Thursday, December 20, 2012

Illini High Twelve Comes To The Aid Of Our Soldiers

ROTC 2nd Lieutenant Nick Sullivan
(Photo by Ron Peyton)
We had a great December meeting today.  The Illini High Twelve last month voted to take up a special collection at our December meeting to support a local cause, and we had a few ideas about the recipient of that special collection, but nothing very specific.  Out of the blue, 2nd Lieutenant Nick Sullivan contacted us about an effort the University of Illinois ROTC was embarking upon--they send Care Packages to deployed units around the world--each unit that receives these care packages are lead by an officer that is an alumni of the University of Illinois ROTC--or as we like to say "our local boys."  Many of our members are Veterans, and we thought that was a great cause.  Obviously, our members agreed. 

Nick Sullivan came today, and enjoyed lunch with us, told us about what they're doing.  They'd like to send at least six of these shipments to deployed units each year.  We raised a little more than I expected, and then a member of our club suggested we add a little more to it out of our club funds to make it nice round number, and that easily and unanimously passed--I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that it was suggested by Ray Cummings, our DDGM.  An even $300 goes a long way when buying simple basics we all take for granted, like clean socks, and simple hot food like Ramen noodles, and E-Z Mac & Cheese.  I was also very pleased that our AAGM Denver Phelps brought up the fact that he'd like to see the Illini High Twelve do more to raise monies that support other local causes as well.  That suggestion was also very well received.

And the ROTC collection is still open.  If your lodge would like to donate, or if you'd like to chip in as an individual, please contact us.  We plan on going on a little shopping trip for our troop after the new year.  I don't think we'd have raised as much as we did if it weren't for the fact that 2nd Lieutenant Nick Sullivan impressed us all, and so many of our members have been active in the military--we had a great representation today of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam Vets.  They've been there, and they know what its like being so far from home.

We also had a few guests today, including a young man that was going to be raised the day of our meeting at Western Star Lodge, and we also had a guest that was a friend of one of our members.  We also voted in two more new members today--that puts us at about 40 members now.  Keep bringing your new members and friends--they are always welcome.  And remember "you don't have to join us to join us for lunch." 

For a brand new club, just chartered at our June meeting, we should all be proud of what we've accomplished in just a few months.  It can only get better over time. 

And a very special thanks to our Secretary (for life), WB Greg Knott.  He's done a tremendous job of getting this club up and running, lining up terrific speakers, and doing most of the heavy lifting involved in making the Illini High Twelve such a success right out of the gate.  When I say "we" I usually mean Greg.  Any Secretary knows how that works--when the Master of the any Lodge I've visited says "we" he's usually talking about something the Secretary needs to do.  And we've got a really terrific Secretary in Greg Knott without doubt. 

And another idea Greg had that's a good one--a "Happy Hour."  I failed to bring it up today, but I think it's something that would be a lot of fun for our members.  To get together in an even more casual environment (if there is such a thing).  We'll be setting one of these up soon, and see how it goes. 

Thanks again, to all our members for their generosity in making our first "special collection" such a rousing success.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Illini ROTC to visit Illini High 12

At our next meeting Thursday Dec. 20 we will have guests from the University of Illinois ROTC to talk about their programs and a special effort Illini ROTC has for care packages.  We will be accepting donations in our Red School House.

Bring a friend or spouse to this meeting.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Great Story About Our Club . . .

I visited St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 on Monday night--they had a first degree.  It was a young guy, a Master's Degree student from the University of Illinois.  I was asked to sit with him in the Preparation Room while they opened up the lodge and I got talking to him.  I was curious how he came to petition St. Joseph Lodge--I believe he's from Massachusetts.  One thing that helped him decide to petition was that he was invited to attend a meeting, and had an opportunity to meet a few Master Masons.

You'll never guess what meeting he attended that helped him decide to petition?  That's right--he attended an Illini High Twelve meeting where he met several Masons that made an impression on him, including Greg Knott.

