I am very pleased that Robert McClarty, known to most people in McPherson as chief of police, was just installed as the new Grand Senior Deacon of the statewide Grand Lodge of Ancient Free & Accepted Masons of Kansas. This is a progressive statewide Officer-line, which means that McClarty will someday (barring extraordinary circumstances) advance year-by-year and ultimately become the top presiding officer (called "Grand Master" of all Kansas Masons....including myself). I have been a Mason 37 years and Robert McClarty is an all-around good guy and role model. My late mother, Gloria (Riedl) Marples once lived in McPherson as a little girl. Coincidentally, one of my second-cousins has a son who is a police officer in McPherson temporarily deployed in the army. So, I have various good knowledge of McClarty. Robert McClarty and I belong to various Masonic groups together, such as the York Rite, the Scottish Rite and The Red Cross of Constantine. Years ago, I joined the Shriners which is a part of the Masonic fraternal family. He is an excellent choice for the organization. Many people don't know what the Masons are. Freemasonry is the oldest and largest fraternal organization in the world. In Kansas, we sponsor the Kansas Masonic Home in Wichita (for Aged Members), the Kansas Masonic Foundation, and other charities. At the local-level some lodges give scholarships to deserving high-school students bound for college. The mission of a Masonic Lodge isn't the secretive nature that some novels and films have portrayed. It is an honorable Order that has been around (in its present form) for over 300 years; in Kansas for over 153 years, and the Three Degrees are designed to make good men, better men by instilling good ethical lessons step-by-step. Or rather: degree-by-degree. It builds character. There is a common motto: "The Brotherhood of Man, under the Fatherhood of God. I like to call it a "Friendship Society". It is by no means a secret-society. Today's generation has "passwords" on their cell-phone or computer merely to assure the rightful person legitimately gains access - and not an imposter. Same principle with Masonry.
I commend and congratulate Robert McClarty on this pivotal new Office which will undoubtedly benefit multitudes of people, as the years go on by his enthusiasm, interest, and involvement. My late dad belonged to Masonry and allied orders over 52 years. I am a 5th generation Mason. In our impersonal digital world, sometimes it is nice to greet someone eye-to-eye and with a friendly personal handshake. There's nothing sinister about it. Any group that draws five generations of a family offers "something special". Those are among the beautiful traits of the Fraternity. It's not a church, but a fraternal order built on Biblical truths, especially the construction of King Solomon's Temple. I look forward to Robert McClarty helping Masonic Lodges regain their visibility all around the State of Kansas. His role is a feather in the cap for all of McPherson...and for all of Kansas. God Bless him.
James A. Marples
806 Grand Ave.
Ebson, Ks 66941