This past weekend. I had the chance to join our Executive Officer, Thomas R. Labagh, on a trip to the DeMolay International EO Conference, held in New Orleans, Louisiana. When I was first asked to go, I was excited. Yes, New Orleans has always been one of the cities I've wanted to visit, but I also knew that I would be representing PA DeMolay. It was a great feeling to introduce myself as a member of staff in Pennsylvania, and explain some of the programs that we have going on, such as the Bro-Ties, the "DeMolay Goes Hollywood" program, and our new PA DeMolay Advisor Training Seminar.
I had the chance to meet Executive Officers from across the country, and one who traveled from over seas in Germany. DeMolay is known for its fellowship and brotherhood, so its a nice surprise to see the same fellowship and brotherhood within a group of Executive Officers and staff members. I only knew a total of 6 people before the conference started, and got to know several more before it ended. Since most of the meetings were brainstorming sessions, it was great to hear what other jurisdictions are doing and receive ideas to implement here in Pennsylvania.
Two guest speakers were asked to address the conference. The first was Mr. Herbert Marks Sr., who is the oldest living Senior DeMolay at 103 years of young. He spoke of his experiences through DeMolay and what it taught him through his life. He also mentioned that he had the chance to meet "Dad" Land. It was inspiring to hear that DeMolay has had the same effect on young men for all these years. The second speaker was Mrs. Jessica Vermilyea, the Director of Disaster Relief for Upbring Disaster Response. She informed us of the recent floods, tornadoes and storms that have left people without homes in the state of Louisiana. Her company focuses on helping aid those in need. It was enlightening to hear stories from someone that looks out for the greater good of others, because that's the same message we try to instill in our youth.
The conference was great, and so was the city of New Orleans. The food was fantastic. If you're into seafood, which unfortunately I am not, then there is no better place to go than New Orleans. The culture was fascinating, especially hearing band music playing right outside of our hotel during the conference dinner. Jazz music was playing everywhere we went, including a three man singing group singing while we were having dinner at a steakhouse. Yes, I did get to Bourbon Street, and all I'll say is that I had a great time with great people. New Orleans is a very historical place, and I hope I get the chance to go back someday.
Until next time - "Dad" Joe Pullin