Nick Slusher

I have been told stories by my father about the virtues Masons exhibit.  I was told about my grandfather, who had friends all over the world.  I was told of the brotherhood, of equals leading each other to more moral lives.  It wasn’t until my third year in college that I realized Masonry was a path I could pursue.  The Patriot Lodge told me of the shared bond of Masons across the world, all working toward improving the virtues and goals they already share. When I got the opportunity to meet the men of the lodge, I found a group of good-willed, welcoming men who were my age, younger and older. Since joining I’ve only grown in my drive to become a better man, and to use the gifts inherent to me to better my community.  I’ve grown in patience, both for myself and others.  I’ve found an inner drive to learn and to succeed where I was once okay with skating by.  I’ve found friends across the state, and overseas as well, and I am excited to meet new guests to The Patriot Lodge, standing where I stood less than two years ago.  I strongly encourage anyone who is interested in understanding Freemasonry to come visit.  It’s not something I truly understood until I saw it in action.

Ben Merola

I was a freshman when I first came to Patriot lodge, I didn’t know what to expect. To my knowledge, no one in my family was a freemason before me, and I was in the dark on what I “should” do. I was making my own way. Understandably, I was a bit nervous walking in my first time, but that went away a bit once I met the members of the lodge. Guys with a sense of humor, kind hearts, and good moral compasses were who greeted me at the door. The bond they had was apparent in the way they talked and related to each other. My initial curiosity for the lodge was sparked by intentions of self-improvement, service, finding a community I wanted to be a part of, and discovering the mysteries and secrets that Freemasonry held.

I had no idea the world of wonder this really was and how great it was going to be. Just like anything, I’ve found you have to put in work, but the rewards have really been timeless jewels for me, in all areas of my life. If you’re reading this and thinking about joining, Freemasonry at Patriot entails: lodge work, socializing and community, individual work, community service, and actually bettering yourself instead of meandering your way through college, while also being loads of fun. 

Ben Merola is a GMU junior, pursuing a business degree with a specialty in marketing.He is an officer of the lodge.

JP Benitez

It has been one of the greatest prides in my life to have discovered and been a part of The Patriot Lodge No. 1957 while being an undergrad at George Mason University. I got the opportunity to be acquainted with many friends and mentors. I am appreciative and grateful for being received into the Craft and having strangers turned brothers aid me in chiseling away at some of my imperfections. For me, The Patriot Lodge has been filled by an excellent atmosphere and band of individuals who have participated in shaping the man that I have become. Although it is a small lodge, compared to the vast history and tradition of Masonry in Virginia and the world at large, it has produced a significant impression on my life.

The Patriot Lodge has a great ambition of bringing light to a youthful generation. Although this undertaking can at times be challenging, with the zealous brothers, they continue to accomplish the Lodge’s aim of bringing about wonderful things to the community we committed ourselves to, that being George Mason University, and to our Masonic locality. I do not believe there is any way to fully express my gratitude to the Lodge and its members for everything it has done for me personally and masonicly;, however, I try by continuously being the embodiment of the great principles I was entrusted to receive.   

JP Benitez joined the Patriot Lodge and soon rose to be Master of the Lodge. He went on to study at Brooklyn Law School in New York City.

Guy Barnes

“Intellect is to the people and the people’s Force, what the slender needle of the compass is to the ship – its soul, always counselling the huge mass of wood and iron, and always pointing to the north.”

Albert Pike

When I think about who I surround myself with, I imagine being on a ship in the middle of sea. Everyone one on the ship must be caring, reliable, trust worthy, and understanding; like a brother. They must be willing to step up and take care of the ship, everyone else, and, at times, me.

Being a member of The Patriot Lodge has filled my ship with true brothers. Each one of us has a task and we all stand together. I strive to be a better man when I am with them, and I know they do the same. To me this is what the Lodge is, it is surrounding myself with good men that help me navigate the deep blue sea.

Guy Barnes affiliated with The Patriot Lodge after he enrolled at GMU, having served as a combat infantryman in Iraq. He went on to study international relations with a specialty in the Middle East and a sub-specialty in tribal relations at the University of Saint Andrews in Scotland.

Fred Edwards

Freemasonry has fundamentally changed the way I approach the world. I didn’t know much about it before joining, beyond that a significant number of prominent people throughout history have been Masons, but I had been involved in Greek life as well as numerous clubs and organizations. After joining, I immediately found a place to belong within the craft.

Freemasonry has provided two features that have been crucial to my development as a man. First, I have found a unique camaraderie within the four walls of the lodge. Not only am I surrounded by individuals more experienced and wiser than myself that I can learn from, but I have also made some of the best friendships of my life through Freemasonry.

Second, we use ancient tools, symbols, metaphors, and allegories to better understand the world and improve ourselves in it. We are always striving to be better than we were the day before, and similarly to going to Church, being involved in Freemasonry helps to keep a person on a virtuous and moral path.

The lessons I have learned through Freemasonry are invaluable and have helped me to be a better person in my personal and professional lives. With such emphasis on being the best person you can be, it is no wonder that many prominent figures in history have turned out to be Masons!

Fred Edwards, joined the Patriot Lodge and went on to get his Law Degree at American University. He practices real estate in Fredericksburg, VA.