By Fran Patrick
Generous support from donors provides bright spots in people’s lives.
Do something for someone less fortunate than you — a phrase that we have all heard many times and a mission to be lived by. As a society, we look to those who lead to have a strong sense of self, a duty to work hard and a duty to leave things in a better place than when they found them.
The list of leaders within the Masonic Home’s existence is impressive. Each one sharing the same narrative to support the charity and protect the future. Each one inspiring the next person to do their bit. We are blessed to say that at the Masonic Home we have a group of individuals that live by the mission to serve in that same vain. Their selflessness to ensure that there is relief available for those in need is palpable when you spend time in their presence, and you are left with the common thread that they are all thoughtful and caring people who inspire and support others.
The world today is in a place that for some means struggles are greater than they have ever been. But one thing remains constant — the desire our donors have to support their fellow Brother Masons, wives and widows, children and ladies of the Order of the Eastern Star. Their passion for who to help may vary, but their reasons are the same. And, as you continue to read this article, one thing strikes a chord — the servant leadership mentality of all of these individuals. From their careers to their community service and beyond, there is an authentic realness to each of them.
Major Thomas A. Spencer (1934 -2020) — the name resonates throughout the Masonic Home and its donors, inspiring people to follow his lead with their own philanthropic contributions. Spencer was committed to Masonry throughout his life, serving many roles and supporting Masonic organizations worldwide, including the Masonic Home of Missouri. It was at Truman Club Dinner that Tom spoke to our membership, leaving an indelible mark on some. Brother Harrison “Dan” Philbrick and his wife, Dr. Anita Philbrick, remember the impact of meeting Tom. “Introducing my family to Major Tom Spencer and listening to his inspirational speeches” makes you stop and think about what you need to do. Tom’s message was clear. “They [the Masonic Home] were doing things closer to what made sense to me.” And so it makes sense for others…
For donors like Rick and Barbara Huddleston, they see it as their duty to pay it forward. Having supported the organization for over 30 years, the first question that seemed appropriate to ask was, why support the Masonic Home? A silence, a deep breath, and then the calming voice that replies… “There is not one reason, there are many reasons.” In my time at the Masonic Home, this is a recurring answer that I have often heard. Rick is resolute in his first reason: “As a Mason it is our duty to take care of our ailing Brothers, Sisters and children.” Rick continues with his second reason by sharing, “It is a great cause. My wife and I do not expect to need the services or assistance offered by the Masonic Home, but at the same time others will.” Paired with the first reason, that strong sense of selflessness is ever present.
And the last? This is where Barbara says the one word that is valued above all others in a relationship, “Trust. I trust the Masonic Home. In a world of bad news and ever growing need, the Masonic Home is trustworthy in providing for those who need it.” Any great relationship is built upon trust, respect, and a compatible sense of duty to serve one another. It is this connection that is formed between the Masonic Home and the donor that creates a longstanding relationship that, in some cases, lasts longer than a lifetime and crosses generations.
Dan and Anita echo the sentiment of duty to help those less fortunate. “Anita and I have a difficult time watching the struggles of older friends and children, particularly food insecurities.” They are both intent on assisting children. With Anita’s education career path, the Masonic Home’s Creating-A-Partnership and Children’s Outreach Programs provide a clear choice for their charitable donations. “It is the ability to fulfill the needs in the communities of Missouri, including Partnership Programs which benefit kids that impresses us about the Masonic Home,” says Anita. And in the nature of our wonderful donors as they lead by example, they have a message for those making decisions on how to make a difference. Rick’s advice to others looking at their philanthropic commitment is to “renew your obligation and contribute.” Dan shares, “If you, as a Master Mason, have received a Masters’ wages and have been thereby better enabled to contribute… the Masonic Home is a great way to share your resources.”
From Penny-A-Day to becoming a member of our Truman Club Society, there are a great deal of ways to make the Masonic Home your charity of choice. There are opportunities to honor someone’s memory with a paver in the Masonic Home’s Square & Compasses Courtyard, support a specific program, or join a society — all roads lead to the path of supporting those that need us today and for years ahead.
Our donors’ core mission has spanned generations. Dan’s father was a “third generation 50-year Master Mason who, during his lifetime, was seldom in a position to financially support charities, such as the Masonic Home.” But today, “It gives me [Dan] an opportunity to honor not only his memory, but also my other Mason forbearers.” We thank all of our donors for sharing their stories and showing us that our tagline, “Support the Charity. Protect the Future.” is being lived out each day. And, while it is new to us in our messaging, it is over a century old in its practice. So today, we want to stop and say thank you. Thank you to those who have paved the way, led by example and reminded us all of our duty to serve others less fortunate. Human decency of this nature provides a light in a world that, for some, is filled with darkness.