Jack and Kathy* have been married 71 years. He is 92. She is 93. They have traveled the world, have raised two children, and have grown old together. And then last year, in an unexpected turn of events, they learned that they had to vacate their home of 14 years. Neither could manage the physical demands of moving on their own. And even once they were out, they had nowhere to go. They didn’t have the financial means to afford a care facility. They had no family nearby to lean on. All that they had was Jack’s lodge. With growing panic, Jack turned to his Masonic brothers.
There is a growing effort among California lodges to increase member outreach, and to partner with Masonic Assistance when a widow or brother needs help. Because of it, Consuelo Lodge No. 325 knew right away to call Masonic Outreach Services (MOS). Lodge brothers and MOS worked together to help Jack and Kathy turn in their application for support services, and with it, secure financial aid for an assisted living facility. As it happens, a Consuelo brother works at just such a facility – located close to the lodge, and even with a few other Masons in residence. Jack and Kathy happily chose to move there. In an outpouring of support, and with just days left to pull together a team, the lodge rallied a dozen brothers to move all of their belongings.
Tom Handell is the Consuelo Lodge brother who works at Jack and Kathy’s new residence. Throughout the transition, he has worked closely with MOS to ensure the couple’s safe move and continued support. Now, he witnesses the successful results every day. Both Jack and Kathy have gained some desperately needed weight. At last, their medications are being managed properly. They are thriving in their new community.
“They are happy as they can be here,” Handell says. “It was such a good move for them. It gives you a really good feeling, knowing you made a real difference in someone’s life.”
“Part of our Masonic obligation is to help our brothers and our widows,” he says. “It’s our obligation as a Mason, yes. But more than that, it’s our duty as a human being.”
Tracy Reynolds was among the Consuelo Lodge brothers who pitched in on moving day.
“Many of our members have done so much to help others when they had the means to do so,” he says. “If we all consider the many people that have helped us in our life adventure – people that we cannot pay back – there arises an opportunity to pay it forward through outreach and relief.”
“When life experiences might produce huge obstacles,” Reynolds says, “many hands will make light work.”
*Names and identifying details have been changed to protect client privacy.