This is exactly the goal Greg and I had in mind when we first started talking about putting a High Twelve club together.  Not only to have a fun meeting to attend each month, hear an interesting speaker, and perhaps raise a little money for some good causes--but to advance Masonry by using it to get potential Masons interested in joining, and get new Masons better networked and more active in the Craft right in the beginning. And obviously, it can work that way--and has at least once already.

So... we have a meeting this Thursday.  Is their a friend or co-worker you'd like to invite?


Monday, November 12, 2012

Reminder: November Meeting

This is a reminder that the Illini High Twelve will have it's monthly meeting this Thursday, November 15th, at the Urbana Garden Restaurant.  Our guest speaker this month is Patty Walters, the Exective Vice President of Clinical Services at the Developmental Services Center.  She'll talk about some of the services her organization provides to the community. 

We hope to see you there!  

Friday, September 21, 2012

September Meeting Summary

Lt. Com. Guy Snider (photo by Ron Peyton)
We had a great September meeting yesterday, and we'd like to thank Lieutenant Commander Guy Snider (RET) from the United States Coast Guard for coming and talking to us about the September 11th attack on the Pentagon.  It was certainly something I'm sure we'll all think about and remember for a long time to come.

A reminder that Illini High Twelve does have polo shirts available through our store at CafePress.  They look really nice with Mitch's logo on them, so be sure and order one--about $2 of each shirt purchase will go to our charity, the Wolcott Foundation.

I hope everyone enjoyed the meeting as much as I did.  We'll see you again next month.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

September Meeting--Mark Your Calendars For This One!

We have have a great guest lined up for our September meeting.  Our guest will be Retired Lieutenant Commander Guy Snider, United States Coast Guard.  He was at the Pentagon during the September 11th attack, and he'll be giving us a very timely presentation--he's not telling his own story.  From what I understand, he's going to tell a story about someone that participated in the events that day.  I'm very much looking forward to his presentation.  I think it's something we'll all remember.

And just a reminder.  The Illini High Twelve is a Masonic organization, but you don't have to be a member of the Illini High Twelve to join us for lunch.  Just come and have lunch with us.  And you don't have to be a Mason to join us for lunch--our doors are open to spouses, friends, family, co-workers... whoever you'd like to bring along.  Last month, our meeting was called to order when a five-year-old girl, the daughter of one of our members, rang the bell.  This month, I'll be bringing a friend from work--not a Mason.  But there is a strict dress code--come as you are. 

This speaker was lined up for us by our 1st Vice President, Bro. Brad Cronk.  I'm sorry, that's incorrect.  It's The Illustrious Brad Cronk, 33°.  Be sure and be amongst the first to congratulate him on receiving that tremendous, and well-deserved honor in Cleveland, Ohio two weeks ago. 


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

State High 12 Website

Be sure to check out the State of Illinois High 12 website at  for all the latest news from clubs around the state.

Friday, August 17, 2012

August 2012 Meeting Notes

Guest Speaker Brad Uken, Manager of the Champaign Co. Farm Bureau

We had another well attended meeting yesterday.  We'd like to thank Brad Uken, Manager of the Champaign County Farm Bureau for joining us today.  I think everyone enjoyed his talk about the drought and farm issues.  I learned a few things--and that's not always easy to accomplish.

A few mentioned they aren't getting the call-em-alls.  I'll get that list caught up this month.  I haven't been doing a very good job keeping up with adding new members.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Illini High Twelve Annual President's Report

 Each year, prior to the annual meeting of High Twelve, club Presidents submit a report of their club's activities during the previous year.  We've only be around a short time, but I thought I'd share the report I sent.  ~TEC

President’s Report
Illini High Twelve No. 768
Urbana, Illinois

August 9, 2012

Dear Brethren,

The Illini High Twelve No. 768 just received our charter on May 17th, 2012—ninety one years to the day that High Twelve, International was founded.  Considering our short time in existence, and only two “official” meetings under our belts, I have more to report than you might think, and a couple things I’d like to say in our first official report—you might as well get comfortable.

