Brother Lester Solberg Honored

PM Lon Reidburn presented a 50-Year Pin and Certificate to Brother Lester Solberg on October 18. Brother Solberg’s daughters were able to attend the presentation. Brothers Reidburn and Solberg are members of UD #357.

 

From the Deputy Grand Master [posted June 2020]

We are now one-fourth of the way in the current Masonic year. The year 2020 is still wreaking havoc inside the borders of our state. How we respond as Masons will be telling to the future of our Fraternity. Our lectures tell us that the devastations of war have laid waste and destroyed many valuable monuments of antiquity but, not withstanding, Freemasonry has still survived. The same is true with this pandemic, Freemasonry will survive. But, how healthy will your Lodge be when this pandemic is over? Are you staying engaged with your members? Are you doing activities? Or are you using this as an excuse to close your doors and take a break?
More than ever your Brothers are looking for a reason to connect. There are ways of safely conducting business, having social interaction and spreading the light. The Grand Master has laid out guidelines and if the individual Mason is responsible and the Lodge follows the guidelines, we can minimize the chances of catching the virus. If you are in an area that has an outbreak and/or your members do not feel comfortable meeting in person, then take advantage of modern technology and use a platform that allows you to meet virtually. If you have members that are still in their journey of joining the Lodge, keep them engaged.
Now is also a great time to get engaged with your community. There is a huge need for blood. Organize a blood drive. There is a huge need for food. Organize a food drive. There is a huge need for the elderly to have some sort of social interaction. Arrange a parade/walk in front of the community where the elderly might live so they can look out their windows and feel a part of their community again.
Be safe and look for the Silver Lining.

Fraternally,  
Jeff VanCuren  
Deputy Grand Master / Grand Master Elect  

 

From the West [posted October 2020]

I’m going to start with how much I appreciate all the SD Brothers for entrusting me to be your Senior Grand Warden for the ensuing Masonic year. With that being said I will be curious to see/hear how much we will be able to accomplish in the year.
The Grand lodge is busy with setting up Zoom meetings like being able to have the District Masters training on Zoom. If you, or your members, are uncomfortable with in person meetings during this COVID pandemic and need help setting up a Zoom meeting for your lodge, please reach out to the GL office or your Regional Officer for help.
Communication IS KEY!! If your lodge is not using MORI/OLP (Our Lodge Page) please get that going. If you require assistance, please reach out to the GL office. We really need an active email, phone and address for EVERY member in your lodge to ensure that we can all have a direct line of communication during these trying times. If they don’t have a personal email, find out if a member of their family has one and is willing to share the info with them from that email.
With all the indifference going on in the country right now, with the COVID, riots and so on, it is more important then ever to be evermore caring to the community and the Brothers around you. Please check in on Brothers and their families if you haven’t heard from them in some time. We need, more than ever, to show our support to them in this hard time.
Last but not least: If you know of a man that is fitting to our fraternity, send him to www.beafreemason.org. Where he will be able to look for all the info he is wanting to know about our great fraternity. If you have not looked at the website PLEASE DO!! It is full of great info for a future member and a current one.
I Look forward to serving YOU and YOUR Grand Lodge for the ensuing year!

Fraternally,  
Dan Nace, Senior Grand Warden  

 

From the South [posted October 2020]

Greetings Brother! I am excited to be writing to you as Junior Grand Warden! I am very humbled and honored to be elected to this position and very much look forward to the journey ahead. Thank You. From the start of my journey even before the Annual Communication I felt a part of this Grand Lodge team and the mission they wanted to accomplish. Dane and I were invited to be a part of the planning meetings before the Annual Communication to get acclimated right away. This was very much appreciated as we truly hit the ground running after the Communication. The Grand Lodge team is motivated to move Masonry in South Dakota forward. One of the first steps Most Worshipful Jason would like to shore up is communication. We want to keep Masons across the state well informed of what is happening throughout the craft. As technology and the way we all communicate continues to change and evolve, we will be looking for the best and most effective ways to accomplish this.
I am looking forward to making my way around the state to visit your lodge and connect with you personally. Of course, this year presents a different kind of challenge for in person visits but will do what is possible. As I look forward to the visits, I am reminded of one of my favorite things about Freemasonry. Meeting on the Level! Ever since being raised a Master Mason it has been amazing to know that a group of men from all kinds of different professions, ages, thoughts, and views can meet and together and act as Brothers. With that wither I am wearing a green coat or not I would like to connect with you on the level and work together to accomplish our goals and preserve our craft for future generations. I am always willing to listen on ideas and thoughts.
Thank You again for this opportunity and I look forward to our journey ahead!

