One of the most important of our emblems is the hour glass, which reminds us that as the sand runs through how rapidly our lives are drawing to a close.  My life is not ending, but the chapter entitled District Deputy Grand Master has come to a close.  I would, therefore, like to take a look back at the events of the last two years to evaluate my effectiveness as your DDGM.

I was fortunate to serve as the representative to the District under one of the most dynamic Grand Masters we have had in some time.  Although his health restricted his ability to visit many Lodges, he was at the helm during his entire term.  The message for his term has been
Back to Basics.  One driving force that led me to become the DDGM was to bring this District back to the forefront of the State.  Back to Basics fit right into my plans. What made us a driving force in the State was our dedication to the principles of the craft.

The key to returning us to that elite position is Brotherhood.  My main objective, therefore, was to reunite all the Lodges of the District and work together to promote Masonry.  This was accomplished by Brothers of the District assisting in conferring the several Degrees when necessary.  The newly raised Brothers met many Brothers and were encouraged to pay a visit to another Lodge.  There developed a friendly competition with regard to ritual work that deepened these relations.  There is not one Lodge in the District that has not benefited from our efforts to improve on what we already have.

Our attendance at the School of Instruction has increased, resulting in better ritual work being performed.  Many Brothers visited different Lodges and were invited to take part in degree work.  We saw an increase in new Brothers joining our ranks.  Each Lodge was active and vibrant, with many programs that kept Brothers active.

Our Blood Drive and Child ID programs were also components of the District. Our number of blood donors increased as did the number of Brothers assisting in the Child ID program. 
But best of all was the response to my request to assist the Salvation Army in ringing the bells during the holiday season.  Each Master has my deepest and sincere gratitude for choosing to take part and help with this worthy cause.  I hope the program will continue and be successful in the future.

As the final curtain falls on my term, there are too many Brothers that I need to thank for their never wavering support and dedication to the craft.  If I named each Brother it would be very lengthy and I would no doubt omit someone by accident. To all, know that I am truly grateful for all your efforts.  I am humbled knowing that so many Brothers have supported my endeavors.  I have strengthened some existing friendships and established some new ones.

In conclusion, I need to say a big thank you to my wife Jeannine.  She has been supportive of every thing that I have done and, although she remained in the background, her efforts are monumental.  While working full time and managing the household, she always encouraged me to go out to a meeting or event.  If I didn't know better, I would think there was a hidden message in her eagerness!  For nearly 25 years we have shared our lives, and I can only hope that she stays with me forever as I would be truly lost without her.  My Brothers, as my final act as your District Deputy, I implore each of you to take the time to recognize the most important people in your life - and let them know how you feel.  Do it before it's chiseled in stone!

May God bless each and each of you
May God bless our service men and women and protect them as only He can
May God bless our fraternity
And God Bless the United States of America

Thank you and until we meet again in Lodge, I remain,

R∴W∴ Charles Catapano
District Deputy Grand Master
First Nassau Masonic District
2008 - 2010