How many times have we heard that in our Lodge meetings?
We sat down during one of our strategy meetings and said the same thing at Janesville Western Star #55. I seemed to get worse when we analyzed our membership numbers.
Thirty two of our members have fifty years or more of service; sixteen live in Wisconsin but not in Janesville and eighteen live out of state. The title above said it all.
Then we let our imaginations run with a different strategy. Admitting that we are too small to “sponsor”, we could still offer support to already existing efforts within the Community.
Before long we had established seven different efforts and identified a “chair” for each of these efforts as a liaison from the Lodge.
One of these efforts is a Veterans Support Activity. One of our members; Brother Norm Burns is also quite involved wit the American Legion.
When he asked the American Legion how we could help them, they mentioned they could use some help placing flags on the veteran’s graves in Oak Hill Cemetery. The call went out and seven members and six of their family members showed up to assist.
We met at 8:00 and were done by 9:30. There were Veterans groups, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, involved citizens, families and youth. If was a dark day, with heavy rains, thunder and lighting. As we started walking around in the pouring rain throughout the huge cemetery, the mood was jovial with new friendships being formed.
As the flags started sprouting up all around, all of a sudden, it hit me hard, like it had done before at other times. As I stood in solitude listening to the rolling thunder, the crack of lightening and feeling the pouring rain and wind, the lives of these veterans all of sudden took on that special meaning.
I found myself now in a different place, a somber place with the rain drops becoming mixed with salt as I just pondered what these Veterans had gone through for us.
It brought me back to realize just how lucky we are and how much we owe to others as we are taught in many of our Rituals. “Not enough members to do anything?” I don’t think so. I would recommend to each and every Lodge in the State to seek out a Veterans Group (perhaps the American Legion is a good place to start) to work with in and offer your services, nothing big, just a little help
I think you will find, just like our great Fraternity, you will get more out of it than you put into it. I think we just started a new tradition at Janesville and by the way, we made many new friends long the way. Let the rest of the community know who we are and what we stand for.