817-275-2893

Stories of Hope & Courage

Steve, Anita, Ben, Anna, Martin, & Ruth Ann 
Helped By Donations Like Yours

We hope you’ll read the following stories of courage and relief  as told by Steve, Anita, Ben, Anna, Martin, Ruth Ann, and Joe–all residents of Texas Masonic Retirement Center who benefited from the help of the No Mason Left Behind Project. In their own words, you’ll better understand the tremendous difference your donation makes to older Texas Masons and their loved ones. Names changed to protect residents’ privacy.

 

Amputated Leg, 20 Surgeries, & Caregiver Death – Steve’s Story

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Steve, age 55, lost his right leg after a life-threatening illness. Today he lives at Texas Masonic Retirement Center, receiving the daily assistance vital to his health and wellbeing. Plus, his health continues to improve and he looks forward to walking on a prosthetic leg in the near future.


The No Mason Left Behind Project is the reason I’m here. I had nowhere to go and nothing as a result of this illness.”

In May 2017, Steve, 55, woke up alone in a Fort Worth hospital after surgery to amputate his right leg above the knee. Only four days before, he faced the loss of his caregiver and living arrangements when his cousin suffered a fatal stroke.

“I remember thinking, ‘It’s happened and I’m going to make the best of it,” says Steve.

This positive attitude and can-do spirit sustained Steve through 20 surgeries over a 6-year period as doctors worked to save his leg and his life.

“I fought gangrene and bone infections for years as I dealt with a condition called Charcot Foot. Essentially the bones in the foot weaken and then collapse. Even with all the surgeries and treatment, the infections would not heal properly. Finally, the only way for me to survive was to remove the leg.”

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After completing his studies, Steve built a career in law enforcement, crime prevention, and security management. He racked up a 17-year career providing these services at Wal-Mart. Steve also volunteered and consulted as an anthropologist for the state of Texas. As his foot condition worsened, he was forced to take medical retirement.

“Today, because I’m a Mason and Masons support one another and their families, I live in a safe environment. I’m not going to fall and I mean that in many ways.”

As a young man, Steve played football at the University of New Mexico and baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals AAA team. Getting serious about his education, he earned a bachelor’s degree in history and prelaw, followed by a master’s degree in archaeology at the University of Texas – Arlington.

Throughout the decades of his life, Steve became heavily involved in Masonry. Today he belongs to and supports 19 Masonic organizations. He also proudly holds a 32nd degree KCCH Scottish Rite. His dedication would become life-changing physically as well as spiritually.

“Today, because I’m a Mason and Masons support one another and their families, I live in a safe environment. I’m not going to fall and I mean that in many ways. There are people who can help me. Sometimes my healthy leg gets tired. I have assistance if I need it. I have nutritious meals and I’m losing weight, working toward getting a prosthetic leg. This is the best place I’ve lived in a long time and I appreciate it.”

Want to make a donation to the No Mason Left Behind Project? You can use our secure online donation service or print out and mail in a donation form. We look forward to recognizing your kindness and benevolence. Check out our list of awards and more recognition.

              

 

Facing Lung Cancer & Loneliness After a Life of Missionary Service – Anita’s Story

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Anita, age 74, shares a family photo including her father. His Masonic membership provided her with eligibility to live at Texas Masonic Retirement Center. With serious health problems after a life of missionary work in Asia, she now enjoys safe surroundings and a concerned staff.


“I had no money. My health was not good. The folks at TMRC said, ‘We have an answer for you. Come live with us.’”

Feeling alone and invisible in a small apartment in Houston, Anita, age 74, also faced serious health problems. Over the coming months she would be diagnosed with lung cancer that had spread to her bones.

Anita remembers the day she decided to move to
Texas Masonic Retirement Center, “I had no money. My health was not good. Gary Blair, the TMRC Superintendent, came to visit me in Houston. He said, ‘We have an answer for you. Come live with us.’”

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Anita attending a Christian wedding in Macau, an area near Hong Kong (second row, third from left)

“My dad was a Mason and I have no idea if he knew he was preparing a way for me. But he did. I am an unmarried daughter of a Mason and that
relationship made it possible for me to live here.”

Growing up in Spring Branch, a tiny community about an hour north of San Antonio, Anita says, “I knew when I was 10-years-old, studying in a one room schoolhouse, that I wanted to serve God and be a schoolteacher overseas.”

With laser-like focus, this courageous and inspirational woman set out on a path to accomplish her goals.

Although no one in her family held a college degree, Anita headed to Mary Hardin Baylor University in Belton, graduating with a master’s degree in education. Returning to Spring Branch, she taught English for 13 years.

As she approached 40, Anita heard from friends about a Southern Baptist missionary teaching position in Macau, a region located on the south coast of China, across the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong.

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Billy Graham, renowned minister, visited Anita’s missionary school campus as a young man. She met him and snapped this photo.

