Thursday, June 30, 2011

Open Letter to Our Patriots

The article below as submitted by Bro. Michael Donahue of Susquehanna Chapter.

(This article is written in memory of all those who are currently or have served proudly in our countries military, and in honor of those who died in defense of the USA.)

During graduation at my school we honor the students that will be attending a college, trade school, joining the work force, and joining the military. Out of the roughly 270 kids in my class only seven are enlisting. My class was the first class in a long time to have less than ten students. This shocked me since patriotism is one of the Precepts that I feel strongly about. It is also close to my heart as out three of those seven young people were my best friends. Two chose to enlist in the US Army and the other in the US Air Force. A fourth was my cousin, who chose the US Marine Corps, and another was my friends girlfriend, who joined the PA National Guard. Patriotism is also close to my heart because my grandfather served in World War 2, and I had three cousins fight in Vietnam and one of which never returned home.

It seems to me that outside of Demolay, patriotism is not as strong as it was in the past. I know more members in Demolay that have given military service than outside of the fraternity. Now, am I saying to run to your nearest recruiting office and join the military? Of course not. Joining is one of the biggest and toughest decisions somebody can make. Even I struggle with this problem! I am currently signed up for classes with the US Air Force ROTC detachment 752 out of Wilkes University,  with hopes of becoming an officer in fouryears. Susquehanna Chapter is proud to have Shawn Bookwalter, PMC and his brother who are members of the Army ROTC detachment at Wilkes. Their youngest brother just shipped out for basic training  on June 21, and another member who is stationed in Italy with the US Navy. How is it that out of a chapter with a little over thirty members we have nearly the same numbers of service members than my class of 270? Some join for different reasons; love of country, sounds fun, see the world, or money for college. Mine was a mixture of three things - a childhood dream, love of country, and feeling like it was a way for me to remain faithful to the Order and its Precepts, specifically the seventh candle, Patriotism .


Monday, June 27, 2011

Who cares about history?

The last few days have been very interesting here at PA DeMolay.

Many of you know that I'm an avid eBay fan. There I buy my favorite item, fezzes, for my collection. I also happen to search on the word "DeMolay" every now and then. Yesterday I was presented with an item of immeasurable historical importance to PA DeMolay. There, on my screen, was the DeMolay Founder's Cross, given to Paul Miller Moore by "Dad" Land himself!

For those who don't know, the Founder's Cross is the rarest DeMolay honor ever given. It was only given by "Dad" Land to persons he desired to honor "for their personal, consistent and conspicuous loyalty to him."  The jewel was to be worn over the heart.  This was not a Grand or Supreme Council honor-- it was a personal expression of "Dad" Land's heartfelt gratitude.   Exactly 135 were given out in his lifetime between 1937 and 1959, and they are never to be issued again.  We have never seen a published list of all 135 recipients, and an extensive search of the internet only yielded the names of only a few recipients; James A. Wieland of Pittsburgh, PA; Paul Miller More of Butler, PA; Roy "Friday" Fitzgerald of Kansas City, MO; and Gorman A. McBride, of Kansas City, MO, the First Master Councilor of the Mother Chapter and the only one of the nine original members to be so honored.

In this case, "Dad" Land gave the honor to "Dad" Paul Miller Moore, a Past Grand Commander of Knights Templar of Pennsylvania, and Most Eminent Past Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States of America. "Dad" Moore was VERY prominent Freemason in Pennsylvania and even has a Legion of Honor Preceptory named after him (which meets in Butler.) To see "Dad" Moore's Founder's Cross for sale on eBay made my heart sink.

Somehow this important piece of PA DeMolay history made its way into the hands of an antique dealer in Pittsburgh who sold the item off to the highest bidder. PA DeMolay placed a bid on the item, which was close, but, sadly, wasn't high enough to purchase it. Unfortunately we don't know who the winning bidder was. We can only hope that it's a member of the DeMolay family. However, it's also possible that the buyer wasn't part of the Masonic fraternity. Experience has taught us that when pieces of history, like this medal, fall into hands outside of the fraternity it is very unlikely that we will ever get them back.

This is important lesson for our leaders, young and old.  As you dig through those old Chapter capes, boxes of regalia, and other items you may have around in your Chapter, think twice before tossing them in the trash. Also, talk to those Senior DeMolays and Master Masons in your community and encourage them to make arrangements for the return of their regalia and items should they pass on. We don't want to lose another piece of history like this one.

