Two years ago, William Young left the damp green of Scotland for the high desert of California, fulfilling his wife’s dream to return to the place she grew up. He left behind his homeland, his home lodge, his business, and his way of life. But he found one place in California that felt familiar: the Masonic lodge. He began visiting Barstow Boron Lodge No. 682 regularly.
Then the unthinkable happened. His wife died. “He went through the hardest downfall anybody could have,” says Jesus Gonzalez, a brother at Barstow Boron Lodge. “He was going through all this pain, and at the same time he had no income, no job, no nothing because he was an immigrant. The papers weren’t filed yet for his citizenship. It was a mess.”
Barstow Boron Lodge opened their arms to him. Brother Richard Hall set up a room in his home for Young to stay, free of charge. Another brother donated a wardrobe’s worth of clothing, after Young lost more than 100 pounds from grief and stress. The lodge passed the hat to raise money for his medication and essentials.
Gonzalez, who volunteers as a training coordinator for the Lodge Outreach Program, also sought advice from Masonic Outreach Services (MOS). Even in cases where individuals are not eligible for financial support, MOS is available for information and referrals. The staff suggested resources, and kept tabs on Young’s well-being. Meanwhile, Gonzalez stayed alert for opportunities to help. He discovered that Young needed to raise a substantial sum for the U.S. citizenship application fee, and convinced Young to let him talk to the brothers. They rushed to help once more.
In the months since, Young’s citizenship was approved. With it, he was able to find a job, and move into his own place. He’s back on his feet, and profoundly grateful to his new brothers for getting him there. Even an ocean from home, the fraternity was there to lift him up.
As for Barstow Boron Lodge, “All of our brothers were already very united,” says Gonzalez. “This united us even more.”
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