One of Freemasonry’s most beautiful public ceremonies was performed Tuesday evening, January 8, as the LaBelle Masonic Lodge, #379, F&AM, installed its new leaders for the 2019 year.
Adrian Sanchez took the oath of office to become Master of the Lodge as he stood before the Sacred Altar, and a roomful of Brother Masons, friends, and family members looked on. Additionally, 10 other local men assumed various elected and appointed leadership positions in the Lodge.
Tony Weems, the Lodge’s out-going Master and one of Sanchez’s mentors, welcomed the gathering and introduced the installing officers: WM Tom Boardman, WM Jeff Novac, and WB Phillip Keyes.
Boardman, in his initial remarks, told the gathering that Freemasonry is a moral institution established by virtuous men and founded on the principals of brotherly love, liberality and charity. While the fraternity is veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols, truth is at its center and directs its disciples to a correct knowledge of the Great Architect of the Universe.
In his prayer, Keyes asked for continuing guidance, protection and aid for the new leaders. Boardman then continued, asking Novac to present in turn each elected and appointed leader to the Altar where they were sworn to their obligation, presented with the badge of their office, and then conducted to their place in the Lodge.
Sanchez, in his acceptance comments, noted that two men were great influences on his life: his grandfather, and, now deceased, Past Master and Lodge Secretary, Jerry Habbard. He presented a photograph of Habbard and also wore Habbard’s hat.
Others leaders installed during the evening’s ceremony, were: Pastor and Worshipful Bill Maddox, Senior Warden; WM Edgar Lanham, Junior Warden; WM Greg Gunter, Senior Deacon, and WB Kenneth Wingard, Junior Deacon.
Bob Coleman was installed as Treasurer; WM Nick Fidanza, as Secretary; Wayne Anderson, as Tyler; Freddy Wright, as Chaplain; Paul Paletti, as Senior Steward; Bruce Hendry, as Junior Steward; and John Schlitter, as Marshall. WM Bill Nordstrom is the Lodge organist.
The LaBelle Lodge is located on JayCee-Lions Drive near Cowboy Way and meets on the second and fourth Tuesday each month.