Executive Committee

2023-24 Annual Report

The primary focus of the Executive Committee during this past year has continued to be on Member Engagement. This has been the foremost concern of our Valley, as well as just about every Masonic body for many years. Our goal has been to provide the most diverse and inclusive array of activities that we possibly could, to suit the needs of our members and families. In the Fall, our theme was the Boston Tea Party, connecting us to our Masonic heritage being the 250th anniversary of the event. The fall reunion yielded 37 new members and was a memorable experience for many of our current members as well. Our Spring theme took us undercover with the spies hiding in plain sight. This brought the membership another opportunity to delve into their imaginations to engage in the historic spy rings. This event was highlighted by a compelling address from our keynote speaker, Mr. Jack Barsky, a former KGB spy turned by the FBI which led to a healthy and lengthy discussion with the members present. The Spring Reunion resulted in 32 new members joining the Valley.

Masonic education is another avenue for member engagement. With this in mind, we held a stated meeting and invited a speaker to present a topic. The floor was then opened to the members present. This led to meaningful discussion amongst the members in an intimate setting. Robert Burns Night was another educational opportunity to learn some historical facts about Scottish heritage and gain some back story on the Scottish Rite. The Double Eagle Con was our signature educational event. This symposium presented prolific Masonic speakers who gave discourses on varying Masonic topics. This event was very well received and well attended.

Our biggest conduit for outreach to the Blue Lodges in the area is through our Ancient Craft Degree Team. Performing the Master Mason Degree for the area Lodges in a most impressive and impactful way, inviting these Lodges into our facility, and reinforcing the connection between Blue Lodge and Scottish Rite Masonry is a surefire way to garner interest in our Rite.

Another great source of outreach is the awarding of the Chicago Cup to the Lodge that brings in the most members at each reunion. Explore the Rite Night and other family events also provide outreach to not only Masons but to non-Masons, friends, and family members who may gain or already have an interest in Freemasonry and our Rite.

Charities and Youth Group Support committees continue to support our charities by donating funds and participating in their programs. Our Most Wise Master is also our Almoner. We awarded many scholarships to well-deserving students and future leaders at our Scholarship Night. Our Masonic youth groups are an extremely important investment into the future of our order. We have provided support to our local DeMolay Chapter, as well as the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls, by attending their Northern Rite Pilgrimage.

Our Fall class honoree was Illustrious Bro. Richard T. Carnall, 33o. Ill. Bro. Carnall is well known to all members of the Valley and the state, as a dedicated Mason and phenomenal ritualist. He even came back in the Fall reunion and took a major role in almost every degree. Our Spring class honoree was Illustrious Bro. J. Kenneth Ludwig, 33o. Ill. Bro. Ludwig served as Sovereign Prince and served the board for several years after, along with being a dedicated ritualist and past-class marshal. The list of Masonic accolades and accomplishments both Ill. Brothers’ hold is extremely large. These brethren are true examples of the finest that Masonry has to offer, and we honor them for their contributions.

Finally, our thanks to President, Drew Keppy for his undying commitment to the Association. Our legal counsel, Dave Martin, the committee chairmen, and the entire board for your hard work and diligence in protecting our assets and providing a worthwhile experience for the Valley membership.

Respectfully submitted,
Brandon A. Zears

Executive Committee Chairman