016, 2:42 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated Mar 11, 2016, 3:18 PM ]

Happy New Years to all and Welcome to 2016!

Well, another year has ended, a new corps of officers is soon to be installed, and it is time to look ahead to another wonderful year in the Valley of San Jose. There were many accomplishments this past year and I am so proud of all we have achieved.

Let me first start this article by congratulating Ill Hal Leister, on being elevated to the rank of Inspector General Honorary or 33 Degree. There were only 23 men in all of California who received the honor. As well, Congratulations are again sent to Brothers, Gregg Hall, Wolfgang Lochner and Bob Laws who were bestowed the rank of Knight Commander of the Court of Honour or KCCH. There were only 51 Brothers who received this honor in California. Well done to all! 

As I stated earlier, our Installation is just around the corner (Tuesday, Jan. 26th) and I thank and congratulate all the officers who will be installed. Please attend and help support those who have taken on a leadership role in the Valley. It is our annual celebration of the new corps of officers and the time to celebrate the New Year. I want to also thank our outgoing Masters who did a marvelous job in 2015. Many thanks go to Brothers Jack Harris, Del Bleiler, Will Montoya and Bud Ramsey as well as our Chief Knight, Jason Barnett. All your efforts were greatly appreciated.

Over the last couple of years, our Valley has taken steps to grow in membership and in holding events that are meaningful for the Valley and its members. If you have not been to a Scottish Rite event for a while, I ask that you come see what is taking place. I think you will be pleased.

This past year we will held our 5th Annual Grand Master recognition “Festive Board” where we honored our Grand Master, MW Russ Charvonia, his Lady Linda and his special project. We look forward to this year in having Most Worshipful David Perry and Lady Jeanette join us for this year’s event.

I am pleased on what has already been scheduled for this year and I look forward to new suggestions from our leadership team. We will again hold two “Nights of Instruction” banquets chaired by Bro. Chuck Cowden. Bro. Chuck will also chair our Military Recognition Night, which has become an annual and very enjoyable event. Bro. Richard Fisher is again chairing our Scholarship Committee, as we will honor another graduating senior on their way to college. Later this month, we will again honor the Masters of our lodges as they complete their term sitting in the East of their particular lodge. We exist only because our Craft Lodges are strong and we wish to honor the men who have held our lodges together.

We will continue some traditional events like our Maundy Thursday Celebration, Sweethearts Night, as well as 25 year and 50 year membership celebrations. And naturally, we will hold our Semi-Annual Reunions for new members this Spring and Fall.

I am particularly pleased on our progression of adding new degree teams for our Reunions. This past year we added two more degrees to our list of conferrals. The Spring Class decided to step up and take on the challenge of hosting a degree. In fact they took on 2 degrees (the 6th and 7th), and their conferral in the Fall was a pleasure to witness. Hopefully we can continue the growth of new candidates to witness the beautiful work being performed by all our degree teams. This past year, we brought in 23 new members. And this year will hopefully be even larger.

There are 25 lodges that make up our Valley’s geographic area. Each of you know at least one member of your lodge that is not a member of the Scottish Rite. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, if we had a candidate from every one of those 25 lodges that make up our Valley? Maybe two? You can help our Valley grow. Don’t be afraid to expound on the great work of our Valley and invite that one member of your lodge to join with us.

This past year, we held a Murder Mystery Dinner and all had a great time. Also for the first time, we attended the Highland Games in Pleasanton. What an exciting day! We held a Movie Night, had dinner in the Saratoga Hills, overlooking the Valley, had a Magical evening (Magician, Hank was amazing) in our own facility as well as our Annual Christmas Party for the kids from our clinic. A special and huge thank you goes to Gregg Hall who has taken on Chairmanship of our new Supreme Council program Called VMAP. It stands for Valley Membership Achievement Project, and exists to raise the level of the member experience and to promote Scottish Rite education. Gregg has done an outstanding job getting this project off the ground, and we have already made great strides in increasing what the Valley accomplishes. These are just a few of the events and projects that were put together by our Masters and line officers this past year. And this year’s Masters have promised an even more exciting year. I can’t wait to see what is in store for us.

Our Foundation is still very strong, but we can always use a new contribution here or there to continue our work. Our clinic continues to do amazing things with our kids and I am very proud of what is being accomplished by our Clinicians. For the past couple of years we have also made sizable contributions to the Grand Master’s project (Raising a Reader and Fire Safety), Masons 4 Mitts, recognition of our DeMolay leadership at their Annual Conclave, treated our local Rainbow Girls to an Ice Cream Social and a day at Great America in honor of their Statewide Project where they raised money to support our kids and the clinic. As well we held our Scholarship program to which I have previously spoken. We were also pleased to be able to make a second installment contribution to the Supreme Council’s House of the Temple, refurbishment project.

For those that have not heard, our Foundation Board has started on a path toward building a new state of the art building which will be our home for many decades to come. We have accepted an offer to lease 5 of our 6.69 acres as well as the current building to a local high-end private school. They plan to refurbish our building as well as build an additional building to handle upwards of 700 students. The lease is for a term of thirty years, but the school has an option to purchase the building around the ten year mark. We are still hammering out the contract, but hope to have it signed sometime this month with an anticipated closing period of nine months. If all goes well, about the late Fall timeframe, we will have to temporarily find a home while a new building is being constructed on the remaining 1.69 acres that we will retain. Discussions are being held with the Hall Board of the Masonic Center across the parking lot to fill our needs. Anyone wishing to discuss the terms of the deal or has questions about why the move, please feel free to contact me any time. We want to be very open about our plans and want to ensure all our members are informed of our plans.

As I do every year, I would like to close this article by speaking about communication. We can only know if we are heading in the right direction if we hear from you. Please give me your thoughts about where we are headed, or what we might not be providing that you would like to see, regarding our Valley? What would excite you to return to an active role? Our Valley is here to support you, but I need to know your thoughts and desires. Please contact me when you think we are failing, but most importantly communicate. You are a valued member and we value your input. The Valley is only successful if you think we have done right. Let us know! I believe that all we have accomplished is in great part to the work of our General Secretary, Bro. Hank and our Executive Assistant, Angela. Please make sure you communicate your thanks to them for all their efforts in keeping the ship in calm waters and heading on the right path. They are invaluable to me, and make my job very easy. I look forward to seeing each of you over this coming year. Come on out and help make a difference! Happy New Year to all!

Ken G. Nagel
Personal Representative

I look forward to seeing each of you over this coming year. 
Come on out and help make a difference!  Happy New Year to all!