Fraternally,  
Aaron F. Zahn, Junior Grand Warden  

Leave a Lasting Legacy

From: MWB Jason D. Swindler, Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota
To: All Masonic Lodges and all Freemasons under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota

HISTORICALLY THE GRAND MASTER supports the South Dakota Masonic Charities (formerly South Dakota Masonic Foundation) by sending out appeal letters throughout the Masonic year and sponsoring Table Lodges or some other function to raise funds. The charities that are included under the umbrella of South Dakota Masonic Charites (SDMC) are:
1. South Dakota Child Identification Program which provides parents and guardians what they need for an Amber Alert in case of abduction or loss of an individual.
2. Masonic Model Student Assistance Program (MMSAP) or “Save a Child Program” which provides training for school staff to recognize and assist children that are at risk.
3. Masonic Scholarship Program which provides tuition assistance for students seeking higher education.
4. SDMC Matching Grant Program which provides up to $500 in matching funds with Constituent Lodges to help fund charitable community projects.

With the current Covid-19 situation it is not known whether Table Lodges or other functions will be possible this year. I have, with the support of the Trustees and SDMC Board, decided we are going to sell face masks with all the proceeds going to SDMC as unrestricted funds so they can use the money where it is needed most. We have decided to have two separate mask designs: one is black with the Seal of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota and one is blue with the Square and Compass. We will be selling two masks (one of each design) for $30. Our goal is to keep costs as low as possible so I am hoping that each Lodge can submit an order to the Grand Lodge office and we can make one shipment to each Lodge. Individual Masons wishing to order masks may be asked to pay a separate shipping fee.

We have tried to pick nice quality masks that all South Dakota Masons will be proud to wear in Lodge or out in public. It is my hope that I can count on your support of OUR South Dakota Masonic Charities. Your participation in this fundraiser will help support SDMC in continuing our charitable work in South Dakota. As I stated before, I am doing this fundraiser separate from my appeal letter that will be presented later. I think it is important to get orders generated as soon as possible so we can order more masks if needed.
I want to personally thank you for all the work you continue to do as Masons, even in the face of a pandemic. I am proud to be a Mason and I look forward to what the future has in store for our great and noble Craft in South Dakota. As always, continue to search out Light, be the Light and shine your Light my Brothers.
Fraternally,  
Jason D. Swindler,  
Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota  

 

From the Grand Historian

George Attwood Pettigrew served as the Grand Master of Masons of South Dakota in 1918 and forty years as the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota. A second cousin of Senator Richard Franklin Pettigrew, George was born in Ludlow Vermont April 6, 1858. He received a medical degree in 1882 from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire and moved west to Flandreau, Dakota Territory. He was the Surgeon for the 2nd Regiment of Dakota National Guard from 1885 to 1898. He married Edora Zulette Stearns on October 19, 1887 in Troy, New York. George served as the President of the Flandreau State Bank 1891-1903. In 1903, he moved to Sioux Falls and lived at 411 South Minnesota Avenue. He was a member of the Sioux Falls School Board 1910-1918. George was instrumental in the construction of the Grand Lodge Library in Sioux Falls on Main Avenue in 1925. The building is still standing and is currently the home of Architecture Incorporated.
George’s Masonic career began in King Solomon’s Lodge No. 14, Scytheville, New Hampshire June 14, 1880. He affiliated with Flandreau Lodge No. 11, January 5, 1884, and with Unity Lodge No. 130 on November 3, 1905. He was a member of the El Riad Shrine Temple, Cyrene Commandery, No. 2, Knights Templar, the Order of the Eastern Star and the Scottish Rite. In 1889, he became the Grand Secretary of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of South Dakota and continued in the role for a quarter century. In 1894 he was selected as the Grand Recorder of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar. He was elected Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota in 1895. He continued as Grand Secretary of the grand Lodge of South Dakota until his election in 1918 as Grand Master of Masons. In 1919 he was re-elected Grand Secretary and served in the position until 1936. George Pettigrew died of a Heart Attack on April 13, 1938 and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Sioux Falls.
Dr. George A. Pettigrew, ca. 1895
George L. Chesley Photographer
Siouxland Heritage Museums Photograph 1999.020.56