“I jumped at the chance to live my dream of teaching and serving God. It was a wonderful and thrilling experience. I taught the children of missionaries for 26 years. In 1999, I developed shingles and a rare virus. I just physically couldn’t do it anymore,” says Anita.

Anita returned to the United States with no job and little savings. Settling in a tiny apartment in Houston, her health continued to decline and depression closed in.

At the suggestion of her sister and friends, she contacted Texas Masonic Retirement Center. Gary Blair, Superintendent, drove to Houston to meet with her. His words, ‘We have answer for you. Come live with us,’ changed Anita’s life.

“Deciding to move to Texas Masonic Retirement Center was a hard decision, but now I believe it was the best thing in the world for me. I believe that the touch of God is here. I was recently in the hospital for nearly two months with issues from lung cancer. When I returned, they helped me with pain control, love, and attention. I needed that help. I am very grateful to live here.”

Want to make a donation to the No Mason Left Behind Project? You can use our secure online donation service or print out and mail in a donation form. We look forward to recognizing your kindness and benevolence. Check out our list of awards and more recognition.

              

 

 

Alzheimer’s Disease & Loss of Vision Isolated & Diminished Their Lives

Watch the video below to hear Anna & Ben, age 90 and 92, sing the gospel favorite, “Ride Out Your Storm.” 

Active in Masonic organizations for 50 years – Solid Citizens – Sharing Musical Gifts

Ben and Anna met in 1944 in Paris, Texas. He was home on leave from the Navy as WWII raged in Europe; she was chatting with teenage friends during a break from her job at the local soda fountain.

Ben had dropped out of high school at 17 to fight for his country. Two years later, he was among the lucky servicemen working stateside maintaining wartime bomber planes and cargo aircraft.
“I wanted a girlfriend, as any young man would. I spotted this pretty little girl talking with a group of friends. I went right over and struck up a conversation. Found out her name was Anna and that I could see her anytime at the soda fountain. You better believe I was right over there the next day eating a banana split!” recalls Ben.

The couple exchanged letters for the next two years. Their long-distance courtship blossomed into love with Ben and Anna marrying in February 1946. He was 20; she was 18.

On active military duty in the early years of their marriage, Ben and Anna were stationed at the naval air base in Corpus Christi. After his discharge, the couple returned to east Texas, their families, and friends.

No strangers to hard work, as both grew up baling hay and picking cotton on the farms of their sharecropper parents, they moved in with Anna’s parents and took any job available.

In the evenings, the couple joined family and friends in singing and playing musical instruments. Ben strummed the guitar while Anna played upright bass, piano, and string bass. Music continues to this day to sustain and lift their hearts, as well as, bring joy to others.

With an eye toward a more stable future, Ben visited an aunt in Fort Worth and applied for a job at General Dynamics (now Lockheed). Hired almost immediately, he spent the next six years performing overhaul maintenance and engine work on the huge B-36 “Peacemaker” bomber planes.

Laid off from GD in the 1950’s, Ben moved to Timco to work on experimental fighter jets and spacecraft. In 1960, he joined Bell Helicopter to build and test helicopter transmissions, staying on for the next two and half decades.

“We worked all the time,” said Anna. During those years, Anna had her hands full raising their daughter and two sons, plus owning and operating two full-service beauty salons. “We had between 6 and 8 beauticians in the shops, plus I did hair, too. Ben cleaned up at night and repaired the dryers and other equipment. 

With so many job and family responsibilities, they still found time to join Masonic organizations. Ben said, “In 1956, I joined the Blossom Lodge and Paris Lodge. Anna joined Eastern Star. We were both active–I was Worshipful Master at Blossom three times and she was Worthy Matron twice in Depot. Plus, in later years, I achieved Scottish Rite KC 32nd and KCCH.”

All these years of Masonic service added up to Ben receiving a 50-year “A” certificate. In 1986, the couple retired to a four-acre ranchette near their original roots in Paris, Texas. “If anything, we worked just as hard, but now it was growing a garden, volunteering for the church, helping at the fire department, offering free hair styling, and participating in Masonic Lodge and Eastern Star activities,”said Ben.

After fourteen years of “retirement,” the property upkeep and extensive volunteering proved too much to handle. Ben had undergone heart surgery and their children wanted them closer to their homes in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

“We moved to a small place in Joshua, outside Fort Worth. We had plenty of good times, but after we’d been there about ten years, our lives were getting really difficult. I was 84 by this time and Anna was 82. She had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and that meant she really depended on me. Because my vision was failing, I couldn’t drive and I couldn’t pay our bills without someone helping me.

We faced either moving in with our children or moving to Texas Masonic Retirement Center. We looked at our situation and decided to donate our home and estate, so we could move here, get the help we needed, and enjoy the rest of our lives,” said Ben.

“Last February, we celebrated 72 years of marriage and we love living here! They take care of us, take us to the doctor, buy our medicine, have a Country Store with personal items. Plus, we go play music at Stewart’s RV Park, between Alvarado and Keene, on Tuesday nights from 7 to 9 with the Good Times Band. Come out there or stop by here most any day and you’re welcome to join in on our sing-a-longs.”

