Proclamations from the Grand Master

The Grand Master has issued the following proclamation regarding:

The Grand Master has issued the following proclamation regarding:

The Grand Master has issued the following proclamation regarding:

The Grand Master has issued the following proclamation regarding:

The Grand Master has issued the following proclamation regarding:


Grand Lodge Library Cornerstone Opened after 95 Years [posted August 2019]

On Wednesday, June 19, members of the Grand Lodge and the local community gathered at 415 South Main in Sioux Falls, the site of the former Masonic Grand Lodge Building and Library that now houses Architecture, Inc. The significant purpose for this gathering was to view the contents of the sealed time capsule from June 6th, 1924 that was part of the buildings cornerstone.
The history of the Grand Lodge notes that nearly 1,200 people attended the dedication of the Grand Lodge building that day in 1924. Then Grand Master Edgar Brookman proclaimed in part, “This magnificent building, when finished will reflect credit upon the fraternity at large. It will mark an epoch in Masonic history of South Dakota. The growth of our Order has kept pace with the splendid material development of our young state, and the future is big with promise.” The cost of the building was $75,000.
The Grand Lodge Building and Library were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The building was sold to Architecture, Inc., in 2000.
Dozens of items were removed from a box set in the building’s cornerstone, including a Masonic Bible, several editions of the Argus Leader newspaper and a typed copy of the address given during the time capsule ceremony 95 years ago. The time capsule also included a sealed envelope with stamps and coins, proceedings of the Grand Lodge, proceedings of appendant and concordant bodies, a local phone directory and the US flag.

Several more items were added for the next time the capsule is unveiled, including a Rapid City Journal newspaper article about the Grand Lodge’s hosting of the 2019 Conference of Grand Masters, several Grand Masters’ pins and other Masonic materials.


South Dakota Masonic Charities Announces New Director of Philanthropy [posted August 2019]

South Dakota Masonic Charities Foundation board chairman, Floyd Rummel has announced the selection of Susan Ricci as our Director of Philanthropy on a part time basis. Ms. Ricci is well known in the non-profit circles in South Dakota and has successfully secured foundation grants for SDMC in the past.
Ms. Ricci will be working with the SDMC board to establish a long-term growth plan to ensure that the foundation is able to provide the necessary funding for our charitable endeavors.
South Dakota Masonic Charities is a 501(c)3, which allows us to accept charitable donations under IRS rules. Currently, SDMC oversees the following charitable programs for the Grand Lodge: Masonic Model Student Assistance Training Program, better known as Save A Child, a program that trains education professionals across the state to help students at risk; South Dakota Child Identification Program which provides the most comprehensive child protection packets with all the information necessary to assist law enforcement in cases of missing children; The Masonic Scholarship program that provides funding for students’ secondary education; and one of our newest programs, the Matching Grant program, which provides local Lodges up to $500 in matching funds for local community service programs, provided that the Lodge generates local publicity for the donation.
South Dakota Masonic Charities is also developing criteria under IRS rules that would allow local Lodges or building associations to have their own 501(c)3 fund managed by the foundation to allow for deductible donations and grant applications for the restoration and preservation of their Masonic buildings.


Grand Master Wood Receives Award of Recognition from the George Washington Masonic National Memorial Board [posted August 2019]

The Memorial continues the tower restoration project this year on the 3rd through 5th levels. Along with repair and cleaning of a number of damaged stones on the exterior of the building, fabrication and replacement of new windows for the Memorial Hall is also underway. This will return to the original plan of the architect and will dramatically change Memorial Hall. For more information or to donate to the Memorial projects, log on to: .

Making the presentation was MWB Bob Conley, PGM of Michigan and immediate past chairman of the GWMNMA board of directors, along with MWB Mike Rodman, of the GWMNMA board.


GM Wears Dakota Territory Jewel for Cornerstone Ceremony

In a moving tribute at the 100th Anniversary rededication ceremony at Mount Theodore Roosevelt Friendship Tower, MWB Lowell Domier, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of North Dakota presented MWB Harold Ireland, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota, the Dakota Territorial Grand Master’s jewel to wear during the ceremony. The cornerstone ceremony was a recreation of the Dakota Territory Grand Lodge and had participation by both North and South Dakota Grand Lodges. This is believed to be only the third time this jewel has been worn by a Grand Master in South Dakota since 1889.

The Masonic Jewel was crafted in Ohio in 1885 for the 11th Anniversary of the Dakota Territory Grand Lodge and was presented at the annual communication that year in Fargo. The entire set of Grand Lodge jewels (18) were purchased for $152.

