Gulf Beach Lodge held an Empty Chair Ceremony this evening to recognize and celebrate those who have served in the armed forces or as first responders; especially those who were Freemasons.
The Empty Chair Ceremony was first performed in the United States to honor Corporal John Holt Beever, a member of the U.S. Cavalry, and a Freemason under the Grand Lodge of England. He was killed in action on the northern plains; being the first known Mason to give his life in uniform in the region then known as the Dakota Territory.
The Ceremony comes to us from the Grand Lodge of North Dakota.
The Dakota Territory in the 1860s extended westward to the Rocky Mountains from Minnesota and Iowa. It bordered north of Nebraska and included significant portions of the future states of Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
This solemn ceremony was very well received by all in attendance.
Gulf Beach Lodge was proud to be host Lodge for the Firefighter Degree Team last night.
Brother Charles William Russell III, Firefighter at Safety Harbor Fire Rescue, and member of Tampa Bay Lodge No. 252, was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason.
Sixty-eight members and visitors were present, including the Grand Master, M∴W∴ Jeffrey Foster (who was made an Honorary Fire Chief); Deputy Grand Master, R∴W∴ Robert Lambert; Senior Grand Warden, R∴W∴ Glenn Bishop; Junior Grand Warden, R∴W∴ Donald Cowart; District Deputy Grand Master, R∴W∴ James Charrette, and District Instructor, R∴W∴ Rick Wendling. Also in attendance were Past Grand Master’s M∴W∴ Louis King and M∴W∴ Richard Hoover.
The Firefighter Degree Team represented nine Fire Departments including, Madeira Beach Fire Rescue, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, Pasco County Fire Rescue, East Lake Fire Rescue, Hope Jackson Fire Rescue (Scituate, RI), East Brunswick Fire Rescue (East Brunswick NJ), Tarpon Springs Fire Rescue, Safety Harbor Fire Rescue, and Woodward Township Fire Rescue, Pa.
The Team for the 1st Section was: WM – Howard Knapp – Hillsborough Co. Fire Rescue SW – Rick Wendling – Eastlake Fire Rescue JW – Rick Caravona – Pasco Co. Fire Rescue SD – Derryl O’Neal – Madeira Beach Fire Rescue JD – Ray Hughes – Hillsborough Co. Fire Rescue SS – Tim Delaney – Hope Jackson Fire Dept, Scituate RI JS – Jim Tizzano – East Brunswick Fire Dept. E. Brunswick NJ Tyler – Mark Goldfeder – Tarpon Springs Fire Rescue Marshall – Mike Manning – Hillsborough Co. Fire Rescue Treasurer – Dom Bueller – Madeira Beach Fire Rescue Chaplain – Joe Backes – Pasco Co. Fire Rescue
The Team for the 2nd Section was: KS – Howard Knapp SGW – Rick Hoover SGD – Mike Rhoades JGD – Buck Owens GS – Mike Manning GC – Tom Farkas JA – Rick Wendling JO – Ray Hughes JU – Ron McMillan 10 – David Neville 11 – Dom Bueller 12 – Derryl O’Neal Sea Capt/Wayfaring Man- Lou Ange
The Lecture was delivered by R∴W∴ Howard Knapp The Charge was delivered by Br∴ Tom Farkas
$550.00 was collected as a donation for Lt. Ashley White of Palm Harbor Fire Rescue who was seriously injured this week on an emergency call when she was struck by a car.