On a cross-country Masonic charity bike ride, a California Freemason leans on his fraternal support network.
Diveristy in Friendship
by Antone R.E. Pierucci
California Freemason: You’ve worked at the Masonic Homes for more than a decade. What is it about this work that you connect to?
Ernest Salcido Jr.: To me, I have the greatest job ever. I have the pleasure of working with an amazing team of people. My wife, Diana, who is also a nurse at the Masonic Homes, is one of the most caring and giving people I know and a big part of who I am today. Working here, I get to help residents feel just a little bit better. Most of all, I love the stories they share with me. I learn something new every day. They are the reason I am a Mason today.
CFM: Residents introduced you to the fraternity?
ESJ: I didn’t know anything about Masonry until I started working at the Masonic Homes. I learned a lot, though, especially from two men, Jim Nash and John Abernathy. When I affiliated with Destiny № 856, they were in the pro-cess of getting their charter, and I ended up being their first Entered Apprentice, their first Fellowcraft, and the first Master Mason raised here.
CFM: You’re also an Anniversary Level donor to the California Masonic Foundation. Why do you choose to give back through the Foundation?
ESJ: I get to see firsthand what the Foundation does, not only for the residents here, but for Masonry in general. I may not have much, but I’m happy to give what I can.
CFM: What’s it like being part of a lodge on campus?
DY: I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many amazing people here. My greatest accomplishment was being installed as master of the lodge. To have my family, my friends, and the residents there providing their love and support was one of the greatest moments of my life.
CFM: What would you say Masonry has meant to you in your life?
ESJ: I went through a rough patch growing up, then was able to get my life together with the help of family and friends. But there was still a big hole inside. The Masons, and especially the brothers of Destiny Lodge, have shown me what true friendship and brotherhood are all about, and I will forever be grateful for that. I always tell people I’m not necessarily proud of where I came from, but very proud of where I am now. And now I look to pass that mindset on to others. —Justin Japitana