In 1889, the Dakota Territory Grand Lodge was divided into North and South Dakota Grand Lodges at the annual communication in Mitchell. MWB George Ayres, in his first act as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota was to present the Dakota Territory jewels to the Grand Lodge of North Dakota in what he called, “A spirit of fraternity and brotherly love.” These priceless jewels are kept in a locked vault by the Grand Lodge of North Dakota and are only displayed annually for special events.
Grand Master Ireland stated, “We certainly are grateful to GM Domier and the Grand Lodge of North Dakota for allowing me to wear and the Masons of South Dakota the opportunity to see this extraordinary piece of history.”


Historic First for the Grand Lodge of South Dakota [posted August 2019]

With the June 21st Installation of MWB Harold Ireland as Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota, history was made as it is the first time in SD Masonry that biological brothers have served as Grand Master. Masonry has been an important part of the Ireland family as their father, Forrest “Shorty” Ireland was a very well-known and active Mason in western South Dakota for 62 years. Currently there are eight active Masons in the Ireland family.

MWB Kenneth Ireland, 117th Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota; MWB Harold Ireland, 137th and current Grand Master; and WB Howard Ireland, Master of Mt. Moriah Lodge #155 in Kadoka.


Rapid City Lodge #25 Earns Lodge of the Year for Region “C” for 2nd Consecutive Year [posted August 2019]

At the annual awards dinner, held Thursday, June 20th during the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of SD, Rapid City Lodge #25 was honored to earn the distinction of Lodge of the Year for Region “C” for the second consecutive year.
To earn the title, Lodge 25 completed a number of mandatory and optional requirements, such as Raising Master Masons, Ritual Proficiency, visiting other Lodges, attendance at District and Grand Lodge meetings, community involvement and public presence, etc.
Region C comprises 21 Lodges in four Districts.

The Brethren of Lodge 25 with the Lodge of the Year Award: Br. Don Humes; WB Herb Cook; WB Bruce Crisman, Master; MWB Yancey Smith; WB George Bauder; MWB Lowell Holmgren; Br. Mike Lamb, SW.


Grand Lodge Installation of Officers for 2019-2020 [posted August 2019]

The Annual Communication was held in Sioux Falls at the Ramkota Hotel and Convention Center on the 21st and 22nd June. As part of the event the following Grand Lodge Officers were installed on Friday, June 21st to carry on the business of the jurisdiction into the future for the betterment of the Craft. The installing officers were MWB Mike Rodman, Installing Grand Master; MWB Dean Behrens, Installing Grand Marshal; MWB Kenneth Ireland, Installing Grand Secretary; and MWB Jack Welker, Installing Grand Chaplain.

The 2019-2020 Grand Lodge Elected Officers include: Harold Ireland of Piedmont as Grand Master, Jason Swindler of Mitchell as Deputy Grand Master/Grand Master Elect, Jeffery VanCuren of Rapid City as Senior Grand Warden, Daniel Nace of Sioux Falls as Junior Grand Warden, Terry Knutson of Sioux Falls as Grand Treasurer-Secretary.
The 2019-2020 Grand Lodge Appointed Officers include: John McKnight of Rapid City as Grand Chaplain, Kendig Bergstresser of Sioux Falls as Grand Orator, Tony Larsen of Mobridge as Grand Marshal, Dane Bloch of Sioux Falls as Senior Grand Deacon, LaMonte Morrow of Custer as Junior Grand Deacon, Alan Bishop of Hermosa as Senior Grand Steward, Todd Knutson of Whitewood as Junior Grand Steward, Timothy Helms of Sturgis as Grand Standard Bearer, Michael Lamb of Rapid City as Grand Pursuivant, Justin Stanek of Pierre as Grand Historian, James Frey of Avon as Grand Musician, and Brian Teller of Buffalo as Grand Tyler.
The District Masters for the ensuing Masonic year are Bradley Hazuka in District 1, Kyle Orth in District 3, Jeffrey Jung in District 4, Benjamin Johnson in District 6, Doug Bjorke in District 9, Larry Hornstra in District 10, Jack Frantz in District 12, Christopher Kaus in District 13, Matthew Miller in District 14, Mitch Kammerer in District 15, Vernon “Pete” Isaacs in District 16, and Harold Walker in District 17.


