One of the major tenets of Freemasonry is almoning. The care of one's brother. It was therefore very distressing to learn of a case where all our
good attintentions can come to naught.
Take the following scenario which I have used poetic licence for effect.
A brother, an older single man collapses at his home, and presses his St. John's alarm button. This is sufficient to call the emergency services
and he is admitted to hospital. He is to ill too ill to phone anyone, and anyway he does not have a list of masonic numbers to call for his brothers
in Lodge or the Distict Almoner. If he is too ill to communicate at all then the hospital and St. John's would only be able to use the contents of his
wallet, and their records pertaining to the St.John's alarm to inform next of kin or family.
However, the invalid's cell phone may have an ICE number in its phonebook - that is "In Case of Emergency" number,.That is only relevant if his
cell phone is present. Making an ICE entry to several numbers is easy and cell phone owners are to be encouraged to do this as a matter of
routine. It works by ringing the number(s), that the cell phone owner wants contacted in Emergencies. However many brothers do not have cell
phones, and the paramedics have little time to look and collect them in emergencies. However, brethren should always carry their wallet, with
driving licence, credit cards etc. How about adding a Freemasons card to that list?
So how can Freemasons NZ help their brothers?
By the Grand Lodge of New Zealand obtaining a cell phone number which is tended once each day as routine by Grand Lodge staff. This number
is universally known and advertised to the brethren, and to all the hospitals, police stations and relevant authorities in New Zealand. This means
that should a brother in hospital say he is a Freemason contact can be made immediately by phone whether by voicemail of by text.
However if the individual is unconscious and he cannot tell people that he is a Freemason, then the above method falls down. In such a case, his
Freemason Card will automatically register the fact. It will allow those treating him to contact the local almoners, if known, or Freemasons NZ,
who will pass the details on at the first opportunity to those in the locality. His brothers will then be able to assist those carers in the contacting
his loved ones, and practice the "benevolence we all profess to admire."
The Grand Lodge should produce a Freemasons card somewhat similar to the above design. although the addition of a contact number for the
hospital or the location may be a desirable addition, if not essential..
The card should be provided to every one who is a member of Freemasons New Zealand. After the initial circulation to all present members, a card
should be presented to every new brother on their initiation, when they should be instructed that it should always be kept in one's wallet. And to
ensure that it be taken when they have to go to hospital..
As mentioned above the above is just a draft design. It is a design that informs the emergency worker the universal contact number to call and
what details are required to swing the Masonic almoning wing into action.. After that they need just to wait for contact to be made with the local
almoners association and also his Lodge almoner or secretary, so he can be visited.
Why should it be a national Cell phone number?
It should be a national number and not a local Division or District number, It is its universality throughout New Zealand, just like 111 for emegency
calls, that makes the Freemasons number to be easily advertised. As a cellphone it will accept text messages, and these can be simply
forwarded by Grand Lodge to the relevant Districts and Lodges. It will be easier for the sender, and for the receiver.