This week’s contributor, Bro. Aaron Rose, is fresh from the quarry, having been raised last June at Arcadia Lodge #278. Aaron is a proud husband and father. He and his wife have two children, and they are the owners of Mavin Learning Resources in Arcadia, CA: an education consulting company that offers counseling classes and tutoring to help students prepare for and apply to colleges and universities.
Last month, he was elected president of my Scottish Rite Reunion class (Jack Vickers 33° Memorial Reunion Class – May 2015) and served as the candidate in the 4th and 32nd exemplified rituals. As a part of his election, he was required to prepare a speech to present at our capping ceremony on June 5th. He eloquently captured our experience in the class and informed us the legacy of our class’s namesake. That speech is presented here for you enjoyment.
Congratulations to the 2015 spring Jack Vickers class. We made it.
When we first gathered here, we came seeking light, and after two long weekends immersed in the degrees, receiving the key to unlock the door to our enlightenment, I feel that I have never been so confused in all my life.
But as an educator, and counselor I know that confusion is one of the signs that the student is beginning to make progress. And judging from the conversations we have had during and since I can tell we are all making a lot of progress.
I want to give thanks to our wonderful lecturer Brother Simon Mcllroy for serving as our guide into this valley of the Pasadena Scottish Rite and for thoroughly confusing all of us with his lectures, and investing us with the responsibility to find our own truths within our hearts and within these degrees. His commitment to spreading the light of self-awareness serves as a beacon, as we search for our own light in this valley of Scottish Rite Freemasonry.
I would also like to give thanks to all the brothers who worked so hard to prepare our meals and put on the brilliant production that has served as our initiation into this fraternity. We were well fed and the brilliant performances helped us to circumscribe our desire to fall asleep.
Our class was named after the spirit of a dearly departed brother, whom I have had the pleasure to learn about over the past few weeks.
After the discussion group this past Saturday, I had the good fortune to hear about the life and times of Brother Jack Vickers from our incoming Venerable Master brother William H. Malouf.
There are several qualities that we as masons work to embody, and from what I understand Jack Vickers was one of those rare individuals who was able to live a life of true masonic virtue, and as such his memory reminds us again what it means to be a mason.
Jack Vickers was the kind of guy that understood the sanctity of hard work. And, he embodied work as a form of prayer. He served as master of Reseda lodge in 1963, and again 40 years later in 2003.
While many of us make excuses about being too busy to serve in the line at our lodges, Jack was working on spaceship recovery systems for NASA’a Mercury, Apollo and Gemini missions while serving as master of the lodge in 1963.
He served as inspector for 14 years when the attention to detail in ritual far exceeded the standards we hold today, on top of this he was the kind of person that always had time for a brother who needed friendly advice about matters personal or masonic in nature. Every Thursday, he would travel from his home in Palmdale to Reseda, to support his lodge, and help with the work in whatever way he was needed.
I only wish that I had the opportunity to get to know him, but I console myself with the belief that I can see his spirit of humility reflected in the actions and manners of the brothers that knew him, and it is carried in the hearts of those who’s lives he touched.
Hearing about his dedication to the work, his commitment to his brothers, and his unflagging passion for spreading the cement of brotherly love and masonic virtues, inspires me to look within and ask myself the tough questions that the comfort and habit of daily routine so often conceal from view. Am I doing all that I can do to spread truth, charity, and love throughout the world? Am I challenging myself to be a better person every day, or am I resting content on the comforts of past accomplishments and present status.
Which brings me to our status here today. I have always been wary of graduations, and tonight is no exception, because the truth of graduation is a paradox. On the one hand we are celebrating the end of a course of study, a time to pause and reflect on the long hard road we have traveled to get here, but in truth, we have only just begun to explore this new chapter in our lives, this journey we take as brothers of the Scottish Rite. And what we do going forward is so much more important than everything we have done to get here. We have all taken the first step on that mythical journey of a thousand miles, and I look forward to taking the next step toward that better and brighter land, as we endeavor ever to break off those rough and superfluous parts of our character to better fit ourselves into that house eternal, whose beams and ashlars are held together by the cement we mix when we allow our souls to mingle.
So as we walk that long path together, kindling and spreading the light of truth (if not at all times in person, then at all times in spirit), I hope you will remember the example of Brother Vickers and see how his influence lives on in those who were influenced by him. And, just as he learned to embody those values from ages long before him, so too should we endeavor to reflect his light far into the future.
Thank you Bro. Aaron Rose for you contribution this week!
If you would like to be the next contributor, send me an email. I hope you will. S&F, J
Jack R. Vickers – Patent for Parachute assembly for aerial recovery: US 3385539 A
Jack R. Vickers – Ringsail Parachute Design