Masons thank law enforcement, emergency services professionals

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Blake Bowden, Feb 11, 2010.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

    A group of men and women working under difficult circumstances in an often thankless job heard a simple, but heartfelt thanks from members of a local organization Tuesday.

    "We are very appreciative of the job you do every day," said Kevin Combs, master of the lodge for the Masons.
    The Masons hosted an appreciation dinner Tuesday night to honor local law enforcement and emergency services workers.

    Combs said those working in the profession were treated to an unusual show of respect and appreciation in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

    "Since then, people have become very apathetic about the job you do," he said.

    The Masons served up hot dogs, baked beans, chips and dessert to the various members of both law enforcement and emergency services.

    The Masons and guests also got a brief glimpse into a major investigation that led to threats against a local deputy.

    Bob Fromme, a retired Iredell County Sheriff's Office deputy and an instructor with the Combatting Terrorism Center, talked to the group about his investigation in a seemingly simple smuggling operation that led to a Hezbollah terrorist cell.

    It began in 1995, when Fromme was working a second job at a local business.

    He said he noticed a group of four men come into the store, and saw one was carrying a white grocery bag filled with cash.

    "I estimated it was $30,000 or $40,000," he said.

    An experienced narcotics investigator, Fromme immediately suspected narcotics dealers, and watched the four men.

    Three of the four men each bought 299 cartons of cigarettes, just under the 300 limit that would have prompted paperwork, Fromme said, and the fourth man paid for the cigarettes.

    A few days later, Fromme saw the same group repeat the purchases.

    His curiosity piqued, Fromme eventually contacted a friend with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. That friend believed it was a cigarette smuggling operation.

    Months of investigation later, the four were tied to a terrorist cell in Charlotte, and ultimately 25 people were charged. Five are still at large, and most of the others are serving federal prison sentences.

    During his investigation, Fromme came home to find two men in his house. They fled and were not apprehended.

    His wife was followed, as were his in-laws.

    It was a frightening time, he said, but one he feels good about being a part of.

    Not only did it lead to his current career, but his efforts and those of many others dismantled a potentially dangerous cell.

    Combs said Fromme's story was a reminder of how dangerous the job of law enforcement and emergency services can be and why those in the profession need to be appreciated.

    "We thank you," he said.

  2. Raven

    Raven Registered User

    An understated, Thank You!

Share My Freemasonry