What began as an Christmas potluck dinner and became a dinner out with family at a local restaurant has become an annual tradition at the Scottish Rite, a catered dinner for Knights of St. Andrew members, their wives and families, where we reflect on the year and recognize those who have made a special difference.
This year's KSA Membership dinner was held on Friday, January 8, 2016. The evening began in the Lodge room as Don Kavalec, David Meinzer, and Wade Ridout conducted a Knighting ceremony on Alan Boulter, 32° and Brandon Van Sky, 32°, our two newest members. The KSA officers conducted the ceremony in costume as part of a new tradition to knight our new members.
Afterward, members adjourned downstairs for dinner. Eddie's Catering provided an excellent buffet dinner of baked caprese chicken, freshly steamed vegetables, roasted herb potatoes, and salad. After dinner, Venerable Master Don Kavalec, 32° KCCH recognized Bob Pelletier, 32°, Kyle Beckner, 32°, David Thompson, Sr., 32°, and Rob Corsaro, 32°, who made major contribution to the KSA by hosting numerous gigs throughout the year, which are a significant source of KSA revenue. The KSA receives $50 for each rental our members greet at, and the money is returned to the Valley in donations, including 3 defibrillators, lights in the theater, a laptop computer, quartz countertop in the front office, and much more. To date, over $36,000 has been donated back to the Valley by the KSA!
Don then recognized Greg Swinarski, 32° KCCH who spends countless hours behind the scenes setting up events in the Lodge room, theater, or dining rooms, and without his work, the Scottish Rite would simply not operate well. Don also called up Curt Edic and thanked him for his years of service, mentorship, and friendship. With Curt's retirement, the Scottish Rite loses a valuable and knowledgeable man, who has led the Scottish Rite for nearly 20 years as Assistant General Secretary and General Secretary. Since Curt's membership in the KSA was due to his position of General Secretary, the members unanimously voted to make Curt a life member of the Knights of St. Andrew.
Afterward, Don spoke about the Dennis P. Samuelson Service Award. This was created in 2011 to honor our Past Venerable Master Denny Samuelson (2005), who loved the Knights of St. Andrew. Sadly, we lost Denny to cancer in 2013, but we honor his memory and his love for the organization with this award in his name. The prestigious Dennis P. Samuelson Award goes each year to a Black Hat Scottish Rite Mason of less than 5 years membership who exemplifies Denny's spirit of service and leadership. This year's recipient was Rob Corsaro, who joined in May, 2014. Rob has demonstrated his leadership as a KSA officer, overseeing the gig list, as a member of the Lodge of Perfection, and through service on the Friends of Scottish Rite Dinner. Recently, Curt Edic recognized Rob and wife Marnie as two new members who have become involved in the organization. Rob commands the admiration and respect of the membership, and the award was very much well-deserved.
Last, Don Kavalec distributed copies of the KSA Annual Report, which highlights the events and accomplishments of the past year. With that, the evening came to a conclusion. Some guests stayed on to visit in the lounge as others left. Next year's Venerable Master is David Meinzer, 32°. Please join him and the 2016 officers on January 18 at the Scottish Rite installation.