Category Archives: Masonic Travel

Visit to Bro. J. R. Ross

Bro. Ed Tanner and Bro. Dan Kemble visit with Bro. J. R. Ross at the Sam Swope Care Center, Louisville, Kentucky.

On Saturday, May 20, members of our Lodge visited Bro. J. R. Ross at The Masonic Homes in Louisville.  Bro. Ross is a resident at the Sam Swope Care Center and is a member of St. George Lodge No. 239 in Louisville.  He is a 43-year member of our Fraternity.  Bro. Ross never married and has no children.  His Lodge Brothers are truly his family.  Through the assistance of Worshipful Bro. Bruce Lott, our Lodge “adopted” Bro. Ross in 2016.

We found Bro. Ross to be in good health and in good spirits.  He was happy to see his Brothers from Elvin E. Helms Lodge and especially thanked us for the afghan that we sent him last Christmas.  During the course of our visit, Bro. Ross said at least a half dozen times that he thanked God daily for having the good fortune to live in the Masonic Homes.

The Sam Swope Care Center is a beautiful facility.  As evidenced by Bro. Ross, the residents are well cared for and happy in their surroundings.  Seeing our Brother so happy and content is a vivid demonstration of the importance of the Masonic Care program.  We can all be proud of the job done by The Masonic Homes of Kentucky.

George Washington and the Virtue of Temperance

George Washington and the Virtue of Temperance

 “In politics as in religion, my tenets are few and simple. The leading one of which, and indeed that which embraces most others, is to be honest and just ourselves and to exact it from others, meddling as little as possible in their affairs where our own are not involved. If this maxim was generally adopted, wars would cease and our swords would soon be converted into reap hooks and our harvests be more peaceful, abundant, and happy.”

George Washington

 The most recognizable Mason in American History, George Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, on February 22, 1732.

Bro. Washington was initiated as an Entered Apprentice Mason on November 4, 1752 in Fredericksburg Lodge # 4 in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  He was subsequently passed to the Degree of a Fellow Craft on March 3, 1753 and raised to the sublime Degree of a Master Mason on August 4, 1753, all ceremonies being conducted by Fredericksburg Lodge # 4.

Although 265 years have passed since his initiation, we all share a bond with Bro. Washington.  Because of the unchanging nature of Masonry, we can know with certainty that Washington took the same vows as an Entered Apprentice Mason that we assumed over two centuries later.  We can be equally assured that before being passed to the degree of a Fellow Craft, Bro. Washington was asked the question, “As an Entered Apprentice Mason, what came you here to do?”  His answer, as so many who preceded and followed him, would have been, “To learn, to subdue my passions and improve myself in Masonry.”

It is this phrase, “to subdue my passions,” that is the focus of this presentation.

Temperance is defined as the act of voluntary self-restraint; It is the act of refraining from exercising an act which one otherwise has the ability to perform.  It is no accident that Freemasonry joins subduing one’s passions with learning and improvement.  In each of our three degrees we promise some act of restraint, or temperance.  We promise not to reveal the secrets of our fraternity.  We promise not to cheat, wrong or defraud each other.  We promise not to divulge the confidences reposed in us by our brothers.  We promise not to violate the chastity of the female relatives of other Masons.  We promise not to strike another Mason in anger.

All of these promises reflect the Masonic virtue of temperance.  We have the physical ability to perform all of the things that we have promised not to do.  But it is the quality of temperance – the exercise of restraint and patience – that does truly curb our passions and lead us to be better men.

Brother George Washington clearly mastered the virtue of temperance.  There are three examples from his life – one from personal life and two from his public life – to which I wish to draw your attention this evening.  Each of these examples reflect the attitude that Washington displayed toward temperance and restraint.

The first example is found in a letter that Bro. Washington wrote to his young niece, Harriot Washington.  Washington wrote, “You are just entering the state of womanhood, without the watchful eye of a Mother to admonish or the protecting aid of a Father to advise and defend you; you may not be sensible (aware) that you are at this moment about to be stamped with that character which will adhere to you through life.  Think, then, to what dangers a giddy girl of 15 or 16 must be exposed in circumstances like these.  To be under but little or no control may be pleasing to a mind that does not reflect, but this pleasure cannot be of long duration.”

Every man here this evening who is a parent has at one time or another had the pleasure of explaining to a child why it isn’t necessarily a good idea to do something just because you can.  Washington was engaged in that same level of discourse with his niece.  His letter to her reflects his (and Masonry’s) value on self restraint and reflection.

The next two examples come from Washington’s public life.

