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Waller Lodge's Brother Mike Risley Receives the 2003 Golden Trowel Award

Worshipful Master Richard Ventrca
District Deputy Grand Master Joe Rutledge
Senior Deacon Michael Risley

After District Deputy Grand Master Rutledge's opening remarks were finished, Brother Mike’s wife, Carolyn ask permission to speak. She gave a beautiful talk about Brother Mike's qualities as a husband, a father, a friend and as a Brother. I am sorry that I didn't have a tape recorder to have caught it in it's entirety, but I am able to include part of it here.

Components Of The Structure Built
While Earning The Golden Trowel Award

“A Brothers deeds are bricks that form the structure (i.e. giving gallons of blood, changing dozens of flat tires, Driving hundreds of miles to visit sick family and friends and sitting with grieving family and friends)

His Spirit of Humility and Compassion are the mortar's sand and cement. (never does a good deed to get a reward - only to ease other’s burden; attitude always conveys feelings of respect and empathy)

His perspiration from hard work wets the sand and cement to form the mortar (never quits until the job is done.)

Together the deeds, humility, compassion and perspiration form a structure that all can see is worthy of honor.”

I would have to comment that although Carolyn’s words are not part of the Masonic work, they do fit in so well that maybe they should be.

We hope you didn't miss the supper of Bar B Que Brisket and Sausage, Potato Salad, Beans, Vegetable Salad, Olives, Pickles, Bread, Cobbler, Cakes and Pies provided bySenior Steward Danny Williamson

Senior Steward Danny Williamson hard at work, assisted by Mrs. Betty Locklear and Mrs. Carolyn Risley.

The Golden Trowel Award
As Revised January, 2001

From The Grand Lodge Of Texas Web Site

  • Since its inception the Golden Trowel Award continues to be an exciting means for Lodges to recognize and honor distinguished members with an official award from the Grand Lodge of Texas. It is for use by all Texas Lodges.

  • The Golden Trowel is the Lodge's formal recognition of a Brother for his devoted service to Masonic principles in general or to his Lodge. It is intended for the Brother who, year after year, quietly, but actively demonstrates his devotion to the teachings of Masonry without thought of recognition or special honors.

  • Every Lodge has such members. They spread the living cement that builds our Fraternity into a true Brotherhood.

  • You will find them at labor in the kitchens, on the work committees, in public office, on community projects, in service clubs, heavily involved in their church activities and in schools - anywhere that a true and steady hand of assistance is needed.

  • It is to those Master Craftsmen that the Golden Trowel Award is designated as the highest award a Lodge can bestow upon an individual member.

  • This award is not intended to replace or supersede any individual recognition award already established by a Lodge. It provides the advantages of a single, official award which is recognized state wide.

  • The Texas Masonic Golden Trowel Award
    How It All Began

    From The Grand Lodge Of Texas Web Site

    Our Golden Trowel Award originated at a place called “Armadillo Acres” - the get-away home, or country retreat of Past Grand Master Leonard P. Harvey. In the Fall of 1989 while at “Armadillo Acres” for a bit of a breather prior to the upcoming Grand Lodge session, Grand Master Harvey, Deputy Grand Master A.D. Hanna and Grand Senior Warden Fred E. Allen were discussing possible recipients of the prestigious Sam Houston Medal given annually to outstanding Masons. During those discussions, Deputy Grand Master Hanna opined:

    “We are always giving special recognition to brethren on a Grand Lodge level, and I don't understand why we can't recognize deserving guys at the lodge level.” He mentioned that in nearly every lodge there are the rather obscure brothers who day in and day out do the “little things” for Masonry and for his lodge, and he does those things without expectation of reward or recognition. He went on to say those are the brethren who work in the kitchen, sweep the floors, do plumbing and carpentry work, mow the yard, plant and maintain flowers --- and, yes - they are those who pick up the disabled and bring them to lodge meetings, see to the transportation and other needs of the widows and others who are less fortunate for one reason or another. While talking about his idea, Brother Hanna was sitting in “the red chair” twiddling between his fingers a small golden trowel that was given to Brother Harvey's father-in-law several years ago when he purchased lots at a Dallas cemetery. The proverbial “light came on” and Brother Hanna said: “We can call it the “Golden Trowel Award.” That is the way it happened, and it has been carried forward ever since.


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