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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes January 2014


Masons Contribute Time To Veterans Groups

Men, who are active in the Masonic Fraternity, often make significant contributions in leadership to other organizations, particularly those that serve our U.S. Military Veterans. Many examples of this exist, but here are two that recently came to our attention:

  • Joseph W. Johnston, of Williamsburg, Ohio, has been elected National Commander of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), a 1.2 million-member organization. He has been active in working for the interest of Veterans and their families on Capitol Hill. Brother Johnson is a Vietnam and Persian Gulf War Veteran. He was an Army ranger and paratrooper, and is a member of the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame.

In Masonry, Brother Johnston has been an Ohio Mason for 32 years. He is a Past Master of Hamer Lodge #228, and is a Past District Deputy Grand Master of the 6th Masonic District. Since his military retirement, Brother Johnston has worked for nonprofit organizations

  • Alexander Kovac, of Miami, Florida, also shares time between Masonry and the DAV. He recently completed his term as the Florida State Commander for the DAV, and in that role, was called to Washington, DC, to lobby to elected officials and staff members on Capitol Hill on behalf of veterans. In one of those visits, he met with Erik K. Shinseki, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

In Masonry, Brother Kovac has been a member of South Miami Lodge #308 since 1981. A native of Yugoslavia, he is a retired Army Veteran and subsequently served as an international diplomat, working with several U.S. government agencies. Since 2009, he served - the Association as Hospital Representative for the Miami VA Medical Center.


Winston Churchill On Procrastination

As we enter a New Year with new goals and ambitions, these words from Brother Winston Churchill may be a good initial "charge" for 2014:

"The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences."


From 1983 - The Lodge Computer'

While going through hundreds of Short Talk Bulletins from over the years as the Masonic Service Association has been moving to a new office location, many interesting topics have appeared.

One that was particularly eye-catching was the 1983 Short Talk entitled, "The Lodge Computer." Home computers were just starting to catch on and many small businesses and offices were still relying on typewriters.

But a Short Talk Bulletin was already providing advice for those Lodges that might be interested.

Donald M. Robey, at that time Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Virginia and an early advocate of the personal computer, wrote the Short Talk. It provided background and analysis on types of computers, screens, disk drives, and printers that would be best for use by a Lodge.

Brother Robey later became Grand Master of Virginia and from 1989 to 1999 was Executive Director of the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, VA.




Ball Brothers Were Noted Masons

Have you heard of Ball Jars? Or Ball State University?

Five brothers founded Ball Bros. Co. in 1880 with a loan of $200 from their uncle. After a start with a few other products, they began making glass home-canning jars in 1884, a product that established Ball as a household name.

The brothers - Edmund, Frank, George, Lucius, and William - moved the company in 1987 from Buffalo, NY, to Muncie, IN, to take advantage of abundant natural gas reserves essential to making glass.

The Ball Bros. Company no longer makes the canning jars, but has grown into a worldwide metal packaging company. It manufactures on four continents and is now headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado.

Sometime after their successful move to Muncie, a small private teacher training school there failed. The Ball Brothers purchased the land and buildings of the defunct institution and donated them to the State of Indiana. The gift became the Indiana State Normal School Eastern Division in 1918. After a few other names changes, the Indiana General Assembly put the Ball name on the school, which is now Ball State University. The winged statue, "Beneficence," stands on the campus today as a tribute to the family.

Several members of the Ball family were active in Freemasonry in Muncie. Edmund, Frank, and George were members of Muncie Lodge #433, as well as the York and Scottish Rite bodies in Muncie. Edmund Ball served as Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery, Knights Templar, of Indiana in 1946-47.


Use 'Emessay Notes' For Lodge

MSA encourages Lodges to make use of any information in this Emessay Notes publication, such as reprinting articles in their own newsletters.

Emessay Notes dates back at least to March, 1978. In recent years, the publication was sent to about 3,000 addresses each month. Now, realizing the value of some of the information, MSA has widened the mailing list of Emessay Notes to the more than 20,000 recipients of the Short Talk Bulletin.

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