One of my goals as Most Illustrious Grand Master is to advertise York Rite Freemasonry in general and Cryptic Masonry specifically in our Blue Lodges. One way of accomplishing this is through the First Responders Award. The General Grand Council of Cryptic Masons International has recently come out with a new award called the “First Responders Award.” This award is meant to recognize and acknowledge the service of those who are employed as Firefighters, Emergency Medical Technicians, Paramedics, and Law Enforcement. I find it to be of particular importance during the COVID-19 pandemic to recognize our First Responders.
This award is available in two forms: one for Master Masons in good standing and one for non-Masons. For Master Masons, the award includes a certificate and a medal. For non-Masons, the award is a certificate and lapel pin. There is a cost associated with this award: $25 for Master Mason version ($5 more if you want lapel pin with this version) and $15 for a non-Mason award. This pays for the cost of production and processing.
Presentations for this award may be done in a tiled or non-tiled meeting, and this award has the potential to serve as a great outreach tool to the community and to the Lodge. It will allow our Councils to promote goodwill and acknowledge these important contributors. If used as such, may introduce some to Masonry and to the local Lodge. Obviously, presentations are to be postponed until after the pandemic has passed and the edicts have been reversed, but nominations are still welcomed to be made. A nomination must be sponsored by a Cryptic Council or a Cryptic Mason of this jurisdiction.
The fillable nomination form is found at the General Grand Council website: https://www.crypticmasons.org/pdf/awards/2020_FRA_Form.pdf
There are also two other recognition awards: Lady of the Council and Veterans Medal. The General Grand Council also has the following awards: 10% Gain Certificate, Adult Youth Leadership Award, Ronald L. Thomas Ritualist Award, Cryptic Masons of the Year, Mordhurst Award, Columbian Award, and Medal of Honor. The General Grand Council website is full of resources available to the Councils: https://www.crypticmasons.org/
The pin and medal are composed of an inverted triangle which denotes that their purpose is borne of the divine love of life and liberty, the angels representing both how we see their contributions and hope for their protection and guidance from above, each of the symbols for First Responders on the face, surrounded by a not-so-mysterious nine stars, three for each denoting that we seek (knock) their help, and in the center, the Cryptic symbol which shows our reference, surrounded by our understanding of the mortal plane but our belief that we are enfolded by the same divine love.