Cairns Freemason Alan Sims says he was gob smacked when he found out that he was one of four Freemasons in Queensland to be awarded the prestigious Order of Service to Benevolence (OSB) jewel in the last year.
Presented by the immediate past Grand Master Paul Holland, Alan says he never expected the recognition.
“I get a lot of satisfaction from doing community work, I see it as living out our Masonic values. I am so honoured to receive an OSB,” Alan said.
“I’ve been volunteering and supporting the community for over 30 years.”
Initiated into Murray Lodge in November 1983, Alan was a regular volunteer at the Carpentaria Freemasons Homes at Whitfield. He drove the bus taking residents on outings as well as men’s group BBQs.
In the mid-1980s he was a Member and later president of the Masonic Debutant Ball Committee. He was also on the Fete Committee and took a hands-on approach with setting up these events.
A devastating workplace accident, the Cairns’ propane gas explosion, which made headlines in August 1987, left Alan unable to return to paid work. After a period of recovery, Alan counted his blessings and decided to dedicate himself to his community work.
“I spent so much time at the Freemasons Homes and Retirement Village that a lot of the residents thought I was on the payroll,” he said.
For the past 20 years, Alan (through Murray Lodge) has supported the Royal Flying Doctor Service after two personal incidents gave him new perspective of their lifesaving work. To this day, Alan is overcome with emotion when recalling their efforts.
“The RFDS plane was tied up for about 18 hours to save my Grandson. Then a few years later the RFDS went up to the Gulf where my son was in bad shape with Sepsis. He was within an hour of not being with us when they arrived.”
Over the years, Alan, Murray Lodge and Hand Heart Pocket have given $55,000 to the RFDS for vital equipment.
Alan is also the Hand Heart Pocket Champion for the Cairns region, helping Lodges and Members understand how they can access HHP’s programs for their community.
You can also find Alan volunteering at the COUCH Cancer Wellness Centre in Cairns, helping to keep the gardens tidy and lush.
He and his wife Helen also organise outings for fellow residents at the retirement village where they live, with Alan being the volunteer bus driver.
Within Freemasonry, Alan has served as Master of Murray Lodge several times over the years and has also been a District Grand DC for four years and a District Grand Junior and Senior Warden.
Congratulations Alan on your well-deserved recognition. You are an example to us all.
Freemasons Mike Aldrich, David Roberts and David Hall were also announced as OSB jewel recipients in the most recent round of announcements. We will bring you their stories of community service over the coming months.
Photo: Alan Sims was awarded the prestigious Order of Service to Benevolence (OSB) jewel in 2022.