2021-22 Annual Report
When thinking about the past year and where your Cathedral Board has focused its efforts, three words come to mind: Protecting, Improving and Transitioning.
For the past two years, brothers within the Valley of Chicago have been in constant transition. We have been asked to self-isolate for the protection of the whole; adapt to a modified reality and find the good that arises from a crisis; and embrace empathy with friends and family that may not share our opinions in these divisive times. For many, that last one has been tough and looks like it will continue to challenge us moving forward. But that is what Masonry is all about and we must continue to set the example for all. We are reminded of our obligations to God, our Country, our Family, our Neighbors, and then Ourselves. I believe that happens in the Valley of Chicago.
It seems like forever, but over the past 12 months we were finally able to transition from the darkness of isolation back to the light of the fellowship, and the rewards we find at the Rite. It has been truly wonderful to have so many returns and enjoy our programs and each other’s company again – and literally show their faces again! Your elected officers and Executive Committee (Karl Nygard, Guide Sobecki, Reuben Owens and David Truax), working closely with your Executive Secretary David Koss and his team, have done a fantastic job bringing exciting programs, reunions, speakers, and members back to the Rite. The energy is here again, and we look forward to continuing the excitement in 2022-23.
The Cathedral Board experienced the same challenges as everyone else over the past year, and I am pleased to report that I believe the Board and the Valley have never been stronger. We took on some tough (and at times unpopular decisions) to protect our members, our facility, and our future. We added a focus on Risk Management and Safety, and Daryl Selock accepted the challenge to lead this new committee. We continue to look for creative ways to provide a safer environment for our fellowship and protect the assets of the Valley. Our Finance Committee, led by Drew Keppy, continues to work industriously with our investment consultants to guard, yet grow our assets. As a result of their diligence, the Cathedral Board has been able to fund numerous maintenance and capital improvement projects recommended by the House Committee, which was led by Bruce Zimmerman. Our building is now 10 years old, and it requires attention and funding on an annual basis. The Board must ensure that our facilities provide the functionality that the fraternity demands, a safe environment for our members, and presents an image that proudly represents the Valley of Chicago and Freemasons everywhere. While we have been talking about many facility improvements for years, many of those projects were realized in 2021-22. The Board is hopeful you are pleased with what you see.
It is said that the only constant in life is change, and the leadership of the Valley has also been transitioning. After years of service and dedication, three of our senior statemen, Jim Patton (Almoner), Wally Dunn (Treasurer) and Lee Bradley (Administration) have passed their batons to a new group of leaders. Thank you again, Jim, Wally and Lee for your dedication to the Rite, your guidance to those of us who sought your experience, and your friendship to all. We already miss you. But now we welcome Kris Caldwell as our new Almoner; Ken Armbruster as our new Treasurer; and Michael Kuniej as our new Membership Director. These next generation leaders are terrific additions to the Valley and will no doubt continue and expand the legacy of their predecessors.
Finally, thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you. I want to thank our Valley Active Member Anthony Cracco; our Deputy’s Representative, Charles August; our Valley Secretary Mike Ehle; and our legal counsel, David Martin. It has been a pleasure to really get to know these gentlemen this year, and I value their leadership, candor and friendship. A sincere thank you to the rest of Board of Directors including Don Esser, Bob Kogut, Chad Lacek and Antwane Lee. The collective intelligence and dedication of this group, working together with rest of the Board and Administration is strong and sincere. They are always looking out for best interest of our Valley. Our future is in good hands.
Sincerely and fraternally submitted,
Michael W. Behm