2020-21 Annual Report
To the members of the Scottish Rite Cathedral Association: It is with pleasure that I present to you the 2020-2021 Annual Report of the President of the Scottish Rite Cathedral Association of Chicago.
It’s hard to believe that it has been 14 months since we were forced to suspend in-person activities at the building due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. However, as vaccinations have become more widely available and the number of cases has decreased in our area, the board has approved a re-opening plan that we feel will keep you safe to attend in-person events again. We certainly have appreciated your patience during this trying time. Re-opening with your safety in mind was of the utmost importance to us. To ensure this safety, needlepoint bipolar ionization has been installed in the HVAC system in the building to provide cleaner air for our members; and as you witnessed here tonight, thermal body temperature cameras were installed to screen members and visitors as they enter the building. These along with masking and social distancing should allow us to safely meet indoors in person starting next month.
During the past year the Executive Committee has re-invented our meetings and activities by developing Virtual Programs to engage the members and by hosting Micro Events as restrictions have gradually eased across our region. The use of Virtual Reunions and Degrees hosted by the Supreme Council has allowed us to continue to bring in new members during the pandemic, and I welcome those new members here tonight for the first time.
For the continued preservation of our heritage the Library/Museum Committee has chosen two restoration projects to pursue this year. These projects include the restoration of a 1904 class photo and a beautiful piece of antique stained glass which adorned the building at 929 N. Dearborn Street. Once complete both of these pieces will be prominently displayed in the building for you to enjoy.
2021 also marks the 9th year since opening the new building, but with that brings some scheduled maintenance as well as some unplanned expenses. As you can see, this year we resurfaced the parking lot. Also, we are performing much-needed repairs to the patio surface and stone work on the walls around the patio area. Additionally, this year the brick and stone on the building’s exterior will be cleaned and sealed. Although not completed yet, the Board also plans to make some additional improvements in the landscaping including the replacement of dead trees and the addition of shrubs to enhance the landscape around the facility. Keeping the building and grounds in good shape is a priority of our House Committee. I extend my thanks to Mike Behm and his committee for their dedicated work during the last year.
The membership asked for it, so the Board has approved and funded the construction of a heated structure on the patio which can serve the members during the colder winter months as well as provide shade on the patio during the summer. This structure should provide a pleasant environment for you to gather and socialize during and after our events. These projects and improvements would not be possible without the recent financial gains of our investment portfolio. Thanks to Drew Keppy and his Investment Committee for their continued financial oversight which has provided the necessary funding of these as well as many other long term capital projects.
Like most organizations, ours is also not without change and evolution. After 20 plus years of service, Lee Bradley has retired from employment at the Scottish Rite. Over the years Lee served as the primary point of contact for most matters relating to membership, and many of you likely spoke to him at least once if you called the office during business hours. His dedication to the success of the Valley is unsurpassed, and we wish him well in his retirement.
The Almoner’s Fund was also not without change this year. We welcome the addition of Kris Caldwell, John Marquardt and Ken Stortz to the Almoner’s Fund team. However, we are sad to report the passing of Brad Baker who served as Assistant Almoner with dedication and commitment. Another change in the Almoner’s Fund team is the retirement of Jim Patton who has chosen to step down after 12 years as Almoner. Jim takes his place as Almoner Emeritus with notable predecessors such as Bill Bissen and Elmer Gielow. Under Jim’s leadership, as the needs of the membership changed, so did the programs of the Almoner’s Fund change to meet those needs. Thank you Jim, for your years of compassion and dedicated service as Almoner for the Valley of Chicago.
I would like to thank Dave Koss, Executive Secretary, and his office staff for their dedicated work during the last year; and of course, I would be remiss if I did not recognize the continued efforts of the entire Board of Directors. These men work tirelessly behind the scenes making sure that the operations of the Association continue to run smoothly throughout the year. Thanks to all who dedicate their time and talents in the success of the operations of the Corporation.
Daryl W. Selock,