First, in 1782, after the end of the Revolutionary War and before the writing and ratification of the Constitution, Washington received a letter from one of his officers, Major Lewis Nicola.  In what has become know as the “Newburgh Letter,” Nicola suggested that Washington proclaim himself king.  Washington replied to Nicola by letter the same date and called Nicola’s suggestion “a calamity.”

Washington could have been king.  He was the single unifying figure in the post Revolutionary War United States.  He had the stature and the popularity to declare himself king.  Surely Washington was aware that a kingdom was his for the taking.  It seems almost impossible to imagine that the idea was not at least a little bit tempting to him.  But all of the historical evidence points to the contrary.

Washington rejected the idea of proclaiming himself king.  His prompt response to Nicola was unequivocal.  Washington fought against England for the concept of republican government.  To fight and win such a battle, then embrace a monarchy for his own sake, would have been a repudiation of the principles in which he believed.

In Washington:  A Life, Ron Chernow writes, “But over the years, this man of deep emotions and strong opinions had learned to subordinate his personal dreams and aspirations to the service of a large cause, evolving into a stateman with a prodigious mastery of political skills and unwavering sense of America’s future greatness.  In the things that mattered most for his country, he had shown himself capable of constant growth and self-improvement.”

Could Washington have proclaimed himself king?  Most certainly the answer is yes.  But Washington realized that to do so would not only ultimately be ruinous to his newborn country, but would also cause him to betray his own beliefs.  Washington exercised the Masonic virtue of temperance.  He could have been king, yet he chose to exercise restraint in making what he believed to be the best choice for his country.

The final example of Washington’s temperance is his refusal to accept a third term as president of the United States.  He actually made this refusal on two separate occasions – once following his second inauguration in 1793 and again preceding the presidential election of 1796.

At the beginning of his second term as president in 1793, Washington made it clear to all that he would not accept a third term as president.  First, he was simply exhausted by public life and wanted to return to Mt. Vernon.  Second, he believed that it was important to establish the precedent of a peaceful and orderly transition of the office of the presidency.  He feared that if he accepted a third term and then died in office, the precedent would be established that the presidency was an office to which one was elected for life.  Washington was determined to avoid this, so he refused all entreaties to accept a third term.

Washington’s act of restraint in refusing a third term established the precedent, which has lasted for over two hundred years, of an orderly transition of presidential power.  This precedent has been so strong that it has guided our country through the difficult days following the deaths and resignations of presidents.  Indeed, the orderly transition of power is one of the defining characteristics that distinguishes the United States from most of the world’s other nations.

Brother George Washington exercised the Masonic virtue of temperance personally and publicly.  His restraint led to the development of a high moral character which benefitted him individually and the country as a whole.  Bro. Washington is our best example of how subduing one’s passions lead to improvement.

In his book, Patriarch, presidential historian Richard Norton Smith writes the following passage, “Even at this stage of his career, then, Washington remained a revolutionary.  But it was a revolution of character, not of politics, to which he committed himself.  He staked his presidency – and his place in history – on a belief that men could be wise enough to restrain their passions and reasonable enough to keep government in check.”

What then, is the contemporary application of Bro. Washington’s example?  It is this – let us practice patience and restraint in a civil society where such virtues are considered quaint and old fashioned.  Let us be faithful to our sacred vows of temperance.  Let us be wise enough to reflect and to restrain our passions.  Like Washington, let us also be participants in a revolution of character.

Delivered by Dan M. Kemble
February 9, 2017
Burlington Lodge # 264
Burlington, Kentucky


Washington:  A Life.  Ron Chernow, 2010, Penguin Press.

Patriarch.  Richard Norton Smith, 1993, Houghton Mifflin Company.

George Washington:  A Biography (Volume VII).  John Alexander Carroll and Mary Wells Ashworth, 1957, Charles Scribner’s Sons.

George Washington:  A Biography (Volumes I through VI).  Douglas Southall Freeman, 1948-1954, Charles Scibner’s Sons.

Washington:  The Man and the Mason.  Charles H. Callahan, 1913, Gibson Brothers Press.

Golden Rule-Covington No. 109 Initiates Two

On January 31, 2017, Golden Rule-Covington Lodge No. 109 welcomed two new Brothers to the family of Freemasonry. Bro. Mike Hamilton and Bro. Randy Herzog were initiated as Entered Apprentice Masons before a crowd of 31 Masons representing at least a dozen different Lodges.

To demonstrate that Freemasonry really is a family, Bro. Randy Herzog’s father is our own Bro. Jim Herzog.


Five of our Brothers from Elvin E. Helms Lodge No. 926 were in attendance at the Degree: Worshipful Bro. Buddy Wallace, Master, Worshipful Bro. Jim Herzog, Worshipful Bro. Ernie Stratton, Worshipful Bro. Ed Tanner, Senior Steward and Worshipful Bro. Dan Kemble, Secretary.

