Right Worshipful Douglas Neal, chairman of the Masonic Safety Identification program for Western New York, recently announced that 3,025 youth and adults were served by the program in 2012. This Masonic program is coordinated with the national "Amber Alert" safety program, that can lead to an almost instant search for a missing person.
This free program was conducted at several area venues throughout the year, requiring 28 volunteer Masons and Order of Eastern Star ladies from nine Masonic Lodges and three OES chapters. Several schools participated in the program and many interested high school students volunteered to assist with and learn about the program when it was conducted at their respective schools. The group of volunteers conducted their program for area town, village and city functions, firemen's fundraising activities, preschools, church groups, business promotions, fraternal and veterans groups and family functions. They also conducted the program for six days at the Chautauqua County Fair where they processed 467 people.
The program is available to everyone in the area, from infants to those adults who might require extra protection from being afflicted with Alzheimer's disease or dementia. Parental authorization has to be given before a child less than 18 years of age may participate. Without such permission, the Masons are forbidden to operate the program. Once the person has completed the process, they receive a disc containing all personal information and an identification card. The disc can not be altered by anyone and nothing is retained by the Masons except the permission slip.. All personal information is immediately purged from their computers.
Questions about the program may be forwarded to the chairman, Douglas Neal, 100 East St., Sherman, NY 14781 or Carl Kerr, PO Box 163, South Dayton, NY 14138. Neal can also be contacted at 397-9942 and Kerr can be called at 988-3541.