As the 2021 Junior Warden for the lodge, one of my responsibilities is to coordinate the Sweetheart’s Luncheon for our widows. Since we are currently in a pandemic, it required me to pivot from our normal function. 2021 was to be the year of food delivery and a barber shop quartet serenading our sweethearts. For this to occur, we needed to be assured that our widows would be home at the scheduled date and time. During our check in, it came to light that one of our widows, Rita, was in dire need of help from the brethren.
Rita is a proud 87-year-old who had been living without heat for 3 years. A good Samaritan attempted to help her 3 years prior but installed an indoor style heater vs the needed outdoor style for her manufactured home. This good deed was the basis of her insurance company denying the claim on it being fixed and further causing her to live below allowable means.
After she shared this information with me, I reached out to Worshipful Michael and the rest of the executive committee. We were all in agreement that we had to help Rita. After meeting, it was apparent that we needed a plan and the good will and generosity of the brethren.
I next reached out to Eric Tash with Coastline AC. He dropped everything that he was doing and went to her home straight away. He confirmed what Rita had told us, she needed an entirely different unit only available in Texas with a hefty 3,000-dollar price tag. Without hesitation or any way of knowing how he would be paid; he ordered the part saying that we cannot let her live this way any longer.
The next 48 hours were a blur of action and charity coming from our brethren. We had a GoFundMe up later that day and in less than 24 hours our brethren rose to the occasion and raised funds exceeding the amount needed to make sure Rita was taken care of. I sat in amazement watching the donations coming in one after another. I was being with pride to be part of such an amazing organization. To further our surprise, the new unit was installed and running less than 6 days after finding out Rita needed help. I was able to pay Eric in full and take a trip to visit Rita to not only check in but surprise her with a check for the overage.
I can only say that I was humbled, when I walked into her home and was thanked so furiously for our efforts, brethren we changed her life. She wrote poems for us as well as prayed for all of us the majority of the time I was there. She assured me her husband John was smiling down knowing his brothers took care of his wife. When I presented her with the check from the overage, she could no longer contain herself and wept tears of joy. Though she did not say it, I believe this check will allow her to eat and pay her bills.
This experience will forever be a story I tell those around me when they ask what it is, we do. We make a difference in the lives of those around us by coming together and focusing on the common good. These situations do not show up often, but when they do, I am glad to know I am in the company of men who will act on them. Thank you to all of those who helped Rita. She is eternally grateful.
Bro. Michael May