Congratulations to Worshipful Bro. Rob Himes and his corps of officers for some fine degree work! Welcome to Bro. Hamilton and Bro. Herzog! May your Masonic journey be rewarding to you and our Craft!


L-R: Bro. Greg Bailey (109), Bro. Dan Kemble (517, 926), Bro. Buddy Wallace (264, 926), Ernie Stratton (304, 926), Dwight Rider (109), Mike Hamilton (E. A., 109), Jason Hale (109), Ed Tanner (304, 926), Rob Himes (109), Orlando Dos Santos (109), Eric Nelson (109), Randy Herzog, (E. A., 109), Jim Herzog (264, 926), and Hampton Quigley (109).

Northern Kentucky DeMolay January 2017 Installation

Northern Kentucky Chapter, Order of DeMolay, held its installation of officers on January 29, 2017 at Bradford Lodge No. 123, Independence, Kentucky. Bro. Josh Ball, who also serves as State Junior Councilor, was installed as Master Councilor of the Chapter. This is Bro. Josh’s third term as Master Councilor!

The Installation was performed by State Master Councilor Draven Sims along with his corps of officers.


Our Master, Bro. Buddy Wallace, along with Junior Warden Adam Gross and Secretary Dan Kemble attended the installation. Worshipful Bro. Buddy is pictured above with the members of Northern Kentucky Chapter, Order of DeMolay and the state officers of Kentucky DeMolay.

Northern Kentucky Chapter meets at Bradford Lodge No. 123 on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month at 2:00 P.M. Please support these young men and welcome them into the family of Freemasonry.

2016 Outdoor Raising

Brothers from every Lodge in District 18 and one Lodge in District 19 gathered this morning at Hershell Freeman’s farm for the purpose of conferring the Sublime Degree of Master Mason on 8 Fellow Craft Brothers, including Brother Sammy Meyerratken of Elvin E. Helms No. 926. Most Worshipful Grand Master Cloyd J. Bumgardner presided over the first section, assisted by Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master Todd Jones, Right Worshipful Grand Junior Warden Gary Rose, Grand Senior Deacon Craig Lindon, and Grand Marshall Denver Rose. Our Grand Lodge Officers did an impressive job. Most Worshipful Grand Master, Right Worshipful Elected Grand Lodge Officers, and Worshipful Appointed Grand Lodge Officers — we thank you all for being with us this morning and for your excellent work!

Worshipful District Deputy Grand Master Dan Kemble, District 18, Grand Lodge of Kentucky assembled and directed an all-star cast to portray The Legend of the Temple.

The Master Mason Slide Lecture was given by Brother Owen Huff of Colonel Clay No. 159. The GHS and MMWoD Lecture was given by Worshipful Brother Ken Rodgers of Golden Rule-Covington No. 109. The Master Mason Charge was given by Worshipful Brother Adam Gross of Elvin E. Helms No. 926. The Address was given by Worshipful Brother Ed Tanner of Elvin E. Helms No. 926. The Canadian Charge was given by Worshipful Brother Mel Kinser of Elvin E. Helms No. 926.

After comments by our newly Raised Brothers and those in attendance the floor was given to our Worshipful District Deputy Grand Master Dan Kemble, District 18, Grand Lodge of Kentucky for his closing remarks, during which he was presented with an Honorary Membership to Bradford No. 123.  Elvin E. Helms No. 926 was closed in peace and harmony at 4:00pm.

Our eight newly Raised Master Masons. Left to right, they are: Adam Larkin, Boone-Union No. 304; Adam Neace, Bradford No. 123; Kent Means, Bradford No. 123; Matthew Waters, Alexandria No. 152; Sammy Meyerratken, Elvin E. Helms No. 926; Hampton Quigley, Golden Rule-Covington No. 109; Brian Carroll, Good Faith No. 95; and Kevin Surface, Golden Rule-Covington No. 109.
Our Worshipful District Deputy Grand Master shortly after being presented with his Honorary Membership to Bradford No. 123.

September 2016 Visit to Crittenden-Dry Ridge No. 694

Pictured above, left to right: Greg Bowen, Treasurer; Dan Kemble, District Deputy Grand Master, District 18, Grand Lodge of Kentucky; Louis Fields, P.M., Chaplain; Jacob Fields, Master; Darren Wilson, Masonry Matters Committee, Grand Lodge of Kentucky; Bobby Griggs, Grand Junior Deacon, Grand Lodge of Kentucky; Calvin Crupper; Chuck Givin, P.M.; Robby Ratliff, Secretary.

