Inspector and Past Master Hercules Valdez shares how family and travels have shaped his commitment to education, Masonry, and charitable giving.
Hercules Valdez has never taken education for granted. He grew up in the Philippines among 10 brothers and sisters. “Coming from a huge family, going to school and finishing college was hard,” he says.
He relied on the generosity of relatives and several scholarship programs for the financial support he needed to attend college. He went on to spend nearly a decade traveling throughout Africa as a Catholic missionary priest. There, he saw scores of young boys and girls who would never even have a chance to gain an education or have a better life.
So in 2013, when Grand Lodge asked Valdez to join a Public Schools Advisory Council (PSAC), to help build partnerships with local schools and lead the fraternity’s Investment in Success scholarship program, he immediately knew he’d found his niche. “I said yes, certainly,” he says. By then, he had settled in the San Francisco Bay Area, found Freemasonry, and was serving as master of Crocker Lodge No. 212. “I think education should be a right, not a privilege,” he says.
In addition to serving as a PSAC member and district inspector, Valdez shows his support for California Masonry by giving each year to the Annual Fund. And, he encourages others to follow his footsteps.
“It’s a very sublime principle in life – to share,” he says, emphasizing that a “meaningful gift” can vary from donor to donor. “If you give even if you have very little, it’s genuine.”
He continues, “We have a lot of philosophical teachings in Masonry, but they would be useless if we didn’t apply them. Fundraising for schools and scholarships is one of the big things we do. I benefitted from scholarship programs in my past, and it’s my duty to give also.”
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