Printed on: April 02, 2013

Worthy of our respect

S.D. Auvil
Guest columnist

Let's take a moment today to pay tribute to those who serve us in our time of greatest need, writes S.D. Auvil.Freemasons from around the state gathered in Challis on March 23 to dedicate the North Custer Hospital District's new ambulance building. Twenty-five volunteers staff the ambulance service based in the building. In 2012, these volunteers headed out toward hazards unknown to attend to those in need 264 times.

Halfway through the dedication ceremony -- and two paragraphs into the oration I was at the time delivering -- half a dozen people jumped up from their chairs and stormed out of the building. It wasn't but a panic-stricken moment before I realized they had left to answer an emergency response call.

Reflecting on the sight of these people charging out the door to answer the call, I find it comforting to know that when accident or injury strikes those living in or traveling through this beautiful land, there stands at the ready in communities like Challis men and women willing to leave hearth and home on a moment's notice to provide aid and assistance to those in distress.

I can't help but wonder, though, why do these Samaritans good and true, and those like them in other communities throughout the country, volunteer to do this? Why do they of their own free will and accord leave their homes and offices, family and friends, factories and farms to render comfort and care to those who are to them, in many cases, mere strangers?

Maybe it's because they consider those to whom they render aid not as strangers unknown, but as neighbors unmet.

Maybe it's because they view the biblical guidance to love your neighbor as you love yourself a great moral truth, a truth that compels within them a desire to be of service to others.

Maybe it's because they believe extending a helping hand to those neighbors in need a just and noble thing to do and a virtue worth promoting within their communities.

Maybe it's because they wish to show through kindness and compassion that relieving a stranger's distresses or soothing their neighbor's afflictions are benevolent acts worth exemplifying.

Serving truth, promoting virtue, exemplifying benevolence -- these principles, I believe, form the bedrock on which our moral structures should rest and from which our ethical edifices should rise.

Serving truth, promoting virtue, exemplifying benevolence -- these are principles Freemasons strive to incorporate into their lives and, I sense, are principles that the men and women of the Challis Ambulance Service, and those like them in communities large and small, far and wide, have inculcated into the content of their characters.

Their willingness to thrust themselves out into the howling winds of a cold winter's night or into the scorching heat of a mid-summer's day shows them to be deserving of our admiration and renders them worthy of our respect.

Auvil is the grand orator of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Idaho. He can be reached at