Civility versus Charity [posted August 2019]

Greetings Brethren,
Once again I am humbled to be appointed our Civility Ambassador to the Grand Lodge of South Dakota. I started during MWB Mike Rodman’s year when the Masons were a part of a national group called The Civility Project. After some disagreements, exploitations of Masonry for profit and a need for Masons to maintain individual identity while remaining a stand-alone nonprofit organization, the Masonic Family Civility Project was formed
MWB Russ Charvonia of California is the Chair. I’ve attended several online training programs and attend monthly online meetings with this group of Grand Masters from all over the world, where the discussion is always Civility. On their website is a “Tool box” we may draw from, as well as a speech scorecard to judge various presentations as they rate for staying civil. There was a first for this group with a “Call to Civility” convention at the George Washington Memorial this past spring, where several politicians were invited to test their knowledge of and learn how to be more civil in their interactions with one another. The next convention is scheduled for the spring of 2022. “How” we as a Grand Lodge choose to use these tools and to what extent is at the discretion of the Grand Master. We have presented several Civility Championship awards from across the state so far and are always open to more cases of a civil action to be recognized. My first tasking by Grand Master Harold Ireland is to define the difference between Civility and Charity. Not always so easy to differentiate, but I’ll try to help each of us learn.
Civility can be defined as “Claiming and caring for ones identity, need and beliefs without degrading someone else in the process” (from The Institute for Civility in Government) or “The action of working together productively to reach a common goal, and often with beneficent purposes” (from Masonic Family Civility Project definition accepted by Wikipedia).
Some of you may have read George Washington’s Rules of Civility, which he transcribed from an earlier publication by Francis Hawkin (1661) entitled Youth’s Behavior, or Decencie in Conversation Among Men. Or maybe you read Mark Tabberts “George Washington’s Rules for Freemasons in Life and Lodge” (2016). In this publication, Brother Mark “modernizes to today” several of the 110 Rules for Lodge Meetings and Refreshment by George Washington. Things such as not crossing your legs while in Lodge, picking your teeth at the table, speaking with a mouthful of food and keeping your forearms off the dining table are included. Or maybe you’ve read the English translated version of the original Hawkins book? If you have read any or all of them, hopefully you see, as I do, the common theme with all these rules — that being, the correct way to interact with one another verbally, physically, and emotionally, even when in disagreement.
Charity differs in that it is a gift that has a quantitative element, such as monetary, time, etc. There are many examples of Civility on the web these days, one of which I like is “Small Acts of Civility in the Workplace” to help your career at: No wonder we Masons are the right men to perpetuate Civility among each other and the world at Large.
We are the Masons.
WB Dave Meltz, Civility Ambassador  
Grand Lodge of South Dakota  


From the East [posted August 2019]

Brethren, it is a great honor to serve as Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota and I do not take the task lightly. It was a special day when I was installed as your Grand Master to have my wife and sons in attendance as well as two of my brothers, Kenneth, a Past Grand Master, and Howard, who has served in all the chairs of his Lodge and currently serves as the Worshipful Master. Having grown up in a Masonic household and understanding the benefits of Brotherly Love and Relief, I strive to live up to the standards set by my father as a true Mason. He belonged to the Blue Lodge, OES, Shrine, Scottish Rite, and York Rite. Even though I don’t belong to all of these organizations, I do have an understanding of each of their platforms and goals. To all the Brothers of this jurisdiction, I would like to say thank you for placing your trust in me as together we move the Craft forward. Some have asked me if there is any significance to my lapel pin this year and my answer is “Unity.” My goal is to unite Masonry across South Dakota and to strengthen our Fraternity. Each and every member can make a difference and collectively we will make a better organization. Our numbers have continued to decline and each one of us could take charge of bringing in a new member. Just think of the impact we would have in our communities if Masonry doubled in numbers. I am confident that each of us knows a good man that should be in our Fraternity. Take the challenge and visit with those folks about what Masonry means to you. Another area where I plan to work hard is in clear communications and transparency. Help ensure your Lodge and Grand Lodge have accurate contact information on all the Brothers of your Lodge so we can keep them informed. If you are not involved in your Lodge I ask that you become active and be the leader you were meant to be. We have a great deal of work to do and I accept the challenges but solicit your assistance with the numerous programs for the betterment of Masonry in this jurisdiction. I look forward to a successful and rewarding year as your Grand Master and thank you for the opportunity to serve.
Harold D. Ireland, Grand Master of Masons  


From the Deputy Grand Master [posted August 2019]

