Today's post comes from a special guest - "Dad" Bruce Neubauer of Westmoreland Chapter. "Dad" Neubauer prepared this piece as a personal exercise, never expecting it to be used as a blog post. However, after reading it, I realized that he did a great job of summing one person's positive experiences with DeMolay. I hope you enjoy it!
Four short years ago I got involved in DeMolay. My wife thought it would be good for our son. We inquired and had a lot of questions but we agreed that it was the thing to do. Our son joined and really enjoyed the experience. We had a couple young men that held the Chapter together and an Advisory Council that cared deeply about DeMolay. Shortly after we joined, we had a few more young men added to the ranks. Our Master Councilor agreed to stay on for another year. In the meantime, our Council grew by a few more members when "Dad Holtzer" and I joined the board. We could see that our DeMolays wanted to travel. They got excited about "the Judge" (PA DeMolay's travelling gavel) and the road trips began. We were fortunate over the next couple years to grow the Chapter. We were up to 9 or 10 active DeMolays. We even added another advisor or two. We were a very active Chapter and traveled all over the State. At the last two Conventions we even won some awards; most miles traveled was one of the favorite of the Chapter!
During this time we adopted the "Unplugged Theory" of adult involvement and let the DeMolays run the Chapter. This was hard because we did not have any DeMolay leaders. All of our young men were new. At times other than the meetings the advisors worked hard to educate the DeMolays on how to run committees, have fund raisers, and many other things. During Isaac Holtzer’s term you could see some young leaders developing. During Adam Neubauer's term we again continued to grow and you could see the ritual come along on top of having more activities with the Rainbow girls. We still had our issues, but they were addressed at the Councilors meetings. We were not totally "Unplugged" in these meetings. At times we had the feeling that the DeMolays might have thought that we were too tough.
In the beginning of March we had our Installation of Officers and Bro. Dominic Bruno was installed as Master Councilor. We currently have about 14 active DeMolays. After the Installation was completed, Isaac Holtzer and Adam Neubauer asked if they could come up front. At that time Isaac stated that they had two Advisors that they were going to honor. He commented about how these Advisors were always there and never said no. They took them everywhere they wanted to go. He then called up "Dad" Holtzer and myself. "Dad" Holtzer looked at me and I at him and said the same thing - "did you know about this?" We looked at the other advisors and they all shook their heads.The young men then presented us with the DeMolay Medal of Appreciation - a little known award used to show thanks for service to DeMolay.
We found out that about five months before Isaac and Adam, along with our other DeMolays, felt they needed to do something to honor "Dad" Holtzer and myself. They took a vote of the DeMolays and it was unanimous. They took it upon themselves to complete the paperwork and mail it to "Dad" Dave Berry, Executive Secretary. The enveloped arrived full of cash and change (pooled together from the young men) as the members didn't want to risk the surprise by having the Advisory Council write a check. "Dad" Berry knew right away that this was being done by the DeMolays of the Chapter. Our DeMolays and "Dad" Berry kept this quiet all the time. The DeMolays were so proud of what they had done.
I can tell you words cannot explain how humble we were by the experience. Not many times in my life will I ever receive an award as important as this one. This came from the DeMolays and that means the world to me.