Brothers from Elvin E. Helms No. 694 visited Crittenden-Dry Ridge No. 694 in Stated Communication for a special occasion. Worshipful Brother Bobby Griggs, Grand Junior Deacon, Grand Lodge of Kentucky was in attendance to present the 400th Kentucky Mason to pass the Constitution Quiz, District 18’s own Worshipful Brother Chuck Givin, with his Constitution Scholar’s lapel pin. Brother Griggs noted that the level of participation in this program has far surpassed what had been hoped for and as a result we can all expect a new Constitution Quiz for the 2016-2017 Masonic year. Congratulations to all of our Constitution Scholars!

September 2016 Visit to Grant No. 85

Pictured above, left to right: Adam Gross, P.M., Senior Deacon; Worshipful Master Andy Canafax of Grant No. 85; and District Deputy Grand Master, District 18, Grand Lodge of Kentucky, Worshipful Brother Dan Kemble.

Two Brothers from Elvin E. Helms No. 926 visited Grant No. 85 at their September Stated Communication and left with the District 18 Scottish Rite Traveling Gavel. We are now in possession of this gavel as well as the District 18 Traveling Gavel. Both will be up for grabs at our next Stated Communication which is this coming Tuesday, September 13. We serve a fellowship meal at 6:30pm, second only to the meals served by the Brothers at Wilmington No. 362, followed by our Stated Communication at 7:30pm. In addition to the great food and two gavels up for grabs we have an excellent Masonic education program lined up. Our guest speaker for the evening will be Illustrious Brother Bill Lorenz who will be presenting on the topics of Magic Squares and Magic Numbers.

September 2016 Visit to Hebron No. 757


Two Brothers from Elvin E. Helms No. 926 accompanied our District Deputy Grand Master for District 18, Worshipful Brother Dan Kemble, to Hebron No. 757 for their September Stated Communication. As usual, a great time was had by all. Also in attendance were Worshipful Brothers Bill and John Dettor. Brother John Dettor, the Masonic Homes of Kentucky Ambassador to District 18, gave us a brief update on the goings-on at the Masonic Homes of Kentucky campuses and made a presentation to Worshipful Master James Phillips.

Pictured above, left to right: Dan Kemble, District Deputy Grand Master, District 18, Grand Lodge of Kentucky; Worshipful Master James Phillips, P.M.; Mel Kinser, P.M., Chaplain; Adam Gross, P.M., Senior Deacon.

Fellow Craft Degree at Good Faith No. 95

On Friday, August 26 the Brothers of Good Faith No. 95 met for the purpose of conferring the Fellow Craft Degree upon Brother Brian Carroll under the direction of Acting Master David Bird. The Letter G Lecture was given by Worshipful Brother Dan Kemble, District Deputy Grand Master, District 18, Grand Lodge of Kentucky. Worshipful Brother George Scott gave the Stair Lecture. Worshipful Brother Adam Gross gave the Fellow Craft Charge. The Bluegrass Ritualist points earned by Brother Gross gave him the required number of points to attain the Senior Ritualist award.


Pictured above, left to right: Ernie Hughes, P.M., Junior Steward; David Bird, Senior Warden; Worshipful Master Erich Creech, P.M.; Brian Carroll, our new Fellow Craft; Bob Lainhart, P.M., Treasurer; Bill Breeze, P.M., Chaplain; Paul Long, Senior Steward; and Orville Bryant, Tiler.


Pictured above, left to right: Brian Carroll, Sammy Meyerratken, and Adam Larkin, Fellow Craft Brothers all. Brothers Sammy and Adam came out to support Brother Brian Carroll and to see the Fellow Craft Degree from the other side.


Pictured above, left to right: Adam Gross, P.M., Senior Deacon; Sammy Meyerratken; Dan Kemble, District Deputy Grand Master, District 18, Grand Lodge of Kentucky; Garry Kelly, P.M.; Worshipful Master Ernie Stratton, P.M.

Elvin E. Helms No. 926 was well represented on this occasion, with 5 total members present. This was sufficient to claim the District 18 Traveling Gavel. You can come visit our Lodge on Tuesday, September 13 to claim the gavel for your Lodge. As usual, we will be serving a great Fellowship Meal at 6:30pm followed by our Stated Communication at 7:30pm.

If you’ve never been to Elvin E. Helms No. 926 please stop by and visit our storied Lodge in historic Petersburg, KY. On top of being one of the friendliest Lodges going and the great food that we serve at every meeting, we have one of the best education programs you’ll find anywhere. At our September Stated Communication our guest speaker will be Illustrious Brother Bill Lorenz. He will be presenting on the subjects of Magic Squares and Magic Numbers.