The painting of George Pettigrew in his Masonic regalia was painted in 1917 by portrait artist F. H. Morse (1993.14.1). The painting was donated to the Siouxland Heritage Museums in April, 1993 by the Grand Lodge A.F. & A. M. of South Dakota. The painting underwent conservation by M. Randall Ash, Painting Conservator, in 1997.

William J. Hoskins, Grand Historian

-------
Notes:
1 Kingsbury, George W., History of Dakota Territory, S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1915, Vol. IV, p. 106-109
2 Tisher, Harold L., The First 100 Years of the Grand Lodge A. F. & A. M. of South Dakota 1875-1975, 1974, p. 102-103
3 “Dr. G. A. Pettigrew National Figure In Masonry, Succumbs,” The Daily Argus Leader, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Thursday, April 14, 1938, p. 1


 

Grand Master’s Edict Regarding Covid-19 (Updated September 30)

From: MWB Jason D. Swindler, Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota
To: All Masonic Lodges and all Freemasons under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota

The original edict that was issued on July 13, 2020, will expire September 30, 2020. I have decided to allow further decisions on COVID-19 guidelines to be made by each individual Lodge under the direct guidance of the Master of that Lodge. I believe that each Lodge can decide what is best practice for conducting meetings and degree work. We are all aware of the guidelines and recommendations the CDC has provided. I believe it is worth repeating that it is everyone’s responsibility to use our best judgement to keep the the Brothers and families of Masons protected from the spread of COVID-19 in our Jurisiction.
The following are the recommendations for Lodges that are comfortable with opening and holding a Stated meeting or conducting Degree work. If your Lodge is located in a part of the State where there are increased cases of COVID-19 please use good Masonic common sense and judgment. If you are experiencing symptoms (i.e. fever, cough, shortness of breath, dizziness, etc.) please STAY HOME! Masons in the high-risk category are the sole decision makers whether or not to attend Lodge.

BEGINNING OCTOBER 1, 2020, THE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR REGULAR STATED MEETINGS AND CONDUCTING DEGREE WORK ARE AS FOLLOWS:

1. Regular Stated Lodge meetings will be allowed:
- Contact your District Master and inform him of intention to hold regular stated meetings. (REQUIRED).
- Lodges may open in any Degree
- A “social” (physical) distance of 6 feet must be maintained.
- Any Brother required to be closer than 6 feet from another Brother is highly encouraged to wear a mask. Lodges are encouraged to provide masks or encourage Members to bring their own
- Hand sanitizer must be available in numerous places in the Lodge building including entrances and exits of the building and of the Lodge room(s)
- All restrooms must contain liquid hand soap

2. Conducting Degree work will be allowed with the following stipulations:
- Contact your District Master and inform him of intention to conduct degree work. (REQUIRED)
- All Candidates, Conductors (including the SD & JD) must wear masks for protection and use hand sanitizer before and after putting the mask on or taking it off
- Any Brother required to be closer than 6 feet from another Brother or Candidate must follow the same requirements
- Hand sanitizer must be used before and after each Section
- A “social” physical distance of 6 feet must be maintained by ALL others

As Grand Master I reserve the right to update this edict at any time if the need arises. I will continue to constantly monitor the COVID-19 situation in South Dakota.
Continue to search out Light, be the Light and shine your Light my Brothers.
Fraternally,  
Jason D. Swindler  
Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota  

 

Worshipful Brother Brian Pulling Accepts Award

These Brothers were all smiles as Senior Grand Warden Dan Nace presented Worshipful Brother Brian Pulling of Minnehaha Lodge #5 with the Region A Master Builder of the Year Award for 2019-2020

 

Brethren, please take note of the following:
Recently there have been a number of scams going around requesting Gift Cards as fundraisers for many charities and other things. The Grand Lodge of South Dakota, Grand Master Jason Swindler, and the South Dakota Masonic Charities will never send a request to members requesting gift cards be purchased and sent in or numbers used as Masonic Fundraisers.
If any of you receive such a request, please call the Grand Lodge office, or the office of any group requesting, to let us/them know and to confirm the request. Do this for all gift card requests. Better to be safe than sorry.
Fraternally,  
Jason Swindler, Grand Master of Masons  

 

The Other Masonry...

