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THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE
WIDOWS SONS

INTERNATIONAL MASONIC RIDERS ASSOCIATION

 

 

AN INTERVIEW WITH THE FOUNDER

 



What websites does the Widows Sons operate?
The Widows Sons Official International Website
http://widowssons.com
The Official Widows Sons Forum 
http://international.widowssons.com 
The Official Widows Sons Magazine is at
http://wsmag.org 
The Widows Sons Catalog is at:
http://widowssons.ws/catalog  
The Founderís website is at http://widowssons.ws
Our Story
http://www.widowssons.com/wsstory.htm

Questions

1. What made you decide to start a formal Masonic riding association?

I woke up with the picture of a woman and the words ďWidows SonĒ in my head. She had a look of terror on her face. I chased that dream trying to figure out what it meant. It didnít go away like most dreams. I was still seeing it a year after the dream.

 After a few months later, I came to the realization she was a widow who just lost her husband. So, I thought on widows for several months and decided they needed some help getting their lives together after their loss. Things like lawns mowed, home maintenance, sometimes monetary contributions and other ways to aid and assist them on the long road they will travel alone.

We were already an organized riding group. We were the El Jaala Grotto Motor Patrol, and we all rode white Harley Elecrta Glides. I discussed my idea with the group and they told me to get some bylaws together. So I began a year long task of writing bylaws. The name Widows Sons came up during this process because our mission was going to be aiding and assisting widows of master masons. On February 18, 1998 we ratified the bylaws by vote, but still needed to change two items, as they were officially ratified in April but changed our name from the Grotto Motor Patrol to the Illinois Grand Chapter of Widows Sons on Feb 18th, 1998.

2. Before the Widows Son was created was there anything like it out there for Brothers to ride together?

I contacted a small group who had chapters in a few states but they werenít interested in my thoughts on being a club to support widows as their priority, but I canít remember their name.

3. When you first formed the group was there any public misconceptions that you ran into? Can you give us some examples?

When the Widows Sons first formed, the group decided to wait on wearing a patch because motorcyclists were not looked upon favourably by Grand Lodges in 1998. We didnít think Grand Lodges would allow us to operate in their jurisdiction because of the stereotyped image television has given to  bikers. So, we didnít wear a patch. We rode without a patch for a year and a half.  I discussed the Widows Sons and our purpose for founding the Widows Sons with Illinois Grand Master Bennie Grisham in late 1998 on the telephone and he told me it was ok but keep it within due bounds. We still chose not to wear a patch at this time. Our first patch was voted on in late 1999 and a copyright was later applied for.

4. What about Grand Lodges? Were they receptive to the idea of a Motorcycle association that consisted of Square & Compass wearing Brothers? Were there any conditions that you had to follow that maybe wasnít an original part of your plans?

The Grand Lodges of the first three states who contacted them for permission only wanted to be sure that no other stateís authority would ďleakĒ into in their jurisdictions, and that we would not advertise ourselves as Mason in places where masons shouldnít be. They didnít want no black eyes from us. The jurisdiction question was in our bylaws under the autonomy clause. It really didnít matter because the out of the first six chapters, Illinois, the founding chapter, and the Netherlands were the only two that didnít shut down due to peer pressure from the elder brothers in those states. But we kept at it.
.

5. There are Chapters in almost every state and many countries around the world, have you visited many of the Chapters? What were some of your more memorable experiences or favorite locations to ride?

I make every attempt to make an annual visit, but because of a disabled son, we can't travel as much as I'd like to. I visited  Illinois in 2007, and also Florida that year. Alabama was visited a few years in a row, Lovell, Wyoming in 2012, Chicago in 2013 and 2014, Suffolk England in 2014, and France in June of 2014.

6. There are some very catchy Chapter names out there, do you have a favorite?

There are too many to pick one, because as soon as I see one I really like, another great one pops up. So, I make my favourite name the Widows Sons. All other names fall under this one. lol

7. If someone is interested in starting a new Chapter are there special requirements that are necessary like a minimum number of riders or it has to be a certain distance from another existing Chapter?

Our chapters are set up on a state by state basis in the US, by Provinces in Canada, and Australia, and by country everywhere else. We have one Grand Chapter per Masonic jurisdiction with affiliate chapters under them. It takes 7 members who are masons that ride bikes and a pledge to follow our founding principles and make widows and orphans their priority.

We have a Grand Chapter Starter Kit we send to those who want to start a new Grand Chapter. If there is a Grand Chapter in their area, they are directed to contact their Grand Chapter  The Grand Chapter Starter Kit has all the requirements such as the bylaws, a Grand Chapter Affidavit, CoC manuals, and all paperwork necessary with a set of guidelines to lead the prospective Grand Chapter from the start to the finish of the chartering process. Then an existing Grand Chapter will make sure they are in compliance and present them with their charter certificate. Anyone who is interested in starting a Grand Chapter should go to the International website at
http://widowssons.com and click on the join button.

