A few years ago, Danny Honniball read an annual report story about an elderly California Mason who’d been secretly living in his car for a decade, until one day he landed in the emergency room. When the hospital phoned the number listed as next of kin, they reached his lodge. His brothers and Masonic Outreach Services (MOS) leapt to help, and turned his life around.
“That story inspired me,” Honniball says. “It made me realize that as Masons, we really do what we say we do. We take care of our own.” At the next stated meeting, he stood up in San Jose Lodge No. 10 to share the story.
But he worried about all the brothers who weren’t at lodge that day. Which of them were falling through the cracks? He decided to attend an MOS training for the Lodge Outreach Program, held at the nearby Masonic Home at Union City. He emerged more inspired than ever, and with a plan: Calling Day. It was as simple as getting a group together to call every inactive brother on the roster. With his master’s endorsement, he put it to the lodge, and six brothers, all of them relatively new, volunteered.
They met on a Saturday morning, at 10 a.m., with 110 phone numbers divided among them. They crossed off disconnected numbers. They left voicemails. Most importantly, they had conversations.
MOS had provided a script, but the team felt more comfortable without it. “Speak from your heart,” Honniball advised. “’How you doing today? I’m Danny from San Jose 10. I’m checking in on you.’”
Looking around the room, Honniball thought of something an elder brother had said when he was just a candidate: Of all the secrets in Masonry, there was one he’d tell him now – it’ll make you feel good. “You could feel that in the room,” Honniball said. “The guys genuinely felt good to be reaching out to their brothers, and those brothers knew somebody cared enough to make that phone call. It was a good day.” A few months later, the group convened again to call sweethearts.
When Honniball asked the brothers why they raised their hands for Calling Day, most gave a familiar answer: “I want to do something good. I want to be part of something bigger than me.” The outreach calls connected them to it. Many have since received calls back from the brothers and sweethearts for whom they’d left messages, thanking them for the call, sharing a little about their lives, and meeting, in a way, for the first time.
And then, at a recent lodge fundraiser, Honniball walked up to an unfamiliar brother to introduce himself. As it turned out, the man was a 44-year Mason who hadn’t been to lodge in 40 years. “He said, ‘I got a phone call,’” Honniball says, “so I wondered what you guys were up to.’”
Organize your own Calling Day with this phone script. To attend a training or learn how your lodge can partner with the Masonic Homes, call (888) 466-3642 or visit masonichome.org.