Mt. Rushmore Lodge #220 takes a field trip to learn and practice some operative masonry. EA Jeremy won the “Chip-Olympics” and won the Rough/Perfect Ashlar.

 

Civility: A Continuing Masonic Community Conversation

On Saturday, September 26, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. (Pacifiic Time) there will be a discussion with an exploration of the difference between racism and prejudice and bigotry. We will then hold smaller group discussions where participants will have the opportunity to share their perspectives and needs. To register:
To see a flyer with more information on this event, click:

 

Brothers one and all,
We have an amazing Public Awareness Committee (PAC) this year, built from Brothers across the state who are energized and ready to start taking on some challenges. We are looking at some interesting projects to get the message out that we are proud to be Masons and we want our communities to know that too.
There will be more to come on our efforts, but this will give you a little flavor of what we are working on:
- “Proud to be a Mason” program
- Grand Lodge website redesign
- Gathering, preserving, and sharing our current and past Masonic history and inspirations
- Furthering the interests of Masonic Civility within the state
- Begin building a statewide Masonic directory
Are we going to fail at some things? Absolutely! Will we learn from that and find a better or different approach? Absolutely! We are also looking for input from the body of the Craft. If there are things you feel the PAC can tackle, we are very open to hearing them and getting them into a plan for the future.
Please keep checking the Grand Lodge website for the list of members of the committee and their contact information. Feel free to reach out to any or all of us with your ideas, thoughts and Brotherly advice.
For now, we leave you with this from Simon Sinek, “The goal is not simply for you to cross the finish line, but to see how many people you can inspire to run with you.” We sincerely hope you will be inspired to run with the PAC!
Fraternally,  
Brian Pulling, PAC Chair  

 

Olive Branch #47 Installs Officers [posted August 2020]

The installation of Officers took place at Olive Branch #47 in Sturgis on August 30. Participants included members of the Grand Lodge, Demolay, Rebecca’s Daughters, Spearfish Lodge #18, and Olive Branch #47. Attendees were from both South Dakota and Wyoming.

 

Three Generations of Freemasonry [posted August 2020]

Here is a picture from degree work in Mitchell showing three generations in Masonry. To the right of MWB Denny Robinson is his grandson, Cooper Vermuelen, who received his MM Degree, and his son-in-law, Jon Vermuelen. Cooper recently graduated from Mitchell Sr.High and is now heading to the South Dakota School of Mines for Mechanical Engineering. He was raised at a One-Day Conferral at Resurgam Lodge #31 on August 8, 2020.

 

GRAND MASTER’S EDICT REGARDING COVID-19

Effective July 13, 2020, and until further announcement from the Grand Master the following guidelines will regulate activities of South Dakota Lodges and Freemasons during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic

From: MWB Jason D. Swindler, Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota
To: All Masonic Lodges and all Freemasons under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota

Although the State of South Dakota has been slowly getting back to business as usual while under guidelines and recommendations on the CDC, I have up to this point been reluctant to rush in making a decision on the next step of our reopening. The time has come to take the next step. With that being said, we must continue to practice “social” (physical) distancing; wearing masks when having to be closer than 6 feet from another person; and washing hands and using hand sanitizer often. It is everyone’s responsibility to use our best judgement to keep the Brothers and families of Masons protected from the spread of COVID-19 in our Jurisdiction.
The following are the requirements for Lodges that are comfortable with opening and holding a Stated meeting or conducting Degree work. If your Lodge is located in a part of the State where there are increased cases of COVID-19 please use good Masonic common sense and judgment. If you are experiencing symptoms (i.e. fever, cough, shortness of breath, dizziness, etc.) please STAY HOME! Masons in the high-risk category are the sole decision makers whether or not to attend Lodge.

