Worthwhile Work

Words: Bronzella ClevelandPaul Odom, MCAA Chairman Susie and I joined fellow masons at the Grove Park Inn in North Carolina for the North Carolina Masonry Association’sannual convention.  What a beautiful, MASONRY hotel!  NCMCA is great group of people that make up a fabulous organization. We always feel welcomed with true southern hospitality.  We both thank you so much for including us.  The great things you guys accomplish is an example of why associations are so important.  They recently added Ryan Shaver to fill their newly created position of Workforce Development and Training Coordinator.  The large attendance at your events shows how your organization is thought of on the local level. On May 14th, approximately 35 of us met in DC for our Legislative Conference.  We started early Tuesday morning on a long bus ride to Jefferson’s Home, Monticello, in Charlottesville, Virginia.  We had a private tour of the house including all three flours of the home.  It was interesting to see some of the ideas that Jefferson had.  Monticello was completed in 1809.   Almost 300,000 brick were made on site to build it.  After the tour, we had the privilege to listen to the master brick mason for the Jefferson Foundation.  He discussed the materials used in making the brick and discussed how he replicated them for use on the home when a repair was needed.  However, he did say that they haven’t used very many at all.  We all know how sustainable brick is.  The bus ride home was much longer.  Thank heavens Jeff brought a movie to entertain us!!  We went directly to a reception hosted by the Keelen Group. Wednesday morning everyone was dressed up and met early at Bullfeathers for breakfast.  Steve Borg was there to share the final schedules for the visits and brief everyone on the position papers we were sharing with our Congressman.  MAC PAC donors were acknowledged for their donations and all received a pin/award based on the level of donation.  This money is used to support election and re-election efforts of candidates who have been supportive of masonry industry positions.  These dollars help us make an impact in DC.  I thank each of you for giving to MAC PAC.   Your hard-earned dollars truly do make a difference. We visited approximately 150 offices Wednesday and Thursday morning.  In addition, the group had a total of 15 fundraisers to attend.  We gave 3 MCAA Freedom and Prosperity Awards to Congressman Daniel Lipinski of Illinois, Congresswoman Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, and Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri.  To say we were busy is an understatement, but I strongly believe it is a worthwhile endeavor.  The Keelen Group works very hard to get our meetings set up with each of the representatives.  It’s a great way to get to know them and tell them of the issues affecting you in your area. These are position papers that we shard with each office: Workforce Development, Misclassification of Employees, Guest Worker Program, Opposition to the Timber Innovation Act, Check-Off Program for the Concrete Masonry Industry and The Brick Act. Congressional tours were available for spouses at The Library of Congress, the US Botanical Gardens and The Holocaust Museum. Thanks to Steve Borg for all your planning. Even though the days were long, Susie and I always looked forward to meeting everyone back in the hotel lobby for a visit.  We love seeing all of our MCAA friends and the Capitol Hill Hotel is a wonderful location and the lobby is great to meet friends.  Thank you all for taking time out of your busy schedules for this is important event. Paul
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