2024 New Mexico Grand Lodge Communication

A Traveling Man’s Report Volume V

By: John P. Keel
Sandoval Lodge No. 76

John Keel

Fraternal Greetings Brethren! This volume of A Traveling Man Report covers the MW Grand Lodge of New Mexico 147th Annual Communication held in Ruidoso March 14th through the 17th. This Annual Communication was a blast and I had a great time enjoying the fellowship with brothers from around the state as well as from other grand jurisdictions across the country and even Central and South America.

Ruidoso Scenic ViewThe event was held at the gorgeous Inn of the Mountain Gods which is nestled in a valley just outside Ruidoso, NM next to a beautiful lake. The serene setting was a great choice for our meetings, and I cannot think of many places in our state that would match the beauty and splendor of the location. It is easy to be refreshed each morning and evening with such grandeur to look upon from the balconies at this hotel, which is a good thing because I definitely needed the refreshment after so much lost sleep due to enjoying other refreshments and fellowship with our brothers!

Speaking of refreshments, our hospitality suite, run by the very capable RWB Harry Jenkins, stayed well stocked with everything our brothers needed, from food and snacks, to spiritous libations, and especially, the good company and lively discussions from the brethren. The hospitality suite was perfectly located as well, just off the main lobby, making it easily accessible from the conference center, casino, or guest rooms.

The conference center itself was a short walk from the rooms and had a great amount of space for everything we needed. It made for a great location for all of the events. The check in table run by RWB James Overfelt with help from Brothers Jeffery Russ and Jonathan Muniz, was easy to get to and helpful throughout the weekend.

There was also a lot of great food to be enjoyed locally. Though we didn’t have the greatest experience at Wendell’s Steakhouse the first night, I heard they really stepped up to ensure everyone had a great meal the subsequent nights. Sampling the local food options in Ruidoso was a fun experience though and the Log Cabin restaurant became our breakfast spot for every morning after the amazing meal we had on the first day there. I highly recommend it. Also of note, was the Rio Grande Grill and Taproom, which had some amazing foods prepared New Mexican style. I recommend the Green Chile Chicken Alfredo!

The Grand Lodge sessions started Thursday with the Secretary and Treasurer’s meetings. Grandview was highlighted as one of the biggest takeaways and I learned quite a bit about the new system. The evening was full of fun conversation at the happy hour and the Grand Master’s Reception. Afterwards, many of us enjoyed more fellowship at the hospitality suite and throughout the hotel.

Friday morning started with a great public opening and then the formal opening of the MW Grand Lodge of New Mexico. The National Sojourners of New Mexico, led by Kit Carson Chapter President RWB Harry Jenkins, presented the colors and Brother Anthony Uchello gave a great recital of the “Toast to the Flag”. Among the distinguished visitors were MW Grand Masters from several states or their representatives to include from Mexico’s Cosmos Grand Lodge and Paraguay’s Grand Lodge. MW Grand Master of Masons in New Mexico, MWB Thomas Shenk, gave a heartfelt Grand Master’s address to all assembled and the Brothers of New Mexico elected the Grand Lodge officers for the ensuing year. The installation of officers went well and we all welcomed MWB Steve Almager as our new Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in New Mexico. The awards banquet in the evening was a great time to continue connecting with brothers from around the state and beyond. We had a great meal and fellowship all around.

Saturday morning began with a memorial service for our brothers who have laid down their working tools and joined the Celestial Lodge above. After a short break, we resumed labor and were able to continue with the business of the Craft. In all, the sessions went very smooth and I believe we continue to be in good hands as we move forward. Saturday evening saw more festivities and fellowship at the after party and many of us stayed up until the early hours of the morning enjoying great conversation.

The weekend was a great time and I thoroughly enjoyed all the fellowship with each of you brothers this year. I thank all of you who have read and complimented these articles as well! If you haven’t been to an Annual Communication, you’re missing out on a great time so, please consider joining us in Hobbs next March!

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