Fraternal Greetings! I would like to thank you all for trusting me to serve as your Deputy Grand Master for the ensuing Masonic year. I will admit it is somewhat daunting but with the support of a great Jurisdiction of Masons I have no doubt the next two years will be successful.
I would like to congratulate PGM Wood on his successful Grand Lodge Session in June. The electronic balloting was a major break-through for streamlining our voting and seemed to be well received by all in attendance. And, it was nice to see civil Masonic debate and conversation regarding the legislation that was proposed. It is important to hear both sides so we can make informed decisions on issues that will pave our path into the future.
I think it is important to remember that each one of us went through the same three degrees, as did our mentors and their mentors before them; yet our Masonic path is deeply personal and unique. We all have been guided by our own mentors and other respected Masons we have met along the way. For that reason, I realize that we should be careful when we have conversations with our Brethren and try to respect their path and what they have been taught. It might be different than what I know or think but that doesn’t necessarily make it wrong. We need to be open-minded and listen to our Brothers. If we say “Well, I’m right and you’re wrong*#8221; without having good Masonic debate and being open to at least consider another’s opinion I truly believe we are doing ourselves a great disservice. We all have the same basic teachings of Masonry but look at all the different ideas we have. As an elected officer it is my hope that we can start migrating towards the center instead of polarizing what we believe is the way forward. I might not be the one that gets this task accomplished but I strongly believe it is my duty to get things moving in that direction.
I look forward to working with MWB Ireland and the rest of the elected line this year. We are already busy planning and getting the year organized. Mark your calendar for the District Masters training and Leadership conference that will take place at Cedar Shore Resort in Oacoma on September 6th and 7th. Please feel free to contact me with any thoughts or ideas.

Jason D Swindler, Junior Grand Warden  


From the West [posted August 2019]

Welcome to my first article as a Grand Line Officer. I have spent about a month trying to figure out what I would actually write in this article. I am so humbled that I have been chosen by the fraternity for this position. I am a bit overwhelmed, as this is something I never sought or even thought would be in my future. So, I have decided that instead of promoting some agenda or program I would take this opportunity to pass on something that I find important in Masonry.
Brotherly Love: This is the first of the three Tenets of our Fraternity. By brotherly love we are taught to regard all mankind as one family and are bound to aid, support, and protect each other.
On this principle, Masonry unites men of every background and enables true friendship among those who might otherwise have remained unknown to each other.
This is one of my favorite lessons taught in Masonry and is taught to us in one of our first lectures as an Entered Apprentice. This lesson has special meaning to me, as when I was visiting Sturgis one year I met a Brother, who has become a very good friend to me. Without Masonry this would have never happened. Fast-forward two years from then, when I come back to Sturgis and met this Brother again. This time I have just found out that I have been accepted for a job and I am moving back to the area. My wife was coming back in a few weeks for her cousin’s wedding and we decided that she could drive a U-Haul. We asked this Brother if he could arrange some help for her to unload this U-Haul as I had to tie up loose ends at my previous job and start getting the house ready to sell. Eagerly, he accepted and said it was no problem. Thank goodness, he recruited 10-15 Brothers to help because, little did he know, it would be a 26-foot U-Haul with all my heavy stuff in it. In spite of all this, we are still good friends to this day. To creatively alter a song, “It ain’t heavy, I’m his Brother.”
I would now ask you to take a little bit of time and reflect on what Brotherly love means to you, and how Masonry has united you with someone who might otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance. Take this time to reach out to a Brother who you may have lost contact with and re-kindle that friendship that has become an integral part of your life.
Jeffrey P. VanCuren, Senior Grand Warden  


From the South [posted August 2019]

Greetings Brethren All! This being my first write-up in the Masonic Messenger, I would first like to say THANK YOU for the trust you have instilled in me as Junior Grand Warden for the 2019 year. They say that, “Time flies when you are having fun,” and they sure are right. As a Grand Lodge Representative, I am excited to be given the opportunity to attend seminars and visit several Lodges across the state that I have not yet had the pleasure of attending.
Speaking about visiting other Lodges, I would like to challenge everyone to visit a Lodge in your area, or a Lodge you wouldn’t normally visit. The fellowship of visiting other Lodges in our state is not only an excellent way to see how they are doing, and to see what they are doing to get or to keep members, but also a time-honored right of every Brother Mason. Also remember, that there is at least one Traveling Apron that can be claimed from whichever Lodge currently has possession. I happen to know that one currently resides at Unity Lodge #130 in Sioux Falls. For further information on the Traveling Apron, especially if you have never heard of it, consult your Lodge Secretary.
Lastly, I would encourage Lodges to participate in local community events. By getting out into the community you also gain members from your community. When they see your Lodge out in public they will ask or wonder what your Lodge is all about, which will give you an excellent chance of attaining some much needed new members. Be proud of who you are and what you represent, which could also help with getting new members.

