By Dean R. Alban, 33°, Director of Member Services
Jacob Vaughan, 32°
My name is Jacob Vaughan. I received my 32nd Degree from the Valley of Olympia, Washington on March 13, 2010. I enjoy reading esoteric studies and being with my family. The Fraternity allows me the privilege of being around good men striving to make themselves, the community, and our country better for all. I regularly attend my Scottish Rite meetings and hope to attend the reunion in Guthrie, Oklahoma, in 2012. Currently I serve as the Junior Deacon of my Lodge. Originally, I joined the Fraternity to make better decisions, but after going through everything I have gone through I can proudly say it has brought me even greater illumination. Also shown is my wife Tonya Mari Parsons, my two beautiful stepdaughters and our first child, Emilia Grace. I am currently going to school for Computer Network Administration.
Benjamin R. Chien, 32°
My name is Benjamin Robert Chien of Dallas, Texas. I am the son of Chinese immigrants who instilled in me a strong sense of family values and morality from an early age. I first learned of Masonry from an uncle, a Master Mason, who told me “Masonry is about making good men better. If you’re interested, just ask.” He belonged to White Rock Lodge of Addison, Texas. In order to seek yet even further light, the natural course was the Scottish Rite. A popular Chinese idiom goes “Wu yi lei ju”, an idea which roughly translates to, “birds of a feather flock together”; to join the Scottish Rite is to surround oneself with those individuals who embody the principles and values instilled from seeking further light in Masonry.
I am an associate in the Investments Division of a Brokerage firm in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy the fellowship of my Brethren and being a part of something greater than myself. I’m proud to be a member of the 2010 Scottish Rite Class.
Samuel Aaron Blair Earl, 32°
My name is Samuel Aaron Blair Earl. I am 30 years old and was born in Fairmont, W. Va. I grew up in Plum Run, W. Va., graduated from North Marion High School, and joined the U.S. Army. I did my basic training in Fort Benning, Ga., and served five years with one year in Sinai, Egypt, and one tour in Iraq. I returned home and married in 2003, and our first daughter was born the same year. I was discharged from the Army in 2004 and we moved to Martinsburg, W. Va., where our second daughter was born in 2007. I work as a heavy equipment operator, as a concrete truck driver and also operate a loader. Then in early 2010 my loving wife passed away. I joined the Scottish Rite to continue my education in the Freemasons and because I am always in search of light.
Troy Melin, 32°
My name is Troy Melin. I was born in Tahoe City, California, and am currently attending the University of Nevada, at Reno. I am set to graduate in May with a major in Political Science and a minor in U.S. History. I enjoy reading, fishing, going to the movies, and enjoying the many wonders of Lake Tahoe. I am also heavily involved in my fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, where I serve as chaplain. In that position, I oversee the religious activities of the chapter and coordinate our rituals and ceremonies. I joined the Scottish Rite because I desired to improve myself in Masonry. The Scottish Rite seemed an important step to take in order to better myself and improve my Masonic knowledge and understanding. My reunion experience was remarkable. It was an enlightening weekend. I was blown away by the degree presentations and richness of the degrees themselves. My entry into the Scottish Rite is a time I will fondly remember for the rest of my life.
Nicholas McGahan, 32°
My name is Nicholas McGahan. At 22 years old, I am an undergraduate student at Drake University currently studying Political Science. I re-enrolled at Drake after my 2009–10 deployment to Iraq in the Al Anbar province with the Marine Corps. I anticipate graduating this spring with my bachelor’s degree, which I hope to follow with a Master’s of Public Administration starting this upcoming fall. My interests include learning about philosophy and different world religions, pursuits which are heavily complimented by what I have been learning through Freemasonry. As for hobbies I would have to say that I have made pursuing all there is to offer in Masonry my hobby. Whether there is ritual to learn, new ideas to pursue or fellow Masons to help out, there is enough to keep me occupied and interested. I joined the Scottish Rite shortly after I was raised in August of 2010. While others may say that they were attracted to the Scottish Rite because it is the next progression of the Blue Lodge degrees, I would have to say I was more interested in the history associated with the Scottish Rite.
Nicky Sampogna, 32°
I am Nicky Sampogna, originally from Long Island, N.Y., and I attended school at The George Washington University, graduating with a degree in International Affairs. I currently work there while pursuing a Master’s degree in Education and Human Development. My Masonic career started when I was initiated in Fraternity Lodge No. 54 under the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia on January 23, 2010, passed in April of that month, and raised to the Sublime degree of Master Mason on January 24, 2010. Wasting no time, I became a 32° Master of the Royal Secret on November 13, 2010, on the Valley of Washington, Orient of the District of Columbia.
Doing an internship at the House of the Temple really got me interested in the Scottish Rite, even before I was made an Entered Apprentice Mason. As the fall reunion neared, I gathered my petition and was lucky enough to have Bro. Ronald A. Seale, 33°, Sovereign Grand Commander, be my first line signer.
Much like all of Masonry, my reunion experience was built on ritual—five fantastic portrayals of the Scottish Rite degrees. While I will admit it was a lot to take on, it only further piqued my interest and made me want to explore the degrees. Since my reunion, I have been actively attending the College of Philosophy—the D.C. Scottish Rite’s ritual workshop held before our meetings. I have really enjoyed my time in the Scottish Rite and can only look forward to meeting more brethren and gaining more light.