BEGINNING JULY 13, 2020 THE REQUIREMENTS FOR REGULAR STATED MEETINGS AND CONDUCTING DEGREE WORK ARE AS FOLLOWS:

1. Regular Stated Lodge meetings will be allowed:
- Contact your District Master and inform him of intention to hold regular stated meetings. The District Master has the authority to veto a Lodge reopening if, in the District Master’s discretion, he believes the Covid-19 rate within his district, or within the Lodge’s immediate community, is too high to allow a safe reopening.
- A “social” (physical) distance of 6 feet must be maintained.
- Any Brother required to be closer than 6 feet from another Brother is highly encouraged to wear a mask. Lodges are encouraged to provide masks or encourage Members to bring their own
- Hand sanitizer must be available in numerous places in the Lodge building including entrances and exits of the building and of the Lodge room(s)
- All restrooms must contain liquid hand soap

2. Conducting Degree work will be allowed with the following stipulations:
- Contact your District Master and inform him of intention to conduct degree work with his approval under the guidelines set forth in 1., above.
- All Candidates, Conductors (including the SD & JD) must wear masks for protection and use hand sanitizer before and after putting the mask on or taking it off
- Any Brother required to be closer than 6 feet from another Brother or Candidate must follow the same requirements
- Hand sanitizer must be used before and after each Section
- A “social” physical distance of 6 feet must be maintained by ALL others

THESE REQUIREMENTS WILL REMAIN IN PLACE THROUGH SEPTEMBER 30TH, 2020.

In my professional duties as a Registered Pharmacist I am constantly monitoring the Covid-19 situation in South Dakota.
As Grand Master I reserve the right to update this edict at any time if the need arises. I understand this is not what we are used to as Masons in South Dakota but it is in our best interest to do whatever it takes to move forward without risking our Brother’s and their family’s safety. In this world of uncertainty, we must stand out as a Fraternity of Leaders both in our Lodges and, maybe more importantly, in our Communities.

Continue to search out Light, be the Light and shine your Light my Brothers. Use the tools we have been given to be the best Masons we can be.

Fraternally,  
Jason D. Swindler, Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota  

 

One-Day District Master Meeting: August 29 [posted August 2020]

As discussed in the DM and Appointed Officer meeting on August 4, we will do a one-day District Master Meeting on August 29. Leadership training will be a separate event, most likely a virtual event. This was to allow travel to and from location without having to stay overnight. If you cannot make the meeting and would like to watch via Zoom please let me know, as I can accommodate virtual meeting.

Who: District Masters (appointed Officers invited)
What: District Master Training and Round Table
When: August 29th 10am-4pm CDT
Where: Pierre Lodge (201 W Capitol, Pierre)

Pierre Lodge #27 will provide lunch ($10 donation)

Schedule of Events:
10:00-10:30: GM welcome and remarks
10:30-11:15: Dep GM code requirements for DMs
11:15-12:00: SGW recognition program and District Meetings
12:00-1:00 Lunch
1:00-1:45: GTS reporting requirements and expectations
1:45-2:30: JGW membership
2:30-3:30 Roundtable Discussions (Please submit or be prepared to submit a Topic)
3:30-4:00: GM closing remarks

Jeff VanCuren
Deputy Grand Master/Grand Master Elect
(703) 217-3001

 

Masons Supporting Widows and Orphans [posted August 2020]

