It is now 10 years later, and I sit here typing this very relaxed and unburdened. I just completed a year of serving as the Most Illustrious Grand Master of the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of South Carolina, the fourth year as a Grand Officer in the Grand Council. This year caps 10 years of a very active Masonic life.
In the Blue Lodge, I progressed through the chairs and ultimately served as Master of Divver Lodge #349, AFM. What a wonderful group of brothers! During that year, we had several new members join, we had major roof repairs, and the crowning joy was in a brother stepping up and offering to paint and redo the lodge room. His family donated paint and supplies, and several brothers found church pews to replace the old theater chairs. In the end, the lodge room had been beautifully transformed.
After joining the York Rite, I became very active, and I immediately began serving in several officer positions, culminating in leading the three bodies as Excellent High Priest, Illustrious Master, and Commander. Over the next few years, I served in various Grand Officer positions in the Grand York Rite, and in 2014, I was elected Rite Illustrious Grand Captain of the Guard, the fourth seat in the Grand Officer line of the Grand Council. I progressed through the line, and in 2017, I was elected and installed as Most Illustrious Grand Master of the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of South Carolina. This was a wonderful opportunity to serve the Grand York Rite by traveling around the state and visiting all of the local York Rite bodies. I focused on unity within the York Rite as well as among the other Masonic organizations, particularly the Blue Lodge. I also challenged the members to think outside the box when it comes to business meetings to encourage them to bring new and interesting topics to the meetings. The only way to encourage and increase attendance is to provide interesting and useful education.
My Masonic journey has taught me that to be an effective leader, you must be able and willing to be a servant. My tenure as Illustrious Grand Master was not to dictate or change things for change sake. It was to serve the bodies by modeling the ideals of the Craft in hopes that others will follow my lead. I can say with certainty that I was successful in that.
Though things are quiet right now, I continue to be active ad Chaplain at Divver, I continue to serve the York Rite, and I am the Chairman for the CMMRF charity for the Grand Council. While I look forward to an easier year, I also look forward to new challenges and more responsibilities in the future.