Rural Missouri - December 2012 - (Page 22)

Grand Master Dave Ramsey builds on the traditions of Freemasonry Members wear rings and other symbols of their Masonic affiliation. They take part in parades as members of the Shriners. Many, including Dave, have hen Dave Ramsey walls covered with Masonic honors. joined the Masonic “If we were a secret organization, Lodge in Savannah do you think we would do that?” he in 1990, he let it be asks. known that he would not be an active A better description of the group member. The demands of raising a is a society with secrets, not a secret family while attending college at society. Most Masonic ceremonies night seriously limited his free time. are open to the public. Only the “For the first five years, I did not group’s initiations and recognition attend a meeting because I just didn’t handshakes are not shared with nonhave time,” he says. “We put God and Masons. family first. That’s the order in which One motto of the group is that it you’ve got to do it.” takes a good man and makes him betBut once life settled down, he dove ter. “That’s part of it for sure,” Dave into the world’s oldest and largest frasays, “but I kind of prefer the thought ternal organization with both feet. His process that Freemasonry is a place efforts paid off in September when he where men of all walks of life can was installed as the Grand Master of meet together with a common bond.” the Grand Lodge of Missouri. Among the men in line to succeed The path to Grand Master — a linDave as Grand Master are a computer eage Dave now shares with Harry S. programmer, a banker, a chemist, an Truman, who held the title from 1940 attorney, a truck salesman and a highto 1941 when he was a U.S. senator — way patrolman. These men include took eight years. another electric cooperative connec“The Grand Master looks around tion. Brent Stewart, legislative and the state and finds someone who is regulatory counsel for the Association active and who he thinks will conof Missouri Electric Cooperatives, is tribute some leadership skills that will third in line to be Grand Master. benefit the organization,” says Dave, In addition, Tom Howard, manthe former manager of Tri-County ager of Callaway Electric Cooperative, Electric Cooperative in Lancaster and holds the title of Grand Sword Bearer. current manager of the Energy EffiThis is an honorary position ciency Program at Assoappointed by the Grand Master. ciated Electric Coop• “I believe Dave is a class act erative in Springfield. Savannah no matter what he does, in “Someone eight years ago particular in Masonry,” says thought that was me.” Tom. “He is a very sincere, Dave was attracted to professional and carMasonry while working as ing individual. Those an electrician in his homeare three of the traits town of Savannah and later of Masonry, and he will as an employee of United excel as Grand Master.” Electric Cooperative. “I knew a lot of Tom adds, “My family for generaMasons,” he says. “I admired a lot of tions have been Masons. One of the them. I felt like it was something I things that Masonry teaches you is to wanted to be a part of.” be a good person and also to believe He completed the three-part in charity.” apprenticeship and became a Master Dave says what interested him was Mason in 1991. His son, Tim, also the Masonic traditions that date back joined the Savannah Lodge. to 1717, the year the Grand Lodge of Dave is a member of a dozen affiliEngland was established. The group ated Masonic organizations, including spun out of the skilled bricklayers Scottish Rite, York Rite, High Twelve, and stonemasons who built the great National Sojourners and the Shricastles and cathedrals of Europe. ners. He served on the board of the From England, the order spread to Masonic Home Association, a charity the United States. Most of the nation’s that provides financial assistance and founding fathers were Masons. counseling to members of the frater“What attracted me and kept me nity, both as an elected member of the interested in coming back is the fact board and as a Grand Lodge officer. that we are doing something that has As the latest Missouri Grand Masbeen done the same way for a long, ter, he hopes to clear up the misconlong time. There is a tradition to it. It ceptions people have of the group, takes me back to that lineage of Harry especially the belief that it is a secret Truman, George Washington, Thomas order. He points out that the state’s Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin.” approximately 370 Masonic Blue Masonry got its start in Missouri Lodges all have a sign right out front. Masonic message by Jim McCarty spreading the W Dave Ramsey is the latest in a long line of Missourians to hold the title Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Missouri. He is a 26-year veteran of the rural electric program, having worked at United, Tri-County and Associated electric cooperatives. in 1821, the same year it became a state. In Missouri there are more than 41,000 Masons. “What we are seeing now is that the younger men, 30 and under, want to belong to something that has a charitable aspect to it,” says Dave. “Freemasonry provides charitable assistance of almost $4 million a day between the Shriner’s Hospitals, the Masonic Homes, the hearing centers for the York Rite and so on. A lot of our appended bodies have a charitable aspect to the organization.” To join, a person must be 18 years old, profess belief in a supreme being and be of good character. The candidate must get two Master Masons to sign their petition. Then the lodge votes on whether to admit him. If accepted, he becomes an Entered Apprentice. The next degree is Fellow Craft, followed by the highest order, Master Mason. These degrees represent different stages of personal development. However, the person is encouraged to find his own answers to life’s philosophical questions. While the Bible — or similar religious books for lodges with members of other faiths — is always on display, discussion of politics and religion is strictly forbidden at Masonic lodges. This is in keeping with the philosophy that people from all walks of life are welcome. Dave believes Masonry’s acceptance of all offers hope for world peace. Recently, his duties as a lodge officer took him to Fredericktown where he witnessed a re-enactment of an event that took place during the Civil War. Federal troops overran the Madison County courthouse there, and soldiers made off with Masonic emblems from the lodge, which met in the courthouse basement. The Union officers, who were Masons, recognized the importance of the items. They called for a truce and returned the emblems to their Confederate counterparts. “That story is not uncommon,” Dave says. “You hear of many situations where people would realize the other person was a Mason. They would try to get along despite their differences.” He tells of a recent initiation for a Muslim man. The initiation was done by a Christian member, and he was given a lecture by a Jewish Mason. “Wouldn’t it be nice to get along like that all the time?” Dave asks. “We just have to realize there are a lot of good men out there.” To learn more about the Missouri Grand Lodge, call 877-226-2766 or visit 22 WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - December 2012

Rural Missouri - December 2012
Table of Contents
Faith in fruitcakes
Best of rural Missouri
Pursuing dreams
Out of the Way Eats
Beauty from math and metal
Spreading the Masonic message
Hearth and Home
Rooted in Missouri
Around Missouri

Rural Missouri - December 2012