In October 2009, with the permission of the Grand Master of Masons of South Dakota, Master Mason motorcycle enthusiasts formed the South Dakota Widows Sons Masonic Motorcycle Riders Association as a Square and Compass Club. Subsequently, the Grand Chapter of South Dakota Widows Sons Masonic Motorcycle Riders Association was chartered on November 27, 2009. The SD Widows Sons Masonic Motorcycle Riders Association (SD WS) continues to grow in popularity and membership. As a result, a second chapter, The Mystic Brotherhood Chapter of South Dakota Widows Sons Masonic Motorcycle Riders Association was formed, and we are working on a third chapter in southeast South Dakota.
In celebration of its tenth anniversary in 2019, the SD Widows Sons celebrated its founders with a meeting and a ride to an Alexandria car show led by the new Grand Master, Most Worshipful Jason “Swinny” Swindler and his wife, Dee, on June 20, 2020 in Mitchell, SD. The Founders Fathers of the SD Widows Sons awards were presented to Jason Swindler, Denny Robinson, and Neil Kotas. In addition, Jason and Dee were celebrating their 23rd wedding anniversary and a successful Grand Lodge virtual installation. Most Worshipful Swindler provided opening comments for the meeting. It was exciting to listen to the awesome goals and the exciting plans for the future of SD Masons and the SD Widows Sons.
The SD WS’s mission is to support widows and orphans, and Masonic “helping people” events and charities. This is our third year of working supporting the Sacred Heart Children’s Services in Eagle Butte. The SD Grand Chapter and the Mystic Brotherhood Chapter are continuing to work with the Eagle Butte Lodge to support the annual Children’s Home Christmas Gift Presentation, a children’s event, like the Masonic Child Identification Programs (CHIP) that we did in 2018, a Children’s Bicycle Give Away, and a community ham charity (last year, 84 hams) in December. Throughout the year, we continue to provide clothing, school supplies for the children. The Scared Heart organization has set up a thrift store this year to support the “mothers and children in need” facilities, and they need our help.
SD WS support events for many causes and provide support to widows, children and brothers in need; e.g., $1000 to the Nebraska Flood Relief, $1000 to Worshipful Brother Dave Saunders’s widow, $4,700 for Sioux Falls Masonic Building Association, Veteran’s Health Event, Ride for Survivors, charity funds for Scottish Rite, York Rite, Daughter of Nile, Demolays, Job’s Daughters, Lodge, and others. We will continue to support many more in the future. The SD Widows Sons Chapters are excited about riding motorcycles and working to keep Masonic Charity efforts going and growing. If you are interested in supporting Masonic charities and Widows and Orphans and love to have fun riding your motorcycle, contact Greg Stensaas at sdwidowssons@gmail.com.

 

Spearfish Lodge Holds “Pasturized Lodge” [posted July 2020]

Thursday, July 25, 2020, high on a Northern Hills ranch in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Spearfish Lodge No. 18, hosted a genuine “Pasturized Lodge” where a herd of cattle had grazed a short time earlier.
The boys are sitting on mineral cattle feed tubs that were partially cleaned for the event.

Needless to say you also watched where you stepped. Only the Master wore his hat when the gavel sounded. In attendance with this select group is present Grand Master of North Dakota, MW Bob Wedberg, and Immediate Past Grand Master of South Dakota MW Harold Ireland. This place is the Bear Ridge Ranch, owned by the present Master of Spearfish No. 18, and is designated as a South Dakota Centennial Ranch, with family ownership of over 100 years. Four states were represented; three other Past Grand Masters (two from out of state) were also present. Twenty miles to the west is Devils Tower, the first national monument, established by Brother Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. This is true cowboy Masonry, many from working ranches, and some of the best men and Brothers you can find. Living proof right here you don't have to wear a tuxedo to be a great Mason, neighbor, and friend to all.

Here was our sunset over the Bear Lodge near Sundance, WY, that looks over Devils Tower from the east and (below) the boys standing together with Crow Peak, a well-known landmark just west of Spearfish.

 

Mount Rushmore Lodge #220 [posted July 2020]

Mount Rushmore Lodge #220 takes things outside. This is a picture of their officers after their second outdoor lodge of the new Masonic Year: District Master - Pete Isaacs, WM - Alex VanCuren, SW - Bryant Stokes, W - John McKninght, Treasurer - F. Reed Foster, Secretary - Jeff VanCuren, Chaplain - Ken Kundel, SD - Greg Still, JD - Jessie Thomas, SS - Chris Thames, JS - Jim Jackson (not pictured), Marshal - Brian Cole, Tyler - Dave Meltz

 

Big Week for Deserving Brother [posted July 2020]

Imagine traveling back to June 29, 1950, and attending lodge at Sheridan Lodge #0008 of Sheridan, Wyoming. You would have witnessed the raising as a Master Mason of Lloyd Kenneth Salisbury. We affectionately know him as Ken these days, and we were able to give him a suitable celebration for achieving the distinction of becoming a 70-Year Member of the Craft. That’s right, 70 years as a Master Mason. That is longer than most of our readers have been alive.
The week started off on Tuesday evening, June 16, when Ken was presented the City of Sioux Falls “SuperHero” Award by Councilman Pat Starr and Mayor Paul TenHaken. In attendance that evening was Ken’s better half, Arta, his daughter, Tally, and her family, as well as his son, Chuck.