Michael Wright, 32°
My name is Michael Wright, born in Alaska and currently teaching the sixth grade in Honolulu. I was raised in 2009. In 2010 I became a Royal Arch Mason, and then journeyed on to become a Select Master and a Knight Templar later on in 2010. I became a 32° Scottish Rite Freemason at the end of 2010. My past official titles within the Blue Lodge have included those of Marshal, Education Committee Chair, and Mentor. Lesley—my beautiful, loving fiancée—and I enjoy the many varied aspects and activities of the Fraternity.
Michael McCullough III, 32°
My name is Michael McCullough III. I was raised May 8, 2010, in Georgia at Clarence H. Cohen Daylight Lodge No. 749. I am in the U.S. Army and relocated to the El Paso area. Immediately after my arrival, I found a lodge to attend and wanted to go further in Masonry and seek more light. I petitioned the Scottish Rite and attended the October 2010 Reunion. It was a beautiful experience. Some of my hobbies include fishing, four-wheeling, and of course Freemasonry.
Adam Johnson, 32°
I am Adam Johnson, and like many other men, I sought to better myself in Masonry as well as in life. I was raised in Statesboro, Georgia, Ogeechee Lodge No. 213, back in 2006. I felt like my journey through Masonry was just in its infancy so I waited to jump into my further degrees. This, in hindsight, may not have been the best decision as there was no real reason in waiting. I was in a transitional phase in my life and I felt that I needed a home base before taking the next step. What I later reminded myself was that, like our forefathers, Masonry, in its most foundational principles was and is about traveling. After settling here in Columbus, Georgia, I took the initiative to call upon a brother in the Valley of Columbus and thus set in motion my journey into the Scottish Rite.
My reunion experience was a once in a lifetime experience that I shared with several hundred other brothers here in the Georgia at the Grand Master’s class the summer of 2010. This experience was breathtaking and exhausting. But when I returned home, I was astonished to realize how much I had retained. I was eager to dive into my new materials and since then I have spent many hours at my desk pouring over Pike’s work and the Good Book searching for more light. I am a better man, not because the Scottish Rite and Freemasonry has made me so, but because they have given me the working tools I need to make a better life and be a better man for myself and my family.
I am the International Student Coordinator at Columbus State University and assist all incoming students from around the world further their educational objectives in the United States. I enjoy fly fishing and hiking with my wife Alysia and dog Tobie. My interests are US Foreign Policy and International Education. I earned my Master of Public Administration from Columbus State University and my Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from Georgia Southern University.
Zachary Elewitz, 32°
I petitioned my home lodge about two years ago as an undergraduate student at Texas A&M University because I was interested in an organization where I could make lifelong friends and actively participate regardless of where I moved after graduation. Through the education I received in the first three degrees and the joy of instructing an Entered Apprentice, I came to appreciate that I would gain the most knowledge and pleasure from my experience as a Mason by learning everything the fraternity had to teach. After discussions with friends much wiser men than myself, I learned about the “University of Freemasonry,” the Scottish Rite. I drove 200 miles to Dallas so I could attend the 386th Reunion and learn the lessons of the Scottish Rite. I sat through a day’s worth of interesting plays depicting further Masonic lessons and morals. I consider the 31st Degree one of the most morally instructive events of my life. I can’t honestly think of another instance where I learned so much about what it means to be a man in so short a time. I joined the Scottish Rite to learn what it means to be a better man and I look forward to living the rest of my life trying to put into practice the lessons I learned. I am currently a graduate student at UTD for pure mathematics, and my hobbies are playing tuba, biking, racquetball, spending time with friends and family.
John Bunting, 32°
My name is John Bunting and I am married to the beautiful Stephanie. I joined the Scottish Rite because Masonry runs in my family. Both my father and grandfather were brothers in the Bay City, Michigan, Scottish Rite. Masonry was always a very positive influence in my father’s life, and I knew early in my life that I wanted to be part of such a wonderful and caring fraternity. I am a member of Mint Hill Lodge No. 742 and was raised only a few weeks before I went through the Scottish Rite Degrees. Unfortunately, my father passed away two years ago from cancer and never got to see me go through my degrees, but I will always have the memories of his life lessons he was taught through Masonry and passed on to me. Every day, I appreciate the opportunities God has given me in my life and welcome the opportunities that Masonry has to offer.
Francis Kua-alii Mansinon Jr., 32°
My name is Francis Kua-alii Mansinon Jr, I was born in San Diego, Calif., to my loving parents Rozlyn and Francis Mansinon. I have three sisters, two older and one younger. I moved to Hawaii in 1993 and attended Kailua High School where I joined the AFJROTC program and graduated with a 3.8 GPA. After High School I joined the Hawaii Army National Guard where I was deployed to Iraq, Kuwait, and the Philippines as an Infantryman. I currently work at UPS as a mail handler and am still a part of the Army Guard. I joined the Scottish Rite to assist my fellow man in any way I can. To be a part of something greater, a society of brotherhood.
For more comments from your new Scottish Rite brothers, please check out www.srmason.net/2010Class.htm.