See you in Lodge,  
Dan Nace, Junior Grand Warden  


Tidings from the Grand Treasurer-Secretary [posted August 2019]

Striving for efficiency. Just a reminder to Lodge Secretaries, please continue to work on updating your Lodge Members’ information in MORI. Home address and e-mail address are the most important pieces of information we can have. Valid e-mail addresses allow us to save on postage and stationery and still get information out to the Brothers in a timely fashion. Valid home addresses are valuable because we don’t want to spend additional postage mailing to invalid addresses. Also, the sooner a newly raised Brother’s information is entered into MORI, the sooner we can mail out the New Member Packet and welcome the Brother to the Craft. We appreciate your cooperation in helping us improve on efficiency.
To expand on the theme of my last article,”are we doing the right things", I would like to present a few more thoughts on the subject. I’ve seen numerous pundits in the news lately adamantly arguing whatever their position happens to be and citing”evidence" intended to make their argument appear indisputable. But, when even vague scrutiny of their so-called evidence is done, you find it is based on what they BELIEVE, and has no relation whatsoever to what is actually TRUE. Someone so obsessively convinced that what they believe is right, has only managed to add passion to their misguided efforts.
We have our work cut out for us and we have plenty of work to do. Let’s focus on the right things and make sure the foundations of our beliefs are supported by what is true.
Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. Are we living the tenets we espouse or only providing lip service to them.

Terry Knutson, Grand Treasurer-Secretary  


Grand Master’s 2019 Award of Merit Recipient [posted August 2019]

Grand Master DaNiel Wood presented the 2019 Grand Master’s Award of Merit to MWB Jack Welker during the Annual Communication at the Grand Master’s banquet in Sioux Falls on June 21, 2019. The Grand Master acknowledged the many Masonic activities that Jack has been involved in this year, including the Vice-Chairman of South Dakota Masonic Charities, the West River South Dakota Child Identification coordinator, and the Vice-Chairman of the 2019 Conference of Grand Masters planning committee.
The Award of Merit is designed to be given to that special Mason that “toils quietly in the quarry,” not worried about recognition, just serving Freemasonry and working for the betterment of the Craft. Congratulations MWB Welker!

MWB DaNiel Wood presents the Grand Master’s Award of Merit to MWB Jack Welker. Assisting him is MWBs Mike Rodman and Yancey Smith


Tin City Lodge #112 Installation [posted August 2019]

Officers for Tin City Lodge #112 in Hill City for the 2019-2020 year were installed on June 29. Very impressive Installing Officers made it an awesome day for the new officers. Installing Officers were SGW Jeff VanCuren, Installing Marshal; PGM Mike Rodman, Installing Master; PGM Yancey Smith, Installing Secretary; and Grand Chaplain John McKnight, Installing Chaplain. The Installation was well-attended, and the light lunch was enjoyed by all.
Since Jack has done this a few times, several Past Grand Masters were there to impress on him that he was to do it right this time.

Officers installed: Joe Klein, Marshal; Brian Ireland, Sr. Deacon; Jim Olson, Jr. Warden; PGM Jack H. Welker, Master; PM LaMonte Morrow, Tyler; and PM John Knapp, Secretary and Co-Master Builder for Region C.


GM Wears Dakota Territory Jewel for Cornerstone Ceremony [posted August 2019]

In a moving tribute at the 100th Anniversary rededication ceremony at Mount Theodore Roosevelt Friendship Tower, MWB Lowell Domier, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of North Dakota presented MWB Harold Ireland, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota, the Dakota Territorial Grand Master’s jewel to wear during the ceremony. The cornerstone ceremony was a recreation of the Dakota Territory Grand Lodge and had participation by both North and South Dakota Grand Lodges. This is believed to be only the third time this jewel has been worn by a Grand Master in South Dakota since 1889.

The Masonic Jewel was crafted in Ohio in 1885 for the 11th Anniversary of the Dakota Territory Grand Lodge and was presented at the annual communication that year in Fargo. The entire set of Grand Lodge jewels (18) were purchased for $152.

In 1889, the Dakota Territory Grand Lodge was divided into North and South Dakota Grand Lodges at the annual communication in Mitchell. MWB George Ayres, in his first act as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota was to present the Dakota Territory jewels to the Grand Lodge of North Dakota in what he called, “A spirit of fraternity and brotherly love.” These priceless jewels are kept in a locked vault by the Grand Lodge of North Dakota and are only displayed annually for special events.
Grand Master Ireland stated, “We certainly are grateful to GM Domier and the Grand Lodge of North Dakota for allowing me to wear and the Masons of South Dakota the opportunity to see this extraordinary piece of history.”


