An agile hand of relief
Masonic Senior Outreach Services (MSOS) Care Manager
Esperanza Esparza describes her typical day as “not typical at
all.” She says, “It’s one of the reasons I love my job.”
Esparza deftly shifts from fieldwork with clients and family
members to completing complex government forms and negotiat-
ing with vendors. On any one day, she might call clients in other
states and make house calls throughout the California countryside.
In her two years with MSOS, Esparza has helped Masonic
seniors navigate many tough situations. From removing vulnerable members from unsafe environments or connecting them with
community resources, to helping homeless seniors find shelter, she
has been a conduit of Masonic relief, providing critical services.
“Most clients come to us during a crisis. Moving quickly
and efficiently is critical,” she explains. “We are dealing with
peoples’ lives and their health or safety may be compromised.”
The unexpected happens
Michael DeGinto’s crisis moment came swiftly and with heavy
consequences. A member of both Santa Monica-Palisades Lodge
No. 307 and Charity Lodge No. 190 in Jeffersonville, Pennsylvania,
DeGinto, sought thyroid treatment for years. Though ill health
loomed, he was able to cope, living a normal, productive life.
Then in 2009, doctors diagnosed DeGinto with nonal-
coholic steatohepatitis – also known as NASH disease – a
hereditary ailment that causes cirrhosis of the liver, with-
out drinking. His health declined dramatically. A common
symptom of NASH is swift drops in blood sugar. He began
to suddenly, unexpectedly fall asleep and
had to give up driving – it was no longer
safe. He couldn’t work and was laid off
from his job of 15 years at an electric sup-
ply company. Unemployment would take
six weeks to begin, and he had no savings.
DeGinto, who still lives in Pennsylvania,
reached out to Charity Lodge for relief. They
covered his rent and the local veterans’ hospital assumed his health care. Three years
later, he recovered his strength. But despite
his diverse skill set, finding a job proved
to be impossible. He was 59 years old and
needed ongoing care – in addition to NASH,
he’d developed degenerative osteoarthritis.
No one would hire him.
“When I applied for permanent disability,
I had 96 pages of medical records,” DeGinto
says. It took a full month for disability to
be approved and another few months for
payments to begin. With bills mounting, it
And, DeGinto didn’t just have his own
well-being to consider. During the three
years he received intensive treatment at the
VA hospital, his primary caregiver was his
son. Marcus, 24, put his life on hold to care
for his father. He was a dedicated volunteer
firefighter, but couldn’t commit to a full-time job while his father needed help.
A light in the darkness
A California Freemason magazine ad for
Masonic Outreach Services was their lifeline.
OUTREACH CARE MANAGERS
EMBODY FRATERNAL RELIEF,
BRIDGING DISTANCE WITH
FELLOWSHIP AND SUPPORT
By Michelle Simone
A LIFELINE, A