From the Personal Representative (January 2018)

posted Jan 8, 2018, 2:17 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Happy New Years to all and welcome to 2018!

     Well, another year has ended, a new corps of officers are about to be installed, and it is time to look ahead to another wonderful year in the Valley of San Jose.

     There were many highlights this past year and we ended strong. We were able to honor and give recognition to some of our members for their outstanding support of our valley. Brothers. Bud Ramsey and Chuck Cowden were coroneted a 33 Degree Inspector General Honorary and Brothers Bergevin, Vlcek, Tefft and Maxey were elevated to the rank of Knight Commander Court of Honor. It was my honor to nominate them and they honor our Valley. Congrats to all.

     We had two very successful Reunions this past year and we brought in 20 new members. Welcome to them all. I want to congratulate the degree teams and support personnel that made the Reunions so successful. A few of our brothers have stepped up and have committed to creating new degree teams for degrees we don’t currently confer. I look forward to witnessing these degrees once complete. Speaking of Reunions, this year will see an event not witnessed in California for decades. The 20 Valleys in California have agreed to hold a joint State-wide Reunion and confer all 29 degrees over a single weekend. This event will be held at the Oakland Scottish Rite Center on June 29th – 30th and July 31st. It will be an intense three day event, but when concluded, will have brought our ritual to life. I hope each of you will reserve this date on your calendar. I have to assume that most of you have not seen all 29 degrees conferred. Our Valley will confer the 19th and 32nd degrees as our part of the weekend. We would like to have as many new candidates as possible, so I challenge each of you to act as a membership committee of one and speak with your brothers in lodge who are not members of the Scottish Rite and bring them to the conferral.

       A special thank you goes to Gregg Hall who is Chairman of our 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. Once again, Gregg did an outstanding job getting making this project a success in our Valley. We completed all necessary facets of the program to be awarded a completion plaque for our efforts in 2017. We will continue this great program in 2018 and plan to do even better.

 Financially, we ended the year in great shape. Both our Bodies and Foundation budgets ended in the black. As the stock market has grown, so too have our investments. We are not naïve to think that this will continue forever, but it has been a blessing this past year. Our new budgets for 2018 have been created and I feel comfortable in our plan. We have the financial where-with-all to do the things we would like to do and I am anxious to see what we can accomplish.

       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, Masons 4 Mitts, recognition of our DeMolay leadership at their Annual Conclave, and we continued our Scholarship program. We were also pleased to be able to make a fourth installment contribution to the Supreme Council’s House of the Temple, refurbishment project.

       As I stated earlier, our Installation is just around the corner (Tuesday, Jan. 30th) and I 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 2017. Many thanks go to Brothers Martin Maxey, Ion Vasilescu, Dell Bleiler and Mark Burger as well as our Chief Knight, TJ Jackson. All of your efforts were greatly appreciated and our successes are your successes.

       For 2018, many of our programs and events will continue. As we did this past year, we will again hold our Annual Grand Master recognition “Festive Board” where we will honor our Grand Master, MW Bruce Galloway, and his Lady Gay. This is always a great event and we look forward to this year’s celebration. Events to look forward to are our 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. We again attend the Highland Games in Pleasanton. What an exciting day! But besides our traditional events, I hope we can add new ones as well. Bro. Driesbach has us scheduled to visit the Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC). We are looking for many new ideas.    

     As in past years, I want to close this article with some thoughts on how we can best serve you. We only know we are doing ok, if we hear from you. Please give me your thoughts about where you see our Valley is heading, or what you would like to see done, 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. I want to thank our General Secretary, Bro. Hank and our Executive Assistant, Angela for all they do for our Valley. Please make sure you stop by the office and thank them for all their efforts. They are invaluable to me, and make my job very easy. I want to also thank Ill Bud Ramsey for assisting me in the role as Assistant to the PR. His support is invaluable.