PM John Knapp Receives Master Builder Award [posted August 2019]

Past Master John Knapp’s name was submitted by Tin City Lodge #112 for the Grand Lodge’s Master Builder Award for his leadership and ability to inspire those around him to serve. The point system utilized by the Grand Loge resulted in a tie between John and Past Master Ardel Reder of Pasque Lodge #214. Accordingly, the Grand Master approved both as co-recipients of the award.
The framed certificates were presented at the 145th Annual Communication, but as John was not in attendance, it was presented to him at the next Lodge meeting. Following completion of the individual plaques from the Grand Lodge, John’s plaque was presented to him at the Tin City Lodge #112 Installation of Officers held on June 29th.
This is not only a very deserving award for a well-respected Brother, but also serves as a thank you to John for a great year of service.


Bro. West: 2019 LEO [posted August 2019]

Joseph D. West of Jeptha Lodge #121 was recognized as the 2019 South Dakota Lodge Education Officer at the 145th Annual Communication in June.
The South Dakota Grand Lodge Masonic Education Commission recognizes a Lodge Education Officer (LEO) each year. LEOs are selected from names submitted by their Constituent Lodges. The nomination form must be signed by the Worshipful Master and Secretary of the Lodge. The Commission bases their selection on originality of education topics presented at meetings, mentoring, and involvement in constituent bodies. The nomination form and criteria are available for download on the SD Grand Lodge website. The LEO selected has his name engraved on the plaque and that plaque is displayed at the recipient's Lodge during that Masonic year.

Pictured with him are Larry Madsen, current Chairman of the SD Masonic Education Commission and Mike Lamb, the incoming Chairman of the SD Masonic Education Commission.


Sturgis Volunteer Fire Department Receives New Generator from Local Masons [posted July 2019]

Olive Branch #47 AF & AM of Sturgis and the Grand Lodge of South Dakota, through the South Dakota Masonic Charities Matching Grant program, presented a portable generator to the Sturgis Volunteer Fire Department on July 30, 2019.
Fire Chief Shawn Barrows has a plan for the new addition to the department. The generator will go on the heavy rescue truck, which has a light tower to illuminate the fire scene. The portable generator will allow for additional lights on the far side of a structure fire. Additional lighting will provide added safety for the department. The generator will also allow power for tools and other equipment.
Harold Ireland, Grand Master of Masons of South Dakota said, “Olive Branch #47 is the first Lodge in the state to apply for the Matching Grant program.” The South Dakota Masonic Charities administers the Matching Grant program which allows local Lodges to donate items to improve their communities.
Olive Branch #47 AF & AM has been a part of the Sturgis community dating back to 1883. Many times, the Masonic fraternity has contributed to local community projects. Olive Branch #47 participates with the SVFD serving the elementary school children at the annual fire safety week each fall.

Shawn Barrows, Fire Chief; Harold Ireland, Grand Master; Todd Knutson, Worshipful Master, Olive Branch #47; Dusty Barker; Bob Tesch, Secretary, Olive Branch #47; Harold Walker, District Master District 17


Upcoming Leadership Seminar [posted July 2019]

Learn to be a better leader! The Grand Lodge of South Dakota leadership training seminar will be held September 6-7, and the Cedar Shores Resort.
To register, print the following form, fill it out, and send it to the Grand Lodge office.

2019 Leadership Conference Registration Form

2019 Leadership Conference Agenda

Annual District Master Training
The Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of South Dakota will sponsor our Annual District Master and Leadership Seminar the weekend of September 6-7, 2019 at Cedar Shore Resort, Oacoma, SD. The District Masters Training session will kick off at 11:00am CST and cover the District Masters Resource Manual showing them the requirements of their duties as well as any updates and programs from the Grand Lodge. This will be a fast paced session with loads of information. Additionally, we will be covering areas of communication with OLP and MORI, as well as Lodge Management. We will be honored to have as Guest Presenter, Jordan Yelinek, Director of Member Services and Lodge Development from the Grand Lodge of California. We hope to see all the District Masters at this session to get the latest updates and participate with sharing of experiences.

Annual Leadership Seminar
The Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of South Dakota will sponsor our Annual Leadership Seminar the weekend of September 6-7, at Cedar Shore Resort, Oacoma, SD. The Leadership Seminar is focused on providing training and education for future Lodge and Grand Lodge Officers but is open to any Brother who would like to gain further experience in leadership. We will be honored this year to have as Guest Presenter, Jordan Yelinek, Director of Member Services and Lodge Development from the Grand Lodge of California. We hope to see all the Lodges send representation to this session to get the latest updates and participate to make your Lodge stand out across the jurisdiction. We have a block of rooms for Friday night, September 6th at the Cedar Shore Resort for $99, just call (605) 734-6376 and ask for the Grand Lodge rate. To register for the conference click here


50-Year Pin Awarded to Brother Twitero [posted July 2019]

Pictured is MM Tom Twitero of Sisseton Lodge #131 receiving his 50-Year Pin from his wife Marguerite. The presentation was held on July 15th at Rosalie’s Restaurant in Sisseton.

