Saturday evening, February 2, I had the great honor of representing The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Florida at the 31st Annual Black Creek District Eagle Scout Recognition Dinner held at Orange Park United Methodist Church. I was in good company. In addition to my lovely wife, Rose, I sat at the table with Illustrious Sir Dennis Green, Potentate of Morocco Shine and his Lady, June, RW Frank Kleese, PDDGM and his Lady, Ann, W Jim Gaskins and his Lady, Bonnie. There were representatives of many other civic organizations who wished to share in recognizing these young men for their outstanding achievements.
As Rose and I approached the building I noticed and hailed W Jim Gaskins and his Lady coming up the sidewalk. We greeted and headed to the entrance. As we walked in the door to the auditorium it was immediately apparent we were in the right place. The room was decorated in red, white and blue and was buzzing with activity. I looked around the room as we waited in line at the check-in table. Immediately, I saw Brother Paul Cummins walking briskly in our direction to assist us to our reserved seating. There were smiling and happy people everywhere and an army of people preparing the feast and assisting with setups.
While waiting for all to settle in, I perused the program booklet. The first thing I noticed was that the program itself was of the highest quality. Each of the 39 Eagle Scouts was shown on his own page with picture and bio. Also listed in the program were the names of the 770 Eagle Scouts who were recognized over the past 30 years. It occurred to me that this was quite an elite and exclusive group of men.
Very shortly, we were called to order by the Master of Ceremonies. After a few minutes of welcome and instruction we were given directions to the serving lines and soon sat down to a outstanding steak dinner including baked potato and of course green beans. Our guest speaker came to the microphone at the end of the meal and gave a thorough accounting of the names of famous Eagle Scouts extending back several generations.
Following the introduction of dignitaries, the presenters were organized into a receiving line and each individual Eagle Scout in the class of 2012 was introduced and presented with a variety of certificates suitable for framing as well as appropriate insignia. At this time I had the pleasure of shaking hands and looking each of these young men in the eyes. It was greatly rewarding to see this side of our youth. These young men brought a sense of pride and achievement with them as they graciously accepted recognition with heads held high.
Patrick Farrell, PDDGM
Junior Grand Deacon