Sir Knight James R. Burns, III
Grand Commander of Knights Templar of Kansas
It is indeed my privilege and great honor to serve the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Kansas as your Right Eminent Grand Commander for the 2017-2018 term.
Born in Franklin, Pennsylvania in 1945 and growing up on a farm in Western Pennsylvania, I now represent the third generation of Masons serving our fraternity within my family. Married in 1968 in Mineral Wells, Texas, Marie and I have two grown children, Laura and Michael, and eight grandchildren that will always remain our pride and joy.
After four formative years, I graduated from Greenbrier Military School in Lewisburg, West Virginia in 1964. Here I proceeded through the ranks to the rank of Cadet Captain for Band Company my senior year, achieving the distinction of Honor Company and being selected as “Joe Cadet of the Year” within our cadet battalion.. In August of 1966 I started my military service as an enlisted man, graduating from the US Army Officers Candidate School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in October 1967 as a Second Lieutenant in Field Artillery. Next stop was Rotary Wing Flight School graduating in December of 1968 enroute to Vietnam. Here I served as a UH-1C Helicopter Gunship Pilot completing over 1100 hours of combat time during my tour. It was very rewarding to complete 30 years of active and reserve military service through a variety of progressive staff, command and advanced school assignments. In 1996 I retired with the rank of Colonel as Commander of a US Army Combat Aviation Group with units located in three different mid-western states. It was a very auspicious occasion for me to be inducted into the Field Artillery Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame in 1995. Indeed, it has been my extreme good fortune and high honor to serve with so many dedicated and devoted men and women of our armed forces over my military career.
Graduating from Cameron University in 1978 I worked for a variety of Fortune 500 companies as a sales/account executive. During my 26 year selling career, I worked with a variety of clients in the aerospace, automotive and consumer products industries. Retiring in 2002, I was privileged to qualify for numerous marketing achievement awards for quota performance over my selling career.
In 2007 I joined the Masonic Fraternity to begin my journey toward enlightenment. I steadily proceeded through the elected and appointed lodge positions to serve as Master of Olathe Lodge #19 in 2014 receiving the Master’s Achievement Award that year along with our lodge being recognized by the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of A.F. & A.M. of Kansas for ritual proficiency by receiving the Trice-Robinson Award as well. Somewhat parallel to this process I joined the appendant bodies of York Rite Masonry of Kansas and the Valley of Northeast Kansas (NEV) Scottish Rite, Orient of Kansas. Here I was elected to serve as Chapter High Priest, Council Illustrious Master and Commandery Eminent Commander of the Olathe York Rite Bodies. In 2016 I had the distinct honor of being selected for induction into the York Rite Cross of Honor. Currently, I am serving as NEV Venerable Master of the Knights of St. Andrew and Commander, Council Knights of Kadosh for the 30th Degree.
In 2015 I was selected to serve the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Kansas as Grand Junior Steward with subsequent appointments to serve as a District Deputy Grand Master from 2016-2018. It has been a true honor to be recognized for admission into the Past Commanders