On behalf of the members of Illini High Twelve, I’d like to thank the officers of the Illinois Association of Masonic High Twelve Clubs and High Twelve, International for their tireless assistance and support in helping us get off the ground.  They even found us a bell and gavel to use, a flag to use at our meetings, a Wolcott School House, and charter member lapel pins for all our members.  We can’t thank you enough for making us feel like part of a larger family.

The Illini High Twelve meets the third Thursday each month at noon at the Urbana Garden Restaurant at I-74 and Lincoln Avenue in Urbana, Illinois.  We started out meeting in their side dining room with a single table, then we were up to several tables, and as our membership has grown, we’ve slowly taken over the entire dining room.  It’s a great venue, and the management and staff at the restaurant have bent over backwards to accommodate our group—and they serve a really good lunch at a reasonable price.

But even as new as we are, we’ve been very industrious.  We have our own logo that ties into the proud tradition of the University of Illinois.  The logo was designed by our Chaplain Bro. Mitch Duszynski.  I think eventually, we’ll have the pattern embroidered on jackets and hats for our members.  And we have an informational blog at and you’ll find the Illini High Twelve on Facebook, too.  Shortly after our charter meeting, I send a letter out to all the local lodges (about 25 were on the mailing list) telling them about our club, what we do, when we meet, and encouraging them to join us for lunch.  We also use Call-Em-All to remind our members of our monthly meetings a few days in advance.

So we’ve been working hard on getting the word out about our new club.  And it’s paying off.  Our membership is growing—we’re up to 38 members.  We’ve enjoyed very good attendance at our first two meetings, and have had two very good speakers.  Our Secretary, Greg Knott, has done a phenomenal job at lining up speakers.  In June, Gordy Hulten, the Champaign County Clerk spoke to us about his office.  Last month, we enjoyed a visit from Dr. Tom Ramage, the President of Parkland College.  This month, Greg has invited Brad Uken, the manager of the Champaign County Farm Bureau to speak.  And we have more speakers lined up. 

Our club is rather unique in its goals.  The idea in the beginning was to use it to promote Freemasonry in the community, and in particular amongst the faculty, staff, and students at the University of Illinois.  We also want to use the club to help new members of our fraternity network and make new friends—help get them engaged and involved in our fraternity early on.  We encourage our members to not only bring their spouses, but to bring a friend from work who they think might make a good Mason, or an Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, or newly-raised Master Mason from their lodge. 

We have a lot of fun in these meetings, and we keep it very informal.  Many of our members and guests work, so it’s always “come as you are,” nobody gets upset if you had trouble getting away from the job and walk in late, or have to leave early to get back to work.  We keep the business portion of the meeting very short so there’s plenty of time to talk and laugh before we introduce our guest speaker—and this conversational time seems to help our speakers relax, and gives them a chance to meet the members more informally before giving their talk.

Our plans for next year?  For the time being, we’re going to continue doing what we’re doing.  Establishing ourselves in the community, and adding to our membership.  We have a very ambitious membership goal—I’d like to have 100 members before I hand off the gavel to the next President next May.  And I’d be very surprised if we didn’t reach that goal.

Sincerely and Fraternally,

Todd E. Creason, 33°
Charter President
Illini High Twelve No. 768

Thursday, July 19, 2012

July Meeting Notes

Dr. Tom Ramage, Parkland College (photo by Bro. Ron Peyton)
We had a very good meeting today, and a great turn-out! We would like to thank Dr. Tom Ramage, the President of Parkland College, for joining us and telling us about some of the things that are going on at the college. I think everyone had a very good time. And he seemed to have enjoyed himself as well--in fact, I invited him to join us next month.  Next month, Brad Uken, the Manager of the Champaign County Farm Bureau will be joining us for lunch. 

See you next month!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Reminder: July 19th Meeting

Just a reminder that our monthly meeting is at noon on July 19th at Urbana Garden Restaurant at I-74 and Lincoln Avenue.  We will have a special guest--Dr. Tom Ramage, the President of Parkland College.  Don't forget to bring your spouse, or invite a friend to come along with you.

In August, our special guest will be Brad Uken, manager of the Champaign County Farm Bureau will be attending our meeting.  He will be able to answer question about the Illinois drought, the farm bill, and any other Illinois agriculture questions our members may have.  That too should be an interesting meeting.