AS AN APPEAL - if you are the buyer of the Paul Moore Founder's Cross, or you know who the purchaser is, we would greatly appreciate you contacting us at or PA DeMolay is willing to negotiate a fair settlement for the acquisition of this unique medal and piece of PA DeMolay history, to be displayed for all Pennsylvania DeMolay members to see.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Parable of Sorts

I was trying to think of something to write about today and was having a bit of trouble coming up with a topic. Generally, when I have that problem I turn to other sources. But, rather than just linking you off to another site, I really wanted to give you something more substantial to read. I dug into the far corners of my mind (which is kind of link Cheers - everyone knows me there!) and decided to relate a story from one of my previous employers.

As many of you know, I spent one crazy and amazing year working at Games Workshop. For those who haven't heard of them, Games Workshop officially makes "high quality miniature wargames," however, that's just a sugarcoated way of saying toy soldiers. Yep, I worked for a company that made and promoted the hobby of playing with toy soldiers. When I took the gig, it was quite literally my dream job. I dropped everything - work, family, etc., and moved to Maryland for it. I learned a lot about myself that year and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. The best part is the stories that I now have to relate to folks.

Today's tale is an apocryphal one that came from the echelons of upper management, which was headquartered in the United Kingdom (Nottingham, England, to be precise.) You see, Games Workshop held the rights to one of the most lucrative product lines one can imagine - the Lord of the Rings. They owned the rights to produce games based upon that franchise and it was a smash hit for them. Games Workshop was so involved in the Lord of the Rings that four members of the Games Workshop staff actually appear as extras in the scene of the Battle of Pelenor Field in the final movie. So, needless to say, when the movies came out, Games Workshop was at the forefront.

Pictured left to right, Alessio Cavatore (GW Author), Alan Perry (GW Sculptor) , Brian Nelson (fellow GW sculptor) and Michael Perry(another GW Sculptor). Notice the blue screen with dead Mumak in the background.
As with any company that was involved in the property, they were issued several tickets to the London premier. In a show of democracy unknown in many other companies, the upper management decided to place the tickets in a pool and do drawings to see who would go. In the meantime, one senior manager had finagled a way to get an extra ticket for him and his wife to go, ensuring his presence at the premier regardless of the raffle. The night of the show came and, lo and behold, there stands the senior manager on the red carpet, even though he didn't win the raffle. His colleagues were understandably angry and his supervisors took a stand. They sacked him. Why? Not only had he done something wrong by taking tickets on the side, he had shown that his own personal gain was more important than being a team player and partner to to his colleagues.

So, how does this relate to DeMolay? At a time when honors abound and people are being recognized for their achievement, never forget that we are Brothers. You may have just gotten a Chevalier, but what are you going to do continue to prove that you deserve that honor? Those who have received the Representative DeMolay Award are enjoined to "help another Brother earn the RD himself." I know for a fact that most do not. All of this comes back to the fourth precept - Comradeship. Are you being the best DeMolay - the best Brother - the best Comrade that you can be?

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, June 20, 2011

DeMolay International Sessions 2011 Wrap Up

As many of you know, DeMolay International held its Annual Session this past weekend in Grand Rapids, MI. From all accounts the event was huge success. PA DeMolay was well represented and the young men from our jurisdiction learned a lot about DeMolay on a National level.

This is also the time of year when many awards are given out, new officers are installed, and the the agenda is set for another term. So, I thought it would be valuable for everyone to know who won awards and who our leaders will be for the next year.

