Last Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the Cornerstone laying ceremony for the American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge facility in Iowa City...WOW, What a neat place! I wore my commandery uniform down to the ceremony, so I could walk with the Sir Knights and form the arch of steel for the Grand Master. We had 29 Sir Knights in attendance, so it was a very nice showing. It has been a long time since I saw that many knights at a cornerstone ceremony.
The facility is located directly west of Hawkeye-Carver Arena. It is directly adjacent to a wooded area and is lower than the parking lot of Hawkeye-Carver, so it is somewhat secluded. The building is built to resemble a Frank Lloyd Wright "prairie style" architecture. The exterior is brick, stone, and wood. The builidng is three stories high, one story under grade level and the other two above.
After the ceremony, we were given a tour of the facility. There is going to be 29 suites in the building. No televisions in indivdual rooms, that is to force the patients out into group settings where they can mingle with other patients and their families. I was impressed with the woodwork in the building, it is all walnut. The fireplaces in the lounge areas are all built out of stone. One of the big lounge areas will be dedicated to the Masons of Iowa. It is a very spacious room with a big stone fireplace and a walkout to a deck area that looks into the trees. It is all so peaceful and serene.
The Iowa City facility has hired their first employee, a manager who had been on the job less than a week. They already have a waiting list of patients and are expecting to start receiving patients in late September.
I know Grand Master Mosier took some flack about his resolution for $250,000 to support Hope Lodge. Some in my own lodge were against it. I personally was for it. The Masons of Iowa need to get behind a big project that will help others out. That is part of what being a Mason is all about...helping your fellow human beings. Hope Lodge will be a wonderful facility and it will help many, many people during some difficult times in their lives.
The cornerstone by the front door impressed me. It had the square and compass engraved on it and then directly underneath said "Faith, Hope, and Charity". How neat. Faith by all who had the dream to build it; hope to sustain those will use it; and charity towards those who will use it and their families.