Also pictured congratulating Tom are two of his brothers, Harold Twitero (left) and George Twitero (right).


60-Year Pin Pesentation [posted July 2019]

On July 5, members of Custer City Lodge 66, A.F. & A.M. presented the 60 Year Pin to W.B. Dennis W. McDonald, Past Master of Chamberlain Lodge #56. The presentation by Custer City lodge was at the request of Chamberlain Lodge 56 because WB McDonald lived in Custer.
The presentation was made in W.B. McDonald’s home. W.B. McDonald appreciated receiving his pin. A wonderful time of sharing his Masonic journey was enjoyed by those present.

W.B. David Kline, Past Master and Junior Warden Custer City, Brother Leon Cordell, W.B. Dennis W. McDonald, Brother Jared Carson, WM Custer City Lodge, W.B Bill Patterson, Secretary, Custer City 66


Friendship Tower turns 100 [posted July 2019]

Historical tower rededicated in ceremony
By Jaci Conrad Pearson,Black Hills Pioneer

Actors portrayed Seth Bullock and Teddy Roosevelt at Saturday’s Mount Theodore Roosevelt Friendship Tower 100th anniversary rededication ceremony. Pioneer photo by Jaci Conrad Pearson

The presentation of colors was made by the Black Hills Backcountry Horsemen at the 100th anniversary rededication of Mount Theodore Roosevelt Friendship Tower. Pioneer photo by Jaci Conrad Pearson

A Masonic cornerstone rededication ceremony was performed at Saturday’s 100th anniversary rededication of Mount Theodore Roosevelt Friendship Tower. Pioneer photos by Jaci Conrad Pearson

DEADWOOD — More than 200 people gathered Saturday to help rededicate the Mount Roosevelt Friendship Tower on its 100th anniversary.
The tower is here thanks to a friendship forged more than 100 years ago by two highly influential historical American West figures. Desirous of creating a memorial to his friend’s life, as well as a place where people could view the wide open spaces that they both held dear, Seth Bullock, famous Deadwood sheriff, built the Mount Roosevelt Friendship Tower in 1919 as a tribute to his friend of many years, President Theodore Roosevelt.
Saturday’s celebration closely emulated the original dedication that was held 100 years ago on July 4, 1919, with then-Gov. Peter Norbeck presiding.
Deadwood Mayor David Ruth, Jr., welcomed the crowd, thanked those involved in performing the program, and introduced fellow guests of honor.
“I’d like to take this opportunity, first, and foremost, to thank you for joining us in enjoying the beautiful views of the Friendship Tower and being here to rededicate this fantastic monument, the hidden jewel of our community,” Ruth said.
Other featured speakers included South Dakota Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden, Black Hills National Forest Supervisor Mark Van Every, and the Rev. Michael Johnson.
“One hundred years ago, a group of people gathered in this very place for the dedication of a tower they dubbed Mount Roosevelt,” Rhoden said. “I imagine that day was a bit different than today. None of them would have had cell phones. No one would be snapping photos to post on Facebook. They wouldn’t have been thinking about the air conditioning that waited for them in their homes or cars after standing outside in the sun. But a few things would be similar between that day and today. The value of community. A sense of state pride. And a spirit of friendship.”
Rhoden said the last century has seen Mt. Roosevelt become an icon and a symbol of pride for Deadwood.
“The peaceful walk and scenery brings outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs to the community and bolsters the historic feel of the area. The result is what we see before us,” Rhoden said. “Today, we remember the incredible story of friendship that made this monument possible.”
Van Every drew many parallels between the two friends, including the fact that both men believed in the spirit of the west, both were ranchers, both had political ambitions, both were soldiers, and both were conservationists.
“We all have the privilege to be able to continue to enjoy these lands that these two men had the foresight to set aside for the use and enjoyment of all the American people,” Van Every said. “Their friendship endured all the way up until both of their deaths and about six months after President Roosevelt passed away, this tower was dedicated and then three months later, Seth Bullock passed away. So, an enduring, lasting part of their friendship and a lasting legacy to the things they did for our country and for the national forests.”
Johnson encouraged all in attendance to follow the example of Roosevelt, whom he called a great American who loved humanity more than class and righteousness better than peace.
“Whenever the creed of commerce shall seek to lay violent hands upon the natural resources of the earth, for selfish purposes, to the exclusion of the common seal, help us to remember Theodore Roosevelt’s great fight for conservation,” Johnson said. “He loved these mountains and forests. May we ever love them, too and preserve them for the generations to come.”
“May this monument help us to carry such a banner of friendship in the portion of this great country that God has given us the honor in which to reside,” Johnson said.
A Masonic cornerstone rededication ceremony was performed by the Grand Lodge of South Dakota, as both Bullock and Roosevelt were Masons and Roosevelt had an affinity for attending cornerstone dedication ceremonies.
“It is said that Bullock and Roosevelt first met in 1892 on the prairie outside of Medora,” said Grand Master of Masons of North Dakota Lowell Domier. “That chance meeting was the beginning of a friendship that lasted over 30 years, including military service, political campaigns and appointments, family time, and a passion for conservation and western heritage. When Roosevelt appointed Bullock to forest supervisor of the Black Hills National Forest, Bullock’s office was on the second floor of the Deadwood Masonic Temple.”
Also part of the program were the Banner Girls of Leeds, N.D., who performed the National Anthem and God Bless America, as well as the Black Hills Backcountry Horsemen who performed the presentation of colors.
In 1919, the Society of Black Hills Pioneers provided financial support to build the Mt. Roosevelt Friendship Tower. In 1966, the society donated the tower to the United States Forest Service. In 2005, the tower was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Many partners and agencies worked together to pull the ceremony together, including the Business Improvement District of Deadwood, U.S. Forest Service, Deadwood Chamber of Commerce, Deadwood Historic Preservation, Masons of South Dakota, Northern Hills Recreation Association, Lawrence County Search & Rescue, Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, and the cities of Deadwood and Lead.


