Sr. DeMolay Jon DeWaard
Sr. DeMolay Prudence Chapter, Algona, IA
Algona High School
University of Northern Iowa
University of Massachusetts Lowell
I’ve held lots of jobs in my life, some of them I liked, some of them I didn’t, some that I took because I wanted to, and some that I took out of necessity. I’ve worked in retail, radio, sports instruction, software, sales, construction, IT, and more. I’ve worked in an automobile factory, a screen door factory, a sheet metal factory, and a cheese factory. I’ve been at companies where I’ve worked for multiple years, and I’ve worked day labor, where each job only lasts for a single day. I’ve had the opportunity to travel all around the country, doing lots of different things, and meeting lots of different people. For the last 7 years, I’ve been a system administrator at a small Iowa hospital, and finally feel like I’ve put down some roots… although I hear there might be a new cheese factory opening in the area…
Favorite DeMolay Memory
I’ve got so many great memories of DeMolay. I could type 50 pages worth of stories, no exaggeration. But one that really stands out is from Summerfest 95, I think. We were staying in the un-air-conditioned dorms at Grinnell College, in the middle of a heat wave. We’re talking 100 degrees during the day, 85 degrees at night, humidity through the roof; I’m sweating just thinking about it. It was HOT.
To combat the heat, the guys from my chapter had schemed to acquire a large amount of soda, probably 3-4 cases worth, and we needed a way to keep it cool. Our dorm rooms were a furnace. There were no refrigerators available to us, and we didn’t think to bring any coolers. What could we do?
The solution we decided upon was to load all of the soda into the drawers of one of the dressers in our dorm room, and cover it with ice. It worked!!! The soda was nice and chilly. All we had to do was keep adding ice, and we were set.
It was roughly 2 AM when the flaw in our plan presented itself. It turns out dressers are not meant to hold liquids. Who knew, right? I had gotten out of bed, to go to the bathroom, and noticed that the entire floor of our room was under about an inch of water. Terrified, I woke my Prudence Chapter brothers to help deal with the situation. DeMolay is big on brotherhood, and the boys from Prudence Chapter were no exception. We all knew there would be consequences if we were to be caught up past lights out, having made a giant mess.
Barely a word was uttered as we leaped into action. We took turns sneaking off to the bathroom down the hall, bringing back armloads of paper towels, which we used to sop up the mess. The wet paper towels went into a pillow case, which was stealthily disposed of in an outside dumpster. The crisis was averted, and no one was the wiser. We all exchanged nods when the deed was done, silently agreeing to keep the secret of what happened there that night, forever… or at least until the ride home.
How has DeMolay impacted your life?
I’m not sure I can adequately explain how much DeMolay has meant to me. I referenced it before, but the brotherhood has probably had the biggest impact. I can honestly say that the bonds I’ve forged with some of my DeMolay brethren are some of the most important things in my life. These are men I could go to with any problem I had, no matter how great, and the only response I would get from them is “How can I help?” That kind of fealty is the heart of what the organization is all about, and it goes without saying that I would not be the man I am today without DeMolay.
Parting Words of Wisdom
Make it mean something. DeMolay can be a defining part of your life, or it can be just another youth group. It’s entirely up to you.
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