It occurred to me while packing for a move about a year ago that I have a whole mess of Masonic name badges. Somehow, over the span of just a few years, I have managed to amass a collection of name badges that baffles me in its size. Here is a brief catalog of the collection, with highlights. You did not even know a collection of name badges could have highlights, I bet.
- Name badge from when I joined my mother lodge. All members of my lodge get name badges. Not all lodges do this, but it is something nice we do for our members.
- My Second Lodge. I have another one from A. Douglas Smith Lodge of Research. This one has a representation of the Lighthouse in Alexandria, on which the George Washington Masonic Memorial is designed. When I wear this name badge to other lodges it always gets comments. I suppose that is as close as we get to fashion in the Masonic lodges.
- Silver badge from when I received the Master’s Award for Excellence. I got this in 2008 for doing a bunch of stuff the master of the lodge asked me to do. Apparently I did it well. According to my grand lodge, silver name badges are no longer allowed for brothers not designated as holding an office in the grand lodge. Back then it was the wild west, as far as these went.
- Two from when I was worshipful master. My lodge ordered me a plain dark blue one and the guy who made the badges gave me a special white badge with blue writing. “This is from Dad,” he told me. It nearly brought me to tears. His father was a Mason and a mentor of mine, although I did not get to know him as well as I had intended. Brian, the father, died from pancreatic cancer just a few years after I met him. Brian conducted me through the Fellowcraft degree and was one of the kindest, gentlest people I have ever met, and a real gem of a human being. If you are a Mason and are reading this, he is the guy you wish you had in your lodge, who could be a guide and mentor, as well as being a good supporter and general lodge member. He is the one you would have wanted to represent the fraternity. This white name badge will always be among my treasures.
- Two past master name badges. The first one arrived without the words “past master” engraved on it so the secretary ordered a second one and gave me both. The one “defect” is the name badge I keep in my car, in case I forget the nice one.
- District Deputy Grand Master. It is gold and shiny. Big pimpin’! At the end of this Masonic year I will get a purple one that shows I have held the office.
- District Instructor of Work. I suppose it is an honor to have the name badge, but I don’t guess I really need it. At least it matches the apron I received for the position.
- Appendant body name badges:
- Scottish Rite. Since I am not currently a member of Alexandria Scottish Rite, I do not use this, but it was a gift from my friend Jeff, the same one who gave me a Worshipful Master name badge from his deceased father. Even though I do not use this badge right now, I keep it around. I have since joined the DC Scottish Rite, so I reckon I might get a name badge there as well.
- Royal Arch. This stays on my red jacket. Someday I might get a Past High Priest badge, I suppose, but I am not eager. The one I have will suffice for now.
- Allied Masonic Degrees. Yep, I got a name badge from them as well. Of all my name badges, this is one of only two that I paid for. It was an honor to be nominated as a member, so I figured it would be good to get the name badge. The AMD council is not rich, so everything extra, such as name badges, are paid for by the members. Fair enough. I am glad to have this.
- Commandery. The Commandery name badge is thin and a pin-on style, so as to fit the Commandery uniform requirements. I still do not have a uniform but suppose I will get one at some point.
- Kena Shriners Appointed Divan. I got one of these the first time I was made the Captain of the Guard and then the second year as well. They are distinguished by the year on the badge. It seems like a waste of money to do this, because that is not the type of position that normally advances. Our Outer Guard has been the same guy since I have been there, but he gets a new name badge every year. Why not just leave the year off and give a guy one name badge for his many years of service?
- Kena Yacht Club. I joined the Yacht Club just to join something. I do not have a boat, and have never even been to a Yacht Club meeting, but I have a name badge.
Have you amassed a good collection of names badges too? How many have you accumulated?