By Adam Raider
Among the many bonds that Bob Bateman and his son, Gregg Bateman, share – familial, professional, Masonic – the two are also consistent and generous supporters of the Masonicare Annual Appeal.
Bob and his late wife, Susan, were co-founders of TYGOR Laboratories, a metallurgical testing laboratory in Milford, Connecticut. Now retired and living in Bernardston, Massachusetts, Bro. Bob is a Past District Deputy and Past Master of Orange Lodge No. 143. He has been giving to the Masonicare Annual Appeal since 1981.
Gregg is President of TYGOR Laboratories, having joined the firm in 2009 as Business Manager. He belongs to Ansantawae Lodge No. 89, Milford.
“I first became aware of Masonicare and the work of The Masonic Charity Foundation of Connecticut during the process of becoming a Mason,” Bob recalled. “What we now call the ‘Greatest Generation’ encouraged all of the new brothers to visit Masonicare Health Center. It’s been 40 years since that initial visit, but I know my impressions were favorable … and continue to be so.”
When Bob and Susan learned in 2006 that The Foundation was starting a giving society for donors contributing $520 or more to the Annual Appeal – the Masonicare Society – they decided that they wanted to be among the charter members of that group. Gregg joined the Masonicare Society six years later.
“Why did we give to the Annual Appeal? Because It was just a good and right thing to do,” Bob said. “But it also seemed like a way to support the organization in a subtle way that wouldn’t call a lot of attention to ourselves. That seemed to suit us. I would certainly like to think that my gifts to the Annual Appeal have helped improve the quality of life for the residents and patients of Masonicare. If I didn’t think that my contributions were being properly spent, I probably wouldn’t continue to give. But if you walk around the Masonicare campus in Wallingford, especially at the Health Center, there is every evidence that donor support is making life better for the individuals who live there.”
The Bateman family knows this from firsthand experience.
“My wife’s father was at the Health Center for several years and received fabulous care,” Bob said. “We could not have known when we first joined the Masonicare Society that anyone in our family would require Masonicare’s services. It wasn’t just our gifts that brought him joy and comfort, it was everybody’s.”
Gregg supports a number of worthy causes but lists the Masonicare Annual Appeal as his favorite because he believes that his gifts are having a greater impact.
“As my father has said, when you’re a Mason, you should want to do more than just support your lodge,” Gregg said. “Although everyone comes to the fraternity for a different reason, a large majority do so because they want to give something back. They want to be involved in charity, however they define that, through volunteerism or by making a donation.”
As a young person growing up, Gregg recalls getting to know many Masons through his father. They made a lasting impression on him by doing good deeds and bringing about positive changes in their communities.
“They set a good example,” Gregg said. “I am still motivated to live my life like that – to give back, do the right things and associate with people who feel the same way. I also look at giving to the Annual Appeal as continuing a tradition. The generation that came before us – Baby Boomers like my dad – taught us the virtue of charity. It’s exciting to see that it’s being passed on to the next generation of Masons, and I hope it continues.”