Together we make a profound difference

Championing Pleasanton Veterans

In July 2017, California Masons celebrated Support Our Veterans Month – a recognition of veterans throughout California communities. At Pleasanton Lodge No. 321, it was a familiar call to action, as supporting their local vets is a year-round priority.

Past Master Bill Taylor served in the Vietnam War and knows first hand how meaningful it is to veterans to feel supported and appreciated. When he was elected junior warden of Pleasanton Lodge, he promoted the idea that supporting local vets could be a win-win. “Our lodge was the ‘best kept secret’ in Pleasanton,” he said. “I wanted to get our name out there while at the same time rallying local support for Bay Area veterans.”

Since then, the lodge has joined a number of community initiatives that aim to support local veterans. They partner with Siminoff Lodge No. 850 at the Union City Masonic Home to walk in the Pleasanton Veterans Day Parade with a festively decorated float. For the past four years, they have participated in the Hometown Pancake Breakfast, an annual event in Pleasanton that supports military families by raising money to send care packages to local citizens serving abroad. At the event, lodge brothers provide donuts and socialize with the many local veterans and community members in attendance.

Building personal relationships with veterans is meaningful to both the veterans and lodge members, explains Taylor. This year, the lodge partnered with the Pleasanton VFW and the American Legion to sponsor a bingo night at the Livermore VA hospital. It was a moving experience for the brothers and Masonic family members who participated. “A lot of these guys are pretty severely handicapped and they might not have local family members or anyone coming to visit them,” Taylor said. “One of the guys our members befriended was talking about his struggles with being a sniper. The veteran really needed that opportunity of someone who was willing to listen and empathize with him.”

Another impactful event has been participating in the East Bay Stand Down, a bi-annual four-day event that provides Bay Area homeless veterans with a wide variety of needed services – from transportation and housing assistance to legal aid, haircuts, clothing, and dental care. The lodge helped to serve lunch to more than 450 homeless veterans, veterans’ families, and volunteers. Brothers left the event exhausted, but satisfied that they had made a meaningful contribution to help these truly deserving veterans.

“We support the veterans not only in our community, but whither so ever dispersed,” says Taylor. “It’s what our lodge believes in and it’s just the right thing to do.”

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