Richard Korn, WM, Ashland Lodge No. 294
Our journey began in 2010. I was at a restaurant in Northern PA for bear camp when an older gentleman asked me if I was a Traveling Man. I said “Yes,” thinking he meant do I travel for work? My friend (who I had no idea was a Mason) whispered to me. “No, he means are you a Mason?” I was taken aback, as I really didn’t have much knowledge of the fraternity at that time.
When I got back to the cabin, another friend told me he was also a Mason and very active in the fraternity and a few appendant bodies. I asked him “How does one become a Mason?”
“To be one, ask one,” he said, and started to explain it to me. He said, “I’ve known you for a long time and I think you will enjoy it.”
A few months passed, and he came to my house with a petition which he and his brother had both signed. Now, I was getting really curious. I showed it to my family and explained what I was told. My oldest son, Richard, said “That’s cool, Dad. You should join!” But I was busy with work and family (including coaching my boys in Little League).
I said, “Maybe when you get old enough, we will join together.”
I clipped it to the side of the refrigerator and forgot about it for a few years. In October 2016, Richard had just finished his Eagle Scout project and was getting ready to go to college. I showed the petition to him again and said, “Do you want to do it together?”
“Sure,” he said.
I reached out to my friend and said “We are ready to join!”
He took our petitions. We went through the investigation process and the prayers of our petitions were granted. Because of Richard going to college, we decided to do the one-day class. We were given a date and attended the one-day class. Afterwards, we both said “Wow!” We were blown away with the details and trying to process the event.
Attending our first stated meeting was great. Everyone was very welcoming and friendly – eager to answer questions and explain in detail. As Richard headed back to college, I filled in at the lodge wherever was needed and learned through “trial by fire.”
In 2018, Richard graduated from college. My younger son, Ryan, who was graduating high school, saw the camaraderie we had in Freemasonry and asked to join. However, our stated meeting was being held a day shy of his 18th birthday, so we asked for, and were granted, a dispensation from Grand Lodge to have him join before the lodge was called off from labor for the summer. Then, just like Richard and I, he was raised in October!
I moved through the chairs, and they followed, with Richard becoming the Senior Warden and Ryan becoming the Junior Warden when I was Worshipful Master– all not knowing it was a pretty rare occurrence for a father, son and son to hold all three officer chairs in a year. I asked our elder lodge members if this ever happened, to which they replied, “Not in this lodge.” (The closest we ever were was having three brothers filling the chairs in the same year.)
In January 2023, we were attending our District Deputy Grand Master’s swearing-in ceremony. When we introduced ourselves, we were greeted by the R.W. Grand Master Jeffrey M. Wonderling. He stated having a father and two sons consecutively in the chairs has happened before, but it is very rare indeed, and that I should be very proud of this accomplishment. I concurred and replied that this is definitely one of my very proud moments with my sons.
Not only do I get to call these fine young men my sons, but I also get to call them my Brothers as well!