Hope to see you all tomorrow.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

June Meeting: Our First As A Chartered Organization

Illini High Twelve Officers from May 2012 Charter Meeting
(Photo provided by Ron Peyton)

The Illini High Twelve No. 768 held its very first meeting as an officially chartered High Twelve International Club on Thursday.  We'd like to thank Gordy Hulten, Champaign County Clerk for joining us.  I think everyone enjoyed his talk a great deal.  We also added a new member, Bro. Harold Wheatley.  Welcome to the group!  By my count, you're the 35th member.

Secretary Greg Knott has done a great job at lining up speakers  We've got a special guest coming to our July 19th meeting, too.  Dr. Tom Ramage, the President of Parkland College will be joining us.  So mark your calendars.

And do remember, you are invited to bring your spouse or significant other, a friend or co-worker you think might make a good Mason, and we encourage you to bring along a new E.A. or Fellowcraft from your lodge, too.  Give them a chance to meet some new friends, and get more involved in the Fraternity.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Reminder: June 21st Meeting

Gordy Hulten, Champaign County Clerk
Just a reminder that the Illini High Twelve will be having its monthly lunch meeting at noon on Thursday, June 21st at the Urbana Garden Restaurant (I-74 and Lincoln Avenue).  We'll be having a special guest, Gordy Hulten, Champaign County Clerk, who will tell us a little about his office, and some of the services they provide.  Feel free to invite your spouse, or a friend or co-worker to join you for lunch.  The more the merrier.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Guest Speakers Lined Up for June and July Meetings

Our Secretary, Brother Greg Knott, has been lining up a few guests for our June and July meetings.

At our June meeting, we're going to be joined by Champaign County Clerk, Gordy Hulten.  He'll talk a little bit about his office, and some of the services they provide.

At our July meeting, we'll be joined by Dr. Tom Ramage, the President of Parkland College.

Both meetings should be very interesting, and we hope you can join us.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

It's Official! Illini High Twelve No. 768 Is Chartered!

We had a very special meeting on May 17th at Urbana Garden Restaurant.  We had a house full of officers from the Illinois Association of High Twelve from all over the state--some of them drove three hours to be at our charter meeting.  1st Vice President Dean Lillis presented the Illini High Twelve with it's official charter, and offered a little history of the club and what it's purpose is.

Although our club is very new we've grown quickly.  We held our first lunch meeting in November with eight Masons in attendance, as of the meeting Thursday, we have 34 members.  And we also have a unique distinction as we learned Thursday.  The Illini High Twelve No. 768 is the largest newly chartered High Twelve in the United States--and we're just getting started. Not bad for seven months.  Another interesting historical fact is that we chartered our club exactly 91 years to the day that High Twelve International was formed--back on May 17th, 1921.  

We'd like to thank all the officers of the Illinois Association for helping us get started.  They have been very enthusiastic in their support.  1st Vice President Brad Cronk and Secretary Greg Knott were given a bell that belonged to an old club that is no longer in existence when they attended a State meeting in Springfield.  On Thursday, Ed Rund, Past State President, gave me a gavel to strike it with that belonged to that same club--somebody years ago had scratched "High 12" on the head of that gavel.  That gavel had seen some use--it's pretty beat up.  Ed had commented that we didn't have to use it, but I couldn't think of anything more appropriate to use and hand down to successive Club Presidents of the Illini High Twelve.  That bell and the gavel help to tie our new club into the long history of High Twelve in Illinois.  And I went to work polishing that bell, and as you can see, it cleaned up nicely.  It's ready to begin a new chapter in its long history with a new club.

We received a lot of gifts on Thursday.  We were also given a flag for our club's use, and a handmade wooden schoolhouse.  The schoolhouse is a little piggy bank, and each meeting, we'll pass the schoolhouse around and collect a donation for High Twelve's charity, the Wolcott Foundation, which provides scholarships to George Washington University.  We all recieved charter member pins, and all the charter members of the Illini High Twelve received beautifully printed Charter Member Certificates.

