Last night, I was at a Masonic Lodge meeting here in Elizabethtown. While getting ready to leave, I witnessed a new candidate and a brother of the Lodge recognize each other from a common ground away from Freemasonry. It made me realize how important the journey really is. It kind of reminded me of how I joined DeMolay.
It was 2001 and I was a sophomore at Abraham Lincoln High School in Northeast Philly. My school was doing a benefit concert for the 9/11 tragedies; in fact we were in the choir room when the news broke about the towers. Before the concert started, my mom and I were stopped by my Assistant JV Soccer Coach, Scot Riddell, who was also a parent of one of the members of the team. He started talking to my mom about a lot of different things, one of them being DeMolay. My mom knew about DeMolay since she was in Rainbow when she was a teenager, but she was under the impression that the local Chapter closed. The next closest Chapter was in either Trevose or Jenkintown and we had no means of transportation to make either happen, so she never brought it up. Thanks to "Dad" Riddell, my mom learned that Northeast Chapter still existed. He had his son Joel and another member of DeMolay, my first line signer Rich Schofield, talk to me about DeMolay and encourage me to join. In that conversation, I learned things that I didn't know, including the fact that the Music Teacher and the Art Teacher were both Masons. Rich and Joel told me about all of the fun they had, including the Temple of Doom event at Friendship-Bray that was coming up. The selling point was learning that I could be part of a sports team and actually get some playing time. After thinking it over and talking to my mom, and receiving the sign of approval from my music teacher, Mr. Graham, I decided to join. I'd say that I made the best decision of my life, but I think that would actually be an understatement. I'm not sure what life would look like without DeMolay, but I'm glad I don't have to find out. I received my degrees at the Grand High Priest Class in Elizabethtown, where I met several life-long friends, including "Dad" Alex Swift.
So, why am I sharing this? It's simple. My goal is to get others to share their journeys as well. Maybe you have a memory about DeMolay that you'd like to share with the DeMolay universe. Maybe you'd like to share how you joined DeMolay or the reason you continue to do this. I want to do this on a couple of different levels. The members blog series will be called "DeMolay Spotlight." The Advisor blog series will be called "Why We Do This?" The blog series is open to any member or Advisor from any DeMolay Chapter that would like to share their story. Sweethearts, you can participate as well. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a submission to this blog series.
Until next time - "Dad" Joe Pullin