The following Sunday, WM Robert Solorzano of Unity Lodge #130, District Master Kyle Orth, and WB Glendon Rice had the privilege of presenting WB Ken with a pin and certificate recognizing his longevity in the Craft. A parade in front of Ken’s house was held, with many Brothers and their families participating, to congratulate our Brother.
After the parade, some of us stuck around while Ken regaled us with stories of his time in the Army Air Corps during WWII. If you get the opportunity, stop by Ken’s house and sit and chat with him for a while. You will be amazed by the stories and details contained in those stories from his time in the war. You might even ask him about standing in the doorway of the C-47 and dropping hand grenades on the enemy, or trying to take out anti-aircraft guns by dropping the tow rope from the gliders on the guns.
Ken participated in the D-Day invasion by towing gliders with Army Rangers and also had some airborne troops that jumped out of the airplane and into the action. He also participated in Operation Market Garden, which was the military action portrayed in the movie A Bridge Too Far.
Army Air Corps C-47, the type of airplane that Ken was the navigator on during WWII (image from Flying Magazine).

 

From the East [posted July 2020]

I would like to take a few moments to share some thoughts with all of you. I am truly honored to be serving as Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota for the ensuing year. I appreciate all the kind words of support and offers to help with projects when needed. I want to thank my Installing team for all their hard work! I thought for doing most of it remotely things went extremely well! If you were unable to watch the Installation live, you can still watch it if you go the Grand Lodge of South Dakota Facebook page.
We are building a strong team with your Elected Line of Officers. With the help of Microsoft® Teams and Zoom® meetings, we have been in almost constant contact for the last several months. This has allowed us to develop a good idea of how we all want to move forward in the next few years. I sense excitement and motivation which I hope will catch on as the year progresses.
My Brothers, it is imperative that we gather accurate contact information for every Mason in our Jurisdiction. If the “Virtual” Grand Lodge Communication taught us anything, it is that we need to be able to send emails out when important information must be shared. I will personally make one of my missions, with the help of the Grand Lodge Office and the individual Lodges, to get our information in MORI as updated and accurate as possible. We are only as good as the information we have in MORI and currently it is severely lacking. I am confident we can agree that communication and information is key to our success!
I am also excited to roll out a new program for the year. For the last few years Resurgam Lodge #31 in Mitchell, my local Lodge, has been doing Blood Drives and I know several other Lodges do the same. During the initial phases of the COVID-19 pandemic I noticed the Red Cross was advertising a need for blood donations. I realized this is an excellent opportunity for Masons to do what we do best, which is help our communities. This literally costs us nothing but the end result is invaluable. I would love to be able to say at the end of each Masonic year that Masons and Mason driven Blood Drives have yielded “X” amount of blood for our state. We will need Brothers across the Jurisdiction to help get this program off the ground. RWB Jeff VanCuren has worked hard to get the details ironed out and we will be getting out more information in the near future.
Thank you all again for entrusting me to lead this Fraternity that means so much to me. Please feel free to reach out to me or any of the Elected Officers with any questions. I look forward to working with all of you this year.
Fraternally,  
Jason D. Swindler, Grand Master of Masons  

 

From the Deputy Grand Master [posted June 2020]

Brethren, “I am so humbled by my election to the position of Deputy Grand Master/Grand Master Elect” is a response all good Lodge Officers have been taught to say whenever they get elected to a new position. In this case I truly mean it. South Dakota and the United States is in a time when Masonry is desperately needed. We are in scary but exciting times and we need to work together to show the World what diversity and inclusion look like.
Last year I wrote an article about the Tenant of Brotherly Love, and in re-reading it I can see how we can also extend that Tenant to society in general and not just Brother Masons.
Start thinking of how “Your Lodge” can get involved and serve “Your community.” Can you run a Food or Blood Drive? Can you volunteer to read at the elementary school? Can you do a roadside clean-up? Can you maintain a public space? Can you sponsor a youth group? As the Grand Master said at his installment, “Masonry is Local.” The Grand Lodge cannot know what is best for every Lodge and it is our job to assist you in making what you do at the local level as impactful as possible to your community.

Fraternally,  
Jeff VanCuren  
Deputy Grand Master / Grand Master Elect