In 2014 we started reading the vest lecture to the new Grand Chapters, then giving the President an oath and obligation and then ask him to give the oath for his officers and members. They sign their bylaws and are presented a handbook with their charter, the oaths, the vest lecture, the Charges to a new Widows Sons Chapter from Freemasonry a honorary member guidelines, The Widows Sons Branding Ceremony and room to store the minutes of their meetings. We ask the President to repeat the ritual when a new President and officers are elected. It will keep everything uniform in the future..

8. To aid and assist widows and orphans of Master Masons is the number one goal of the organization. Why this cause over any another one that is also worthy?

We were formed with the intention to aid and assist widows and orphans of masons as our priority and no charity should come before widows and orphans, because of that woman with the white face full of terror in the dream I had. Looking out for widows and orphans of our brethren is a part of our obligation as a Mason. We just exemplified it and took it a step forward.

We added two more purposes to our bylaws, although they were NOT the founding purposes. The second purpose and third purposes added in 2000, The second was to provide fellowship among masons who ride, and the third, to introduce the world of motorcycling to freemasonry and to introduce the world of freemasonry to motorcycling.  Some newer members who joined after 2005 believed the second and third purposes were why we were founded and began promoting them as a founding purpose, so the Widows Sons Founderís Page was put online in 2010 to remove any confusion as to why we were founded.

9. How many motorcycles do you have? What is your favorite one to ride

I have two right now, but at times in the past Iíve had up to 3 at one time. I ride a pearl white custom Harley Low Rider and a Two tone red Ultra Classic. You can view the Low Rider in the WSMag.
http://wsmag.org/NOV2012/lowrider.htm and the Ultra in the June 2014 issue http://wsmag.org/JUNE2014/ULTRA.htm

I have owned 13 different Sportsters, A Super Glide, An Electra Glide Classic, now a Low Rider, and an Ultra Classic.  Back in the childhood days a Kawasaki Mach III 500, which was also called the ďWidow Maker.Ē  I am looking to finding an older Ariel, Triumph, or Sunbeam for a rebuild project.



MORE INFO:

The minutes of the Widows Sons Illinois Grand Chapterís first meeting. This is when it all started
http://widowssons.ws/images/
February 18th  is the anniversary date of the Widows Sons. We introduced a Widows Sons Showpiece clock for the 15th anniversary. There will be 100 in the 12 inch edition numbered from 1 -100. A 24 inch clock has been introduced with only 50 numbered clock being produced. Both clocks have a wall mount or an optional stand for the desk or mantel. They are available in the WSCatalog at
http://widowssons.ws/wscatalog/wsclock.htm

An Amazing Note:

I was working offshore in 2010, and was part of the crew dragging a drilling rig from Del Carmen Mexico to Brownsville Texas. When we reached our 3 day resting point before going into the ship yard, the cell phones finally had signal.

I received a Facebook message from Teresa Mills in Newcastle, England. Teresa was the widow of Rob Mills of the Northumberland Chapter of Widow Sons. Rob was fatally injured in a motorcycle accident on June 5, 2010. Teresa started a Motorcycle Awareness Group, called Dying to Ride, to make drivers of other vehicles aware of motorcycles so what happened to Rob would not happen to others. She asked me to join her organization and to help her get support for it. I looked at it, and it was a good cause, so I joined it, and sent notice of it through my Masonic communication channels and in two weeks Dying to Ride had over 1000 Facebook members. Not because of me, but what it stood for. All I did was put it in front of Widows Sons and they evaluated it and decided whether they wanted to support this cause or not.

Teresa and I stayed in contact and talked on the phone becoming good friends. I invited her to Pensacola, FL in March of 2011, because I had a mandatory four weeks off from my accumulation of hours offshore. The choice for the company was time off or a pay raise. You already know what choice they selected. lol

She visited me in Pensacola, and we were married on March 24, 2011, and I joined her in England in April 2011. Iíve been here since. We now work together on Dying to Ride setting up her talks about motorcycle awareness at schools and military bases all over England. We have an annual ride in England on the second Saturday of each June in memory of fallen Bikers.  Dying to Ride is at: http://dyingtoride.org

 

ATTN: MASONIC LECTURERS.........The WSMAG is looking to becomethe best source for Masonic Education. We hope to work with Masonic Lecturers, Artists, poets and researchers as a team to present the teachings of Freemasonry to the readers of the WSMag......If you are interested in having your work published in the WSMag, please contact the WSMag.


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