Bro. Carey Honored [posted June 2019]

Brother Irvin J. Carey of Resurgam Lodge #31 in Mitchell was presented with his 60-Year Pin on June 11 at Resurgam Lodge.

Bro. Irvin J. Carey, RWB Jason Swindler, WM Lennie Tucker


Sunrise Lodge #211 Awards Bicycles to Local Youth [posted June 2019]

Sunrise Lodge #211 in Aberdeen sponsored and delivered a Reading For Bikes program to the six schools (Grades K-5) in the Aberdeen School system. This wonderful and rewarding program ran the entire school year under the supervision of each school’s principal.
Each grade (K-5) received two bikes (1-boy and 1-girl), for a total of twelve bikes given to each of the six schools. The 72 bikes, presented during the last week of school, were awarded to students for reading books to further their education.
In this video from the Aberdeen News, you can see action from the giveaway at O.M. Tiffany Elementary School and hear more about why the program is so important for the community (1:09).


Grand Lodge Scholarship Program [posted June 2019]

In all our Masonic teachings, we are admonished to contribute to the relief of our Brothers and their families. The Grand Lodge Scholarship Program is one of the several ways we put these words into action. This year I am pleased to report we have awarded 5 scholarships for students to attend college, university, or technical school. The five lucky recipients are: Jasmine Ferguson, Andrew Klingaman, Madelaine Neely, Lilly Norton, and Olivia Vermeulen. Their college choices include Augustana University, Dakota Wesleyan University, Lake Area Technical Institute, and SD School of Mines. We wish each and every one of these students all the best as they journey forth on their roads to knowledge.
If you have a relative who will be attending college in the future, remember to encourage them to apply for the Grand Lodge Scholarship. Application details are available on the website.
Grand Treasurer-Secretary Terry Knutson


50-Year Pin Presentation [posted June 2019]

Brother Perry DePoy of Eagle Butte Lodge #172 in Eagle Butte was presented with his 50-Year Pin on May 20 at Eagle Butte Lodge. Brother DePoy’s pinning had a very good turnout, with family members, Lodge brothers and District Master Wade Kopren in attendance. Despite the chilly day (and the chilly lodge until the furnace caught up!), it was a great evening of catching up and visiting amongst members.

L-R: Mike O’Neal, Robert L. Booth, Terry O’Neal, Walker Rose, Andrew Schuler, Darla DePoy (daughter), Joe Rose, Joseph Balderas, Robyn DePoy (daughter-in-law), Chuck LeCompte, Shannon DePoy (son), Hailey DePoy (granddaughter), Perry DePoy, Ardis DePoy (wife), Ben Booth, Travis Spiel, Case DePoy (grandson), Robert H. Mader, Robert B. Mader, Dan Booth, Wade Kopren


Worshipful Brother Eide Honored [posted May 2019]

WB Allen Eide of Jeptha Lodge #121 was presented with his 50-Year Pin from PGM Virgil Andersen, with Allen’s wife Elaine looking on, at the annual Recognition Banquet held May 5 at Jeptha Lodge #121 in Hudson, SD.