On June 23, Past Imperial Potentate Nick Thomas was inducted into the DeMolay Hall of Fame, in Louisville, Ky. The honor is especially well- deserved, given the 60-plus years Imperial Sir Thomas has devoted to Masonry.
“To be inducted into the DeMolay Hall of Fame takes a special individual who has succeeded in all avenues of life,” said Jeffery Kitzmiller, executive director of DeMolay International. “Given all the contributions Imperial Sir Thomas has made to his brotherhood and philanthropy, I cannot think of anybody more deserving of this honor.”
DeMolay is a community-based international organization for young men ages 12-21, which emphasizes leadership skills and character-building within a program of social, sports, and community service activities. The organization is modeled after Freemasonry and has more than 1,000 chapters worldwide. The founder of DeMolay was Frank S. Land, a Past Imperial Potentate and personal friend of Noble Harry S. Truman.
For Thomas, of Fontana, Calif., DeMolay was the beginning of his journey to becoming a Shriner.
“I was 14 years old and my father, who was a Mason, had to practically drag me to my first DeMolay meeting,” recalled Thomas. “I’m glad he did because it was one of the biggest turning points of my life.”
In 1950, Thomas was initiated into the Fontana Chapter of DeMolay. He is a Past Master Councilor of the Fontana Chapter of the Order of DeMolay, and was awarded the Legion of Honor and Chevalier Degree from DeMolay.
Thomas served in the U.S. Air Force Reserves for 10 years and was raised a Master Mason at Fontana Lodge #653 after his honorable discharge in 1964. He is a Past Master of Fontana Lodge and a 2000 Hiram Award winner. Thomas is a member of the Scottish Rite and York Rite bodies and holds the honorary 33rd degree from the Scottish Rite.
In 1966, Thomas joined Al Malaikah Shriners in Los Angeles. He was chairman of the Imperial Membership Committee from 2001-2006, and also served as chairman of the Imperial Athletic Committee from 1996-2006. Thomas served as Imperial Potentate in 2006-2007 and as Imperial Recorder in 2009-2010. Currently, he serves as chairman for the International Development and East-West Shrine Game® Committees.
During the induction, representatives of DeMolay presented Thomas with a video on his life and a bronze plaque. Michael E. Berry, President and CEO of the Kentucky Derby Festival, was also inducted into the DeMolay of Hall of Fame. Thomas and Berry are part of a unique group of people deserving of respect and emulation. Past inductees include Chairman of the Board of Trustees Doug Maxwell, Past Imperial Potentate Raoul Frevel, Noble John Wayne, Noble Mel Blanc, Bill Clinton and Walt Disney.
The event was an emotional and memorable one for Thomas.
“Being a member of our Masonic family has been an incredible journey that all started kneeling at the altar of my DeMolay Chapter,” said Thomas. I can’t thank the DeMolay enough for all the friendships and making me the person that I am today.”
DeMolay is an organization dedicated to preparing young men to lead successful, happy, and productive lives. Basing its approach on timeless principles and practical, hands-on experience, DeMolay opens doors for young men aged 12 to 21 by developing the civic awareness, personal responsibility and leadership skills so vitally needed in society today. DeMolay combines this serious mission with a fun approach that builds important bonds of friendship among members in more than 1,000 chapters worldwide.
About Shriners International
Shriners International is a fraternity based on fun,fellowship and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief and truth. There are approximately 310,000 members throughout the world. Learn more about joining Shriners International at www.beashrinernow.com.