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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes March 2004

Operation Phone Home

Operation Phone Home is a campaign designed with the goal of providing prepaid international phone calling cards to as many military men and women serving overseas as can be reached. It will be an ongoing effort as long as American Military Personnel serve overseas, particularly in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Balkans.

The Masonic Service Association, on behalf of the Masonic fraternity, has entered into an agreement with the USO to participate in this program. MSA has met all of the requirements necessary to have a web site presence and a link to the USO web page and to have a Masonic Logo on the phone card. The card will include the logo of the USO, the participating phone company (AT&T), and the American Flag. On the left side of the card will appear the Square and Compasses and the words Compliments of America's Freemasons.

Anyone wishing to participate in this program may send a donation marked Operation Phone Home to the address below.

All of the monies received will go to this program and an accounting will be made by MSA at the end of each calendar year.

Thank you very much for your help!

Overcoming Tornado Damage

The Grand Lodge of Tennessee, partnering with Habit for Humanity, build a new home in the Grand Master's District each year. This year another home, built by Masons, had an even more special meaning. Thomas Boduch, a Tennessee Mason and Director, The Grand Masters' Work Project sent MSA the following story:

In November 2002, deadly tornadoes struck Morgan County. Many brethren sustained damage or total destruction to their homes. One Masonic widow, who is raising three grandchildren, lost everything.

Brethren from District 20 partnered with brethren from Morgan County, Districts 18 and 19 and rebuilt her home. Most of the needed materials were donated.

The house was dedicated on Sunday, February 15, 2004.

Three Senior DeMolays Give Their Life in Service to Country

The War in Iraq, as many other wars, has been very costly to DeMolay. As of press time, we know of three young men who have given their lives for their country. DeMolay International was deeply saddened to hear of the deaths of two DeMolays in a very short period: Tristan Aitken on April 4, 2003 and Jason Meyer on April 8, 2003. With heavy hearts, we report news of the third DeMolay to lose his life in Iraq: Todd Bryant on October 31, 2003. Following are short obituaries of the three.

Brother Tristan Aitken

Brother and Captain Tristan N. Aitken, Senior DeMolay of State College Chapter in Pennsylvania, was killed in an ambush near the Baghdad Airport on April 4, 2003. Aitken was a proud member of the U.S. Army. He was an avid athlete and an Eagle Scout. Aitken is survived by his wife, Margo; his father, Ron; his Mother, Ruth; and his sister, Terryl.

Brother Jason Meyer

Brother and Private First Class Jason Meyer, Senior DeMolay, PMC, and Chevalier of Livingston County Chapter, Michigan, was killed at the Baghdad Airport on April 8, 2003. Upon completion of U.S. Army One-Unit Training, Meyer was assigned to Bravo Company, 11th Engineers, 3rd Infantry Division at Ft. Stewart, Georgia. He was deployed on January 23, 2003. He is survived by his wife Melissa; his mother, Kathleen; his step-father, Chris; his father, Loren; his step-mother, Deb; and his brother, Jonathon. Jason was also a member of Howell Lodge #38, and he and Melissa had recently joined Eastern Star together.

It has recently come to our attention that at Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place for all three young men, Jason Meyer and Tristan Aitken are buried next to each other. They were killed just days apart, both at the Baghdad Airport in Iraq. It is because of this timetable that they are buried next to each other-Jason was buried in the last service on Monday-Tristan in the first service on Tuesday. It is unclear if the two Masonic brothers knew each other, but what a wonderful twist of fate that the two are buried next to a Brother rather than a stranger.

Brother Todd Bryant

Brother and U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Todd Bryant, Senior DeMolay and PMC of Riverside Chapter in Southern California, was killed in Al Fallujah, Iraq, on October 31, 2003. Bryant came from a military family, and his determination to serve was so strong that he took basic training during the summer before his senior year of high school. Bryant graduated from West Point in 2002. He knew well the realities of military life and told his parents that he would like to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, should the worst happen. He is survived by his wife, Jenifer; his father, Larry; his mother, Linda; his brother, Timothy; and his sister, Tiffany.

Please keep the families of these young men and all of our young men and women who are serving in the military in your thoughts and prayers. For a complete listing of DeMolays and Senior DeMolays who are serving in the military, please visit DeMolay's web site at www.demolay.org

(Source: DeMolay News Release)

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