Vasa Order of America

Grand Master's Message

Grand Master John Hanright (Jack)'s Winter Message for 2024

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Message from the Grand Master

Dear Vasa Brothers and Sisters,

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2024. I hope everyone had a safe and joyous holiday season. Inger and I visited many lodges throughout the fall and early winter. In November we visited District Lodge NY No. 4 for their biennial convention. District Master Jeanne Eriksson held a very impressive meeting and with support of the executive board and District members completed several new bylaw changes that will help to strengthen and promote growth in New York. I was joined at this meeting by Past Grand Master Art Bjorkner and first lady Nancy, Grand Treasurer Kevin DeFeo, Grand Lodge Executive Board Member Debbie Larsson and Grand Lodge Social Media Director Chad Widman. I had the great honor to present awards to Alice Schmutz who has retired after almost 40 years of office in the district lodge and also to Jeanne Eriksson who has held the office of District Master for more terms than anyone I know. Congratulations to you both and we thank you for your many years of service. A real highlight at DL-4 convention is the young members from Elsa Rix Childrens club that conduct the installation of newly elected officers. They do a fantastic job. Congratulations to newly elected District Master Elaine McGrath. Elaine has a world of experience and will prove to be a very productive and successful DM. Inger and I visited many local lodges during the holidays to celebrate Lucia and Christmas celebrations. We attended the annual Christmas Market at NJ Vasa Park, Skansens Childrens Club Lucia, Viking Lodge 735 Lucia at Muhlenberg College and right before Christmas we held our annual Julbord at NJ Vasa Park. Inger and I held our annual solstice party at our home, and I personally enjoy watching each day as the daylight grows longer. Later in February we will be visiting Pacific Southwest District 15 at the Hilton Hotel in Woodland Hills CA. I look forward to seeing them and hopefully get some warmer weather.

    As some of you are aware our Vasa Star Managing Editor Liza Ekstrand has made the decision to retire. I’m sure there will be further articles regarding this with more detailed information, but I want to take the opportunity to thank Liza for her many years of work with the Vasa Star. Liza is simply a joy to work with and her dedication and communication with members from across our organization has helped our publication enormously. It must have been a difficult decision but one that we will support. The task of finding someone to take on this huge job was not easy. Liza worked very closely with us to find and prepare a new managing editor. Our Editor Christa Svensson has also been a huge help sorting through this. Christa continues to be a fantastic Editor and her contributions are so very much appreciated. If you have a moment, please send a thank you to Liza. I can’t begin to say how significant her contributions to our organization have been. Our new Managing Editor is John Larsson from DL-6. John is the husband of Grand Lodge Executive Board Member Debbie Larsson. John has been a member and very active member his whole life. He has served as District Master, Vasa Park Trustee, Grand Lodge Deputy and the list goes on and on. He has our full support and has been working diligently with Liza, Christa and our publisher Ulf Martensson. Thank you, John, for your commitment.

     As I have reported in past messages, my birthday card program has been moving along quite nicely. I have been averaging about 20 cards per month. A reminder to local and district lodge secretaries to send me your lists of members turning 80, 85, 90, 95 and older so I can add them to my list.

In Generosity Truth and Unity

John Hanright (Jack)

Grand Master