Monday, January 21, 2008
I was reading Bro. Jay's blog last night about DeMolay and it brought some thoughts to mind. First, I wished when I was a kid that there would have been DeMolay in the town where I grew up. The small town where I grew up did have a lodge, but no DeMolay Chapter. My dad probably would have gotten me in if there would have been a chapter.
About three years ago some brothers in Grinnell tried to revive their DeMolay Chapter. Formerly it was named after Bro. Sharp Lannom who was the owner of DeLong Sportswear. Brothers from a few of the lodges around the area agreed to help out and try to get it going again. Unfortunately the brother who really wanted to "push" this and get it going had some personal problems and things just kind of fell apart. One of the other brothers moved away and the other ones of us were from other lodges, so it was difficult for us to get something going in someone else's lodge. I think some of our brothers that were helping with the Chapter failed to realize that DeMolay is like anything else, it needs promotion!
We did initiate three boys. Two of them have now turned majority. I don't know if we will ever get this going or not. We and the boys decided to name the chapter "Central Iowa"...we all wanted to name it after Bro. Madison Tomfeld, but I guess there is some rule that you can't have a chapter named after someone if they are still living. Bro. Madison was very active in DeMolay in Muscatine when he was a young boy (70 years ago)! He is a Chevalier and is very proud of that.
I always attend at least one DeMolay initiatory ceremony a year (usually the Grand Masters Class). I always enjoy seeing the degree work...the boys do a great job. It seems that Iowa DeMolay might be a little bit on a wane right now. Bro. Shane Harshbarger did a great job when he served as Executive Officer. Shane really worked at DeMolay and we had some years of positive growth in Iowa. With all of the interest being shown in Iowa Masonry, it would seem that DeMolay would also rebound.
It is always interesting to go back and see some famous men who were DeMolays in their boyhood...Bill Clinton, Carl Albert (Speaker of the US House), Walt Disney, John Wayne, Buddy Ebsen (Jed Clampett fame). The list goes on and on. DeMolay is a great organization that helps young boys prepare for adulthood. Our society today certainly needs organizations like DeMolay to teach morals and virtues to our future leaders.