Young County Lodge No. 485 in Graham, Texas has received a $20,000 matching grant for lodge improvements from a local philanthropy. So how did the lodge manage to convince the board of the Bertha Foundation to make that kind of commitment to the Freemasons? By showing how they had been a part of the local community since its very beginnings. And with a personal connection to the Fund's namesake.
From the Grand Lodge of Texas website:
The importance of the Masonic presence is an obvious one when one looks at what Graham is today. It is diverse in all its parts. There are many churches, of many faiths, as well as an economy that includes work in agriculture, oil and gas, government, as well as investment and finance. It is the county seat and the hub of Young County. How can so many parts ever stand as one and grow strong? Because of Masonry, and its moral doctrines and teachings, is how this happened. YCL485 was instrumental in building the character of both men and community. Where else could men meet and share common ideas and not dwell on their differences?
Where else but the lodge could men of varied religious and economic backgrounds share their vision of what kind of future they could build… together? On the wall in the lodge room of YCL485 are the names and the pictures of those great men. Together they are the roots of our community, of whoms ideals, and those of the Masonic lodge, continue to affect the direction of this city and county yet today.
This is what was explained to the Bertha Foundation when YCL485 asked for their help. Our grant request told the story of the men who came together in the lodge by horseback on moonlight nights to share friendship and tend to the work of Masons. Tolerance turned differences to strength and these men became builders of something of the Great Architect’s design. Together they came, and together they built as only Masons can. The Bertha Foundation was impressed but needed something to tie the family directly to the lodge and not just stories told around the lodge hall. That is when the Templar Sword appeared.
One of the grandsons of one of our founding families brought the sword to a private meeting asking for some information on it. This gentleman was the one upon whom the decision would rest as to our grant being awarded or denied. He handed over the sword and asked, “ what is this?”. A Templar sword, part of the Commandery portion of the York Rite, an organization of which only Masons may gain membership he was told. He asked that the sword be drawn from its sheath so that the named engraved upon it could be seen. “H. Bruce Street”, the husband of Bertha Street, in whom’s honor the foundation had been formed , was the inscription. It was at that point that our grant moved forward and was later awarded by the Bertha Foundation board on September 22nd , 2011. The sword was donated by the family for display in our lodge library.