Let's start with elections and appointments (thanks to Proud DeMolay on Facebook for this):

DeMolay International Congress:
The 45th International Master Councilor:  Maxwell C. Shoemaker of the Jurisdiction of Southern California
The 45th International Congress Secretary: Michael A. Burge of the State of West Virgina

The Cabinet:
Region I: Tyler Anderson of the State of Connecticut
Region II: Andrew Prescott of the State of New Jersey
Region III: Hunter Sullivan of the State of Georgia
Region IV: James Bowling of the Commonwealth of Kentucky
Region V: Christian Pierce of the State of Minnesota
Region VI: David Barnes III of the State of Kansas
Region VII: Aaron Record of the State of Utah
Region VIII: Tyler Davis of Jurisdiction of Southern California

The Supreme Council:
Grand Master: J. Weldon Clampitte of the State of Texas
Grand Senior Councilor: Gregory A. Chiles of the State of Indiana
Grand Junior Councilor: Mike A. Salazar of the Jurisdiction of Northern California and Hawaii
Grand Treasurer: James C. McGee, PGM of the State of Alabama
Grand Secretary: Joe A. Williams, PGM of the State of Oklahoma

Region Representatives:
Region I: Harry E. Needham, III of the State of Connecticut
Region II: William C. Eppig  of the State of Maryland
Region III: Marc B. Bohn of the State of Georgia
Region IV: Sherman C. Parker of the State of Michigan.
Region V: Michael W. Stuhr of the State of Nebraska
Region VI: Ron Minshall of the State of Oklahoma
Region VII: Gary E. Mueller of the State of Colorado
Region VIII: James H. Reid, Jr of the state of Washington.

The Appointed Officers:
Grand Senior Deacon Bart Henderson of the state of Texas
Grand Junior Deacon David B. Dibrell of the state of Texas
Grand Senior Steward: Gary E. Mueller of the state of Colorado
Grand Junior Steward: Victor A. Key of the of the Jurisdiction of Southern California
Grand Standard Bearer: Roger L. Ingersoll of the State of Texas
Grand Chaplain: Bruce A. Baily of the States of Texas and New Mexico (Border dispute?)
Grand Marshal: Lawrence E. Tucker of the State of Texas
Grand Orator: Thomas R. Labagh of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Grand First Preceptor: G. Wayne Morrison of the State of New Mexico
Grand Second Preceptor: James C. Lamb of the State of  Oregon
Grand Third Preceptor: James H. Reid, Jr of the State of Washington
Grand Fourth Preceptor: Michael D. Phillipus of Texas
Grand Fifth Preceptor: William K. Paisley of the state of Iowa
Grand Sixth Preceptor: Michael H. Acker of the State of Maine
Grand 7th Preceptor: Danny K. Coffey of the Commonwealth of Kentucky
Grand Sentinel: Ronald J. Minshall of the state of Oklahoma

The big awards given out at DeMolay International are called "The Eagles." The following individuals / jurisdictions were awarded with Eagles for this year:

Builders Award - "Dad" Robert Cockerham of MI and "Dad" Donald P. Guecnoclo of TX
Communications - "Dad" Bill Sardone and the Jurisdiction of New York
Convention Planning - "Dad" Mike Salazer of Nor Cal
Most Improved Jurisdiction - "Dad" Sam Whitehead of Montana
EO of the Year - "Dad" Brian Noble of Mass.
ISC Member of the Year - "Dad" Dick Sayre of Washington
Life Time Achievement - "Dad" Mike Williams of Virginia
Visionary - "Dad" Jeffrey C. Kittsmiller of Missouri

Congratulations to all on a great year for DeMolay and a great Session!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New DeMolay Blog

Today is going to be a short post. I'm afraid that I'm just not in much of a mood to write. Better to be honest about it, right? So, since I'm not going to give you much to read, why don't you head on over to It's the newest DeMolay blog on the block and highlights all of the great reasons that you should be proud to be involved in this organization.

Check it out!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, June 13, 2011

Did you say bicameral?

This morning I drove on to Patton Campus to be greeted by Westmoreland Chapter who were preparing to visit the Capitol in Harrisburg as part of their My Government Day observance. "Dad" Bruce Neubauer, the Chapter Chairman, asked if I would talk to the young men and coach them on how to interact with the politicians they were about to meet. The Chapter was lucky enough to secure time with the State Senator from their home area. I asked the members if they understood what a Senator was. I was met with a blank, deer in headlights look. We then had a discussion with everyone about how government in Pennsylvania works and why it's important to them. As I sad down to write this post, I wondered out loud what I should write about. Matt Blaisdell, DSMC, who is sharing my office, responded "... how about My Government day?" Perfect! So, we're going to learn about PA government with today's post.

