by Darrin D. Catts, District Deputy Grand Master, 42nd Masonic District
Near the end of my first year as a District Deputy Grand Master, a Worshipful Master in my district informed me that a member of his lodge needed a significant amount of financial support for a very challenging medical issue. We knew the amount of support needed would far surpass his lodge’s ability to provide. I asked him to provide me a breakdown of the expenses and the entire amount that was needed for this member to undergo treatment. He was accepted into a clinical trial for a promising cancer treatment, and was very excited about the possibilities of this treatment, but he was also very concerned about his ability to meet the financial demands of participation in this program.
The next day, I received an itemized list of expenses from the Worshipful Master, totaling around $8,000, which would only cover the co-pays and other medicines. Their very small lodge couldn’t provide this level of needed support. I concluded that the Scottish Rite Almoner’s Fund would be a great place to ask for these desperately needed funds. I wrote to the Secretary of the Valley of Harrisburg, informing him of the reasons for this need and asking for our petition to be considered in the whole amount of $8,000 for the costs associated with this trial.
I sent the letter via email at 8 a.m. By noon the same day, I had been copied on the replies to my request. By 4 p.m. that same day, I was copied on another email to the Grand Almoner directing him to issue a check in the entire amount without delay to deliver to the member in need.
I called the member at his home to give him the news that our beloved fraternity would be covering all out-of-pocket costs associated with this potentially lifesaving treatment program. This brother was so incredibly touched and thankful, he could barely speak. He then quickly asked if he could call me back in a few minutes. I asked him what was wrong. He stated that his wife had just left to go to Target and Walmart to apply for a job so that they could have the money they needed to participate in this trial. He wanted to tell her that the costs were covered, and they only needed to worry about his recovery. I wished them the very best blessings and informed him I would be seeing him soon to deliver the funds.
Just over a week later, I had the privilege of presenting him the check to cover his expenses for the trial. Moments like this illustrate how very fortunate I am to be a member of our beloved and gentle Craft.
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