Masons welcome soldier, one of their own, home
Sgt. Daniel Dunlap of Oak Bluffs received a special welcome home on June 14 with a public Masonic procession. The officers of Oriental-Martha's Vineyard Lodge turned out in tuxedos and full Masonic regalia at the Steamship Authority (SSA) landing in Vineyard Haven, together with other members and their families, to greet Sergeant Dunlap, a brother Mason.
The special Masonic procession was a first on the Island, according to Lodge Master Bruce Nevin. Since public processions in regalia are permitted only for funerals and for attendance at a religious worship service, he requested and received dispensation from the Grand Lodge in Boston for the event.
Sergeant Dunlap, known by the nickname "Cuzy," came down the ferry ramp as the first disembarking passenger at 9:15 pm, courtesy of the SSA crew, where he was greeted with embraces and rounds of applause.
That afternoon, the officers of the Lodge had been newly installed in their stations for the 2008-09 Masonic year in a ceremony attended by friends and family. Robert C. Corr, a seasonal Vineyard Haven resident, made a trip from Boston to install the officers.
District Deputy Grand Master David A. Nailor of Cotuit and his suite of officers for the 20th Masonic District in Massachusetts also attended the event. The installation was followed by a dinner in the social hall of the lodge on Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road.
Sergeant Dunlap joined the lodge in 2007. Last June he was deployed for a one-year tour in Iraq as a member of the 237th Military Police Company, attached to the New Hampshire National Guard, based in Concord. As a military police officer, he helped the Iraqi police force train its officers, and spent many missions patrolling the streets in Baghdad.
Sergeant Dunlap arrived home in time to spend Father's Day with his 15-year-old son, Luke, who had a travel soccer game that day with a regional high school team. A few days later, Sergeant Dunlap joined his wife Luane in Venice, Fla., where they will spend the summer. He receives 90 days' leave after finishing his overseas tour.
Photo by Matthew Stamas
In a phone call yesterday, Sergeant Dunlap said he has two grandchildren that he hasn't seen, who were born while he was gone. He and his wife plan to visit his daughter in Jacksonville, Fla., and his oldest son in Chicago to see the new baby boys.
Mr. Nevin said that Sergeant Dunlap mentioned that some of the Iraqi police called him "Jinju," meaning "grandfather," while he worked with them.
Although a carpenter by trade, Sergeant Dunlap has applied to the Dukes County Sheriff's Department to become a correctional officer when he returns to the Island in the fall.