CANTON — Many people don’t think of that voice on the other end of the line, the one that is there, only when you need it, when there is an emergency, when you don’t know where else to turn, the one that answers, “9-1-1.”
But on Friday, members of the St. Lawrence District Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons of the State of New York showed their gratitude for the members of the St. Lawrence County Emergency Services and the dispatchers who answer those emergency calls.
St. Lawrence District Masons District Deputy Grand Master Mark E. Ayen of DePeyster Lodge -573 stood outside the county Public Safety Complex on Friday morning with Phil A. Spadaccini, the Grand Lodge Staff Officer from the Waddington Lodge -393.
The two men came armed with pizzas, bread sticks and wings and donning face masks that read “New York Masons Care.”
“We decided that the emergency services here, you don’t hear very much going on for them at any one time and they are a pretty important thing and they pretty well do every thing for the whole county,” Mr. Ayen said. “So I had a meeting of all my masters from the 11 lodges of St. Lawrence County and us masons thought that we would help them out with their lunch and give them a meal for their hard work.
While Mr. Ayen and Mr. Spadaccini were delivering food to the office in Canton, other members delivered food to the Massena location, Mr. Ayen said.
Deliveries of food were made for each of the shifts. In Canton they were at 11 a.m., 4 p.m. and 11 p.m., in Massena, 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
“We’re the oldest fraternal organization in the world. This is what we do, as an external organization,” Mr. Spadaccini said. “We treat people like we like to be treated ourselves and reach out to people in need. We see people all over doing meals to doctors, nurses, hospitals, so we thought nobody has done anything for emergency services, so it’s kind of why we’re here.”
The men gave a tip of the cap to County Assistant Administrator Dylan Soper for organizing the food pickup and doing most of the legwork.
Mr. Soper said that he was glad to assist in recognizing a department that may not get the glory it deserves for the work it does.
“I think there are a lot of people at home, not able to go to their jobs right now, and these people are still here, every day, working hard and, through all of this, I think a little bit of appreciation goes a long way,” Mr. Soper said. “It lets them know that organizations like the masons are thinking of them, the public is thinking of them and as they continue to work through when a lot of people are not currently working.”
As the two masons dropped the food off, they thanked Emergency Services Director Matthew R. Denner.
Mr. Denner said this kind of recognition is wonderful for his dispatchers who he said work around the clock.
“A lot of people forget that they are there, you know, and nobody realizes they are there until they finally need them and they call 9-1-1, so it is good that organizations like this do recognize the men and women in dispatch.
“St. Lawrence County is really good. I’ve lived here my whole life and organizations like this? They’re not the only ones,” Mr. Denner said. “We help out each other, like in the fire service, if one part of the county needs something, everyone in the whole county steps up to help and that is what it is like to be in St. Lawrence County.”