Ben and Anna’s many years of dedicated service to Masonic organizations and assistance from of the No Mason Left Behind Project now allows them to live in safe surroundings and enjoy a rich life, with help just a few steps away.

Want to make a donation to the No Mason Left Behind Project? You can use our secure online donation service or print out and mail in a donation form. We look forward to recognizing your kindness and benevolence. Check out our list of awards and more recognition.

     

 

Costs of Caring for Terminally Ill Wife Wiped Out Martin’s Savings

Photo of Martin Morris“I don’t have to worry about anything anymore.”

—Martin Morris, age 73
Retired Inspector – Loving Husband – Steadfast Mason

At 73, Martin Miller beams as he remembers being named All-District left end on Woodson High School’s 1960 championship football team. His prowess on the gridiron was likely honed at home. As the youngest of 10 children growing up in Woodson, Texas, population 300, he learned to work hard and help carry the load for his family and community.

In 1969, Martin and his young wife, Betsy, moved to Tarrant County, following a job opportunity with the Texas Highway Department.  He worked his way up through the ranks to become an inspector and later accepted the same position with the City of Arlington. During those years, he became an active Mason, joining Handley Lodge, Kerrville Lodge, and Sweet Home Lodge.

With a decent sum set aside for retirement, Martin felt set for his older years. But, nothing prepares a family for devastating illness. Betsy suffered a debilitating stroke resulting in paralysis on the right side of her body.  A few months later, she was diagnosed with lung cancer.

To care for Betsy, Martin quit his full-time job and took part-time positions.  Even with insurance, the costs were overwhelming.  In the five years prior to Betsy’s death, bills resulting from her catastrophic medical conditions wiped out their savings.  With no children, Martin now faced his older years alone and in serious financial difficulty.

With support like yours for the No Mason Left Behind Project, Martin moved to Texas Masonic Retirement Center a year ago. As he says today, “I don’t have to worry about anything anymore.”

Want to make a donation to the No Mason Left Behind Project 2018? You can use our secure online donation service or print out and mail in a donation form. We look forward to paying tribute to your kindness and benevolence.  Check out our list of awards and more recognition.

              

 

Home Repairs & Taxes Overwhelmed Ruth Ann’s Tight Budget 

“I can grow old here with dignity. I appreciate being able to live here as the mother of a Mason. I feel it was the Lord’s will and I am very thankful.”

—Ruth Ann Goodman, Age 84
Retired Bookkeeper – Master Seamstress – Devoted Mother

Expenses were mounting for Ruth Ann Goodman, age 84. Her home outside Conroe, Texas, had problems.  A new roof was needed, major plumbing repairs were called for, and now the local city authorities were talking about annexing her property. This meant new taxes added to her already challenging budget.

After retiring as a bookkeeper for Harris County, Ruth Ann diligently developed her lifelong love of sewing—becoming an expert seamstress.  She spent hours creating embroidered table linens, handcrafted quilts, and monogrammed clothing to sell, in an effort to help make ends meet.  But, her sewing income was not going to offset these daunting new financial challenges.

Ruth Ann reached out to her son and daughter-in-law for help. Both had strong ties to Masonry. Her son had been involved with multiple Lodges and Shrine activities in the Houston area for years.

Together, they researched the possibilities of qualifying for a move to Texas Masonic Retirement Center.  They shortly determined that this decision was an answer to prayer.

“I can grow old here with dignity. I appreciate being able to live here as the mother of a Mason. I feel it was the Lord’s will and I am very thankful,” says Ruth Ann.

Her eyes light up as she describes one of her favorite things about living at Texas Masonic Retirement Center: “They gave me my own sewing room. It’s right next door to my apartment. I make quilts and embroidered table runners and other things for them to raffle off. It’s my way to give back. They have been very good to me here.”

Want to make a donation to the No Mason Left Behind Project 2018? You can use our secure online donation service or print out and mail in a donation form. We look forward to paying tribute to your kindness and benevolence.  Check out our list of awards and more recognition.

              

 

If you prefer to mail your individual donation, just click below, print the form out and mail it back to us with your donation at the address listed at the bottom:

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Amazon Smile Program – Donate With Every Amazon Purchase

Purchase items on Amazon.com and a portion of your purchase can be donated to Texas Masonic Retirement. Sign up for the Amazon Smile program and help our residents.

Leave a Legacy – Planned Giving

For more than 100 years, gifts received through wills and other planned giving options have built a tremendous foundation of care for older Texas Masons and their loved ones.  We will be glad to visit with you personally to better explain the many options available for planned giving.  Feel free to call Gary Blair, Superintendent, at 817.275.2893 or send an email to gary@MasonicLiving.org.

Planned Giving Options:

We’re glad to answer questions and provide information. Feel free to check out our Frequently Asked Questions. We also welcome your call to 817.275.2893 or email to info@YourTMRC.org

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