During the Sacramento Cholera Outbreak of 1850, Masons took the reins of a public health emergency.
Diveristy in Friendship
by Antone R.E. Pierucci
Sanger No. 316, King David's No. 209
Pace Setter Donor
By Ian A. Stewart
California Freemason: You’re a fire-prevention specialist for Paso Robles Fire and Emergency Services and a paid-call firefighter with CalFire. Is this usually the time of year you’re getting geared up for fire season?
David Coss: Absolutely. This is the time I’d normally start getting back into the gym, because I know we’re going to be hiking those hills.
CFM: Of course, this year is turning out to be totally different. I understand you’re also part of the city’s COVID-19 response team, right?
DC: Yes, I’m the situation status unit leader for our city’s emergency operations center, which is made up of key city leaders. So for me, that means I’m staring at numbers all day, looking at cases citywide and countywide and making a determination about what kinds of materials we need to protect our citizens, and then conveying that information to our leadership.
CFM: What’s it like when you’re responding to a big wildfire?
D.C.: Thankfully, I wasn’t called on the big fire campaigns, because I was still working as a fire marshal for the military at Camp San Luis Obispo. The biggest one I’ve supported was the Chimney Fire in 2016 here in Paso Robles. That burned for about a month. There are really no words for it. You see the men and women on the fire lines every day, the look on their faces. I’m just proud to support them. It’s an honor and a privilege to stand among these people whom I consider true heroes.
CFM: What drew you to Masonry?
D.C.: In 2003, I’d been deployed to Afghanistan, and while I was there I met a man who turned out to be a Prince Hall Mason. He’d tell me as much as he could about Masonry, and the more I heard about those values and goals, the more I thought, Wow, this is something I need to be a part of.
CFM: What inspired you to donate to the California Masonic Foundation?
D.C.: The Masonic Homes. I saw this amazing safety net available to our members and their families—how could you not want to make sure this is here forever? I get a lot of calls at elder-care facilities, and people are basically put there to die. What we have in Union City and Covina is a place where people can live and thrive and grow. That’s my inspiration. The more my family is able to give to this organization, the more beneficial we’ll be long after we’re gone.
CFM: You tend to see a lot of overlap between firefighters and Masons. Why do you think that is?
DC: I see it in my own lodges. The secretary at Sanger is a retired CalFire battalion chief, and the secretary at King David’s is a retired fire captain. They’re all fraternities. It’s that feeling of camaraderie, which is what we look for in Masonry.
BLAKE ANDREWS / SLOTOGRAPHY