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November 23rd, 2004 - Massachusetts Grand Master Visits USO Center

Boston, MA - Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts Donald G. Hicks, Jr. joined USO staff, volunteers and military personnel for the grand opening of the new USO Children and Families Center at the USO New England office at the Boston Coast Guard station.

Originally known as the USO "Baby Barracks", the Center is sponsored by the Masonic Angel Foundation, Inc. under a grant made possible by The Lodge of St. Andrew. It is an ideal place for a parent to leave a child while in Boston for doctor visits and other necessary business. The Center provides all kinds of baby equipment and supplies for military families in transit, short-term child care and emergency baby items when crisis strikes.

Grand Master Hicks was invited to open the Center as a representative of all Massachusetts Masons. According to USO Executive Director Alice Harkins, Massachusetts Masonic organizations have contributed over $100,000 to the USO New England Council since September 11, 2001. Ms. Harkins is known locally as a miracle worker for leveraging these funds into nearly $400,000 worth of goods and services for children and spouses of deployed military personnel.

The Masonic Angel Foundation is proud of its association with the USO. Through local Masonic Angel Funds, the St. Andrew Fund and other sources, MAF enjoys almost daily contact with Alice Harkins. The Foundation's volunteer staff is usually Ms. Harkins initial contact when seeking MAF assistance - we then refer her requests to the Masonic Angel Fund that serves the community where the family resides. When the need originates in Boston, the Boston First Fund assists the family. When a request comes from a community where there is no Masonic Angel Fund, the St. Andrew Fund can often fill the void.

Other Masonic assistance for the USO New England Council comes from dozens of individual Masonic Lodges, the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, the Shriners and many individual Masons.

For more information about the programs and services of the USO Council of New England please visit www.usonewengland.org

Surrounded by representatives from the Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard, Grand Master Donald G. Hicks cuts the ribbon opening the new USO Children and Families Center in Boston. Pictured left to right are Richard Armstrong (President, USO Council of New England), Alice Harkins (USO/NE Executive Director), Grand Master Donald G. Hicks, Jr.
 
Inspecting the new USO Children and Families Center are (left to right), Richard Armstrong (President, USO Council of New England), Alice Harkins (USO Executive Director), Grand Master Donald G. Hicks Jr., David Howard (representing the Boston First Masonic Angel Fund).