By Stan Dodd, 33°
Assistant Director of Membership
So many people have commented on the opening 2011 Biennial Session videos and how much they enjoyed all of the different stories that they are being re-released for your viewing enjoyment. Go to www.scottishrite.org/videos, watch the videos for yourself, and see what everyone is talking about.
I count as one of the joys in my position being able to meet our members and hear the stories of their lives and backgrounds. We have so many great members and I appreciate their willingness to open up and share with us the narrative of their lives.
People like Ill. Paul Friedlander, 33°—remember the policeman that gave Ill. Dean Alban his ticket? In Paul’s real life he is the head of the Washington, D.C., bomb squad. I don’t think I’d describe his job as boring, would you! Paul is an active member of the Valley of the District of Columbia.
Back in the fall of 2010 we were looking to spotlight members from around the Jurisdiction in some of our videos. On a trip to Tennessee, Ill. Dan Jones, 33°, the General Secretary of the Nashville Valley, set up several interviews for us that were especially successful for our purposes. One of those interviews was with Rabbi Rami Shapiro, 32°. Surely one of the brightest minds in Scottish Rite, his passion for the mystic and the symbolism of the fraternity is infectious. Rami makes me want to study our degrees more and look at them from a different perspective.
While in Joplin, Missouri, we met Dr. Nathan Box, 32°. When you first meet Nathan the first thought that strikes you is how unassuming and humble a person he is. It is even more so when you discover that he is a plastic surgeon focusing on head and neck injuries, a subspeciality of otolaryngology. And yet when you listen to him and hear that what he learned from the Scottish Rite degrees was that sooner or later a man determines that it is not all about himself but about helping others, you know you have found someone special. So it comes as no surprise that during Scottish Rite reunions in Joplin, you will find Dr. Nathan Box, Otolaryngologist, washing dishes after each meal, serving his fellow brothers.
The Skype calls that we made at the beginning of the video were again the product of our brothers stepping up to show the breadth of our fraternity as we reached around the world and spoke with Danny Gonzales, stationed in Sharana, Afghanistan, Owen Sheih from Honolulu, Hawaii, or Olimipiu-Mircea Bucin Cluj from Napoca, Romania. It is at times like this that it really hits home as to the broad reach that Scottish Rite Freemasonry has in our world. I often think that we do not appreciate the ability we have to connect with members not just in the next state but literally around the world.
We are hardly the most sophisticated users of technology, but we have been able to reach out to our members in new and exciting ways. Our members were able to watch the opening session from home and thus expand the number of viewers for the hundreds present at the hotel to thousands and thousands present on the Internet.
The credit for our opening sequence really belongs to all of the members that gave of their time and energy; those that allowed us to film and speak with them from around the globe. I thank them for everything they did to make the 2011 Biennial Session special!