Royal Neighbors has a rich history, steeped in tradition and ritual. In this issue, we celebrate one employee who has been a part of that history for more than 50 years. Candy Reid, who retired last month, started as an employee of the Society in 1968. She was one of the last active employees to have participated in the Home Office Drill Team, which performed the ritual ceremonies of Royal Neighbors.
Since the inception of Royal Neighbors through the 1990s, the floor work performed by the drill team was a fundamental part of Royal Neighbors meetings as a fraternal benefit society. “The floor work brought us together. It helped reinforce our shared mission and values,” Candy recalls.
Everyone took pride in the ceremony, whether they were marching or just watching. “We were very well trained, so the Society loved showing us off when agents or field managers would visit the Home Office,” says Candy. “We took pride in doing it right. And it was very serious – you didn’t dare step out of line,” she laughs. “The same people must have watched us perform a dozen times, but they always seemed happy to gather around again and again.”
As part of the ritual, the drill team would march with five banners, representing the five Graces of Royal Neighbors – Faith, Unselfishness, Courage, Endurance, and Modesty – and recite a declaration about each principle. Over the years, Candy has found great comfort in these founding principles, “I see the five Graces as a way of life, and I believe they don’t just ring true to me, but to a lot of people.”