Pennsylvania is a Commonwealth, not a State. That history could fill an entire post by itself. However, for the moment, know that in PA they are equivalent. The Commonwealth is lead by the executive branch, consisting of Governor Tom Corbett, Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley, Attorney General Linda Kelly, Auditor General Jack Wagner, and State Treasurer Robert McCord. These folks manage the government of the Commonwealth.

Now, like the federal government, we also have a bicameral (meaning two part) legislative branch. Known as the General Assembly, it includes 50 Senators and 203 Representatives. These are the men and women who create laws within Pennsylvania and modify existing laws on the books.

The job of interpreting those laws is left to the judiciary, which is composed of 60 judicial districts, most of which (except Philadelphia) have magisterial district judges (formerly called district justices and justices of the peace), who preside over preliminary hearings in felony and misdemeanor offenses, all minor (summary) criminal offenses, and small civil claims. Most criminal and civil cases originate in the Courts of Common Pleas, which also serve as appellate courts to the district judges. The Superior Court hears all appeals from the Courts of Common Pleas not expressly designated to the Commonwealth Court or Supreme Court.The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is the final appellate court. All judges in Pennsylvania are elected; the chief justice is determined by seniority.

I also asked the guys what the difference between a Democrat and a Republican. I got some varied answers, but again, that's a topic that is more than this blog post can handle. However, in the past decade, no political party has been clearly dominant in Pennsylvania. This, combined with Pennsylvania's rank of 6th in the country in population, has made it one of the most important swing states. Democrats are strong in Philadelphia County, Delaware County, Erie County, Allegheny County, Lehigh County, Northampton County, Luzerne County, and Lackawanna County (which, for those keeping track, are counties with large cities in them.) Republicans are strong in Lancaster County, York County, Franklin County, Westmoreland County, Butler County, Blair County, Lycoming County, and Cumberland County (which are more rural counties.) Swing counties in the state include Bucks County, Chester County, Berks County, Dauphin County, Cambria County, Beaver County, and Mercer Counties. In general, the Democrats are strongest in the large metro areas, particularly Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, and Allentown, while Republican support is widespread in rural areas in the central Allegheny Mountains and in the northern counties.

Furthermore, Pennsylvania is unique in the way it governs on a local level. Pennsylvania is divided into 67 counties. Counties are further subdivided into municipalities that are either incorporated as cities, boroughs, or townships. This where I have to give a shout out to my father, who has worked as the Manager of a municipality for the majority of his career. One county, Philadelphia County, is composed solely city of Philadelphia after it was consolidated in 1854. It is the only county like this.

There are a total of 56 cities in Pennsylvania, which are classified, by population, as either first, second, or third class cities. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania's largest city, has a population of 1,547,297 and is the state's only first class city. Pittsburgh (311,647) and Scranton (71,944) are second class 'A' cities, respectively.

The rest of the cities, like the third and fourth largest—Allentown (107,815) and Erie (103,571)—to the smallest—Parker with a population of only 738—are third class cities. First and second class cities are governed by a "strong mayor" form of mayor–council government, whereas third class cities are governed by either a "weak mayor" form of government or a council–manager government.

Boroughs are generally smaller than cities, with most Pennsylvania cities having been incorporated as a borough before being incorporated as a city. There are 958 boroughs in Pennsylvania, all of which governed by the "weak mayor" form of mayor–council government.

Townships are the third type of municipality in Pennsylvania and are classified as either first class or second class townships. There are 1,454 second class townships and 93 first class townships. Second class township can become first class townships if it has a population density greater than 300 inhabitants per square mile. There is one exception to the types of municipalities in Pennsylvania: Bloomsburg was incorporated as a town in 1870 and is, officially, the only town in the state.

I hope you learned a little bit more about how your government works in PA. The next time you get to meet a State level political official, keep this mind. They'll be impressed with how much you know!

My special thanks to Wikipedia, which does a great job of explaining much of this! 

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Friday, June 10, 2011

Being a Man

I recently came across a great article over at the Art of Manliness entitled "6 Lessons I Learned About Being a Man from Growing Up Fatherless." Why am I bringing this article up? As you know, intrepid reader, there is always an alternative reason!

"Dad" Labagh, "Dad" Berry, and myself often have conversations about the DeMolay program. One of the topics that has come up time and time again is the concept of the first precept - Filial Love. In a time when a large number of marriages end in divorce and blended families are the norm, we've had many young men and parents say that they don't agree with the "nuclear family" concept that our first precept seems to preach. I can understand their concern, because in many cases in modern society, this just isn't happening any more.

