We are at the half-way point of the state-wide stay-at-home order from Governor Ivey. I sincerely hope each of you remain unaffected by this virus which has drastically changed our daily lives. As we are now in the fifth week of COVID-19, I truly miss attending Lodge and being with my Brothers. Like so many things in life, it is very easy to take the Lodge for granted. I have been attending my lodge each Monday night for thirty years. I have also been visiting many different lodges on other nights and most Saturdays for many years. Now that there are no regularly scheduled lodge meetings during the COVID-19 event, it seems almost surreal. In March, we were attending multiple degrees each week and visiting other Grand Jurisdictions and then suddenly, everything halted. There is definitely a void in my life now. Not just attending the meetings and conferring degrees (which I enjoy very much), but the most important part is spending time with men to whom I have become so very close and truly enjoy their company. Also, the many opportunities we have to sit down together and break the bread of fellowship as we confer, with great proficiency, the Masonic Knife and Fork Degree. I look forward with great anticipation to being able to visit with my Brethren in the near future and renewing our dedication to our Great Fraternity.
I would also encourage each of us to take care of one another during the COVID-19 pandemic. I am sure there are some Brethren among us who may need some relief during this time and we should give as liberally as we can without injury to ourselves. I would like to give a personal example of a Brother taking care of a Brother. Completely separate from the COVID-19 crisis, the severe storms and tornados that hit Alabama on Easter Sunday impacted many of our Brothers and my home in Blount County was in the path of the damage. As many of you know, my Dad and I live next door to each other in beautiful downtown Remlap, Alabama. While our houses did not suffer any damage and all of us were unharmed, we did lose power from Sunday until Tuesday evening. I am working in Montgomery in support of the COVID-19 response and my family as well as my parents remained in Remlap. My wife, Aletha, posted her status on Facebook and completely unsolicited, our Right Worshipful Grand Historian, Brother Steve Rusk, drove from Mount Olive to Remlap and brought a generator to power our freezer to prevent any loss of food. I cannot express how much I appreciate RW Brother Steve doing this for us. However, his unselfish actions are indicative of what so many of you do each day. You Live Masonry. Freemasonry is so many things to so many people, but one of the basic tenets of our Brotherhood is taking care of each other in a time of need. Always remember, as Entered Apprentices, we are taught that the Tenets of our Order are Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. Let these Principles be the focus of all our efforts during the remainder of April. I pray you and your family remain safe and healthy until we are able to meet again.