It's not every day you get an opportunity to charter a new organization.  Special thanks to all the charter members of Illini High Twelve for making this so successful.  I think part of our success is that we have so much fun at our meetings--it's something we all look forward to each month.  As Ed Rund said at our charter meeting, right out of the gate we've already become the pride of High Twelve International.

If you're interested in joining, or if you'd just like to join us for lunch, it's open to all Masons, and we meet the third Thursday at noon and the Urbana Garden Restaurant in Urbana, Illinois.  You can contact me, or Secretary Greg Knott for additional information.  Our next meeting is June 21st.

Thanks again, and congratulations!

Todd E. Creason
Illini High Twelve No. 768

Friday, April 20, 2012

About The April Meeting

Illini High Twelve logo by Mitch Duszynski
We had a really good meeting yesterday.  The State of Illinois High Twelve President, Roger Carson visited our chapter.  He spoke to us about High Twelve, told us a little bit about the philanthropic side of High Twelve, the Wolcott Foundation, and welcomed the Illini High Twelve to the organization. We will officially be chartered at our May meeting.  

Another interesting part of the meeting today, was that our chaplain Mitch Duszynski has been working on designing a logo for Illini High Twelve.  He's got some more work to do on it, but he shared with us today his concept so far, and it was received enthusiastically.

We also voted in three new members today, bringing our total membership to 32!  Not too bad after just a few months!

We'll see you all again next month!   And remember, next month, we'll be receiving our charter!

Friday, April 13, 2012

News About Our Charter!

As you all know, we've been going through the process of chartering the Illini High Twelve, and we've recently been informed that we're just about through the process.  Both the Illinois State High Twelve and the High Twelve International are very pleased to have a new and enthusiastic group join their ranks--as a matter of fact, we may just have very special guests joining us for both our April, and May meetings.

Plan on trying to take a long lunch in May if you're able--it's looking like that is when High Twelve International will be coming to present Illini High Twelve with our charter.  

I like to thank you all for helping to get this off the ground.  We've got a great mix of members, and I know our monthly meeting is something we all look forward to.  As charter members of this club you should all be very proud.  It's not every day you get an opportunity to be involved in creating something that could very well last longer than we will.  We're just getting started, but I see great things ahead.  

Thanks again,

Todd E. Creason
Illini High Twelve

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April Meeting Reminder: 4/19/12

Don't forget--the Illini High Twelve will hold its monthly meeting at noon at the Urbana Garden Restaurant located at I-74 and Lincoln Avenue on April 19th (3rd Thursday).  Please pass the word around, and invite Masons from your lodge to join us--also feel free to bring a friend you think would make a good Mason.

Hope to see you there,

Todd E. Creason
President, Illini High Twelve

Thursday, March 15, 2012

March Meeting Highlights

Another great meeting today. We had visitors from Belleville, 3rd state VP Jim Morris and Treasurer Emeritus Lester King who gave us some updates on their club in Belleville and encouraging us to keep going. We will be submitting our charter work shortly. One last call for charter members. Contact Greg Knott by this weekend if you are interested.

The state High 12 semi-annual meeting is being held this Saturday March 17 in Springfield. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Reminder: Meeting This Week 2/16/12

It's that time again already!  The Illini High Twelve will be meeting at Urbana Garden at noon on Thursday, February 16th.  Please feel free to invite a friend or bring along your spouse. 

We had planned on filling out our charter paperwork this month, however, that will be postponed until the April meeting, as our Secretary (for life) will be unable to attend the meeting.

If you have any questions, contact me at

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Highlights of January 19th Meeting

Illini High Twelve Charter Members
 We had a very good turnout for our January 19th Meeting--I believe there were about 19 in attendance.  We had a good lunch, elected our charter officers, and took care of a little housekeeping.  Next month at our February 16th meeting, we'll be completing our charter paperwork to become official.  It's still not to late to become a charter member of Illini High Twelve.  We hope to see you at our February meeting.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Next Meeting January 19

The next meeting of Illini High Twelve is Thursday January 19 at noon in the Urbana Garden Restuarant.

Hope you can join us!