However, I'd argue that the concept of Filial Love is still important. First, I'd like to use a quote from the article I referenced above:

If you have a father who’s incarcerated, or who left you, or who didn’t have much success in life, look for a father figure in someone else. Every man needs a father figure, even far into adulthood. You don’t even need to know him personally, and he doesn’t even need to be alive. Most successful men leave a legacy and lessons behind, whether in a book or video. You can then read, watch, and practice their advice; just like any other father figure. My four most influential father-like figures are Chris Gardner, Andrew Carnegie, Richard Branson, and Randy Pausch.

Just because you're in a 
situation where you family doesn't match the traditional view of Filial Love outlined in our ceremonies, does not mean that the concept is invalid. It's been proven through much sociological research that a two parent family is  much better prepared for child rearing than a one parent family. Therefore, as a DeMolay, I think it's important that we recognize the value in this kind of family unit and support that idea. Even if that family unit hasn't existed for you, there is no reason to deride its existence.

Family life can be a touchy subject and I assure you that it's not my goal to dredge up bad feelings. Rather, I wanted to contribute to a constructive debate about the modern day application of our principles. I hope that it at least made you think!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, June 6, 2011

PA State Officers Go Spelunking...

... well, not really.

Imagine yourself walking descending down to almost one hundred feet below the surface and you come across a DeMolay Degree. This past weekend, Matt Blaisdell, DSMC, Alex Rauschenberger, SSC, and "Dad" Labagh, EO had that opportunity. First off, to clarify, they didn't trudge through the dirt with a pale and shovel. Rather, they attended the Virginia State Association of DeMolay who hosted their annual Grand Masters Class at Luray Caverns in the Shenandoah Valley. After a three hour drive from Patton Campus,the group met up with the Virginia 's State Master Councilor, PJ Shuey, their Deputy State Master Councilor, Robert Marsters, along with some others from  Virginia and Region two. They had a light lunch and just shared fraternal bonds until the degrees began. Alex was heard to say "It was amazing to see not just active members of Virginia there, but other jurisdictions as well! Not to mention, the ritual preformed by the members was great!" 

Following the degree, "Dad" Labagh was approached by a familiar figure; later to find out it was our very own "Dad" Eric C. Johnson, 49th State Master Councilor of Pennsylvania DeMolay. With a few minutes to spare, Matt, Alex and "Dad" Labagh made their way to the 4,000,000 year old cavern where Virginia DeMolay hosts their DeMolay Degree. After seeing some amazing stalactites and stalagmites and some even more amazing ritual by members of Virginia DeMolay, the group was privileged to listen to the largest stalactic-pipe organ. Go have yourselves a listen at the video below. "It was really cool, and I recommend anyone who enjoys some good ritual, good brotherhood and some great stalactic-pipe organ playing, tag along next year with us and I guarantee you won't regret it!" Matt said.

Take Control! 
Matt Blaisdell

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The DeMolay Crest

Thanks to Bro. Matt Blaisdell, DSMC of PA DeMolay, for sending me this!

The DeMolay Crest has experienced many changes throughout it's history. Regardless of those modifications, it has always been a point of pride among the members of the fraternity. Below is an image taken from an old guide book on how the Coat-of-Arms should be constructed. The information uses some very specific heraldic terminology that may not be familiar too you.

Let's break down the first paragraph, shall we? Azure refers to the blue color on the inside of the shield. The cross of eight points is in reference to the Maltese style cross in the middle. The "dexter chief" is the upper left corner of a shield while the "sinister base" is the lower right corner of the same. "Mullets" are the technical name for five pointed stars when used in heraldry. Lastly, it states that the shield should be over two crossed swords, "saltirewise" - meaning at an angle. See, it's not that complicated!

The "double azure" of the mantling again refers to color. The Crest obvious makes reference to the helmet and the laurels surrounding it. The "decrement" is the small decoration placed above the helm, in the case the traditional DeMolay moon and star (or mullet.)

I think the motto is pretty self explanatory!

Now, why don't you go look up your family crest, or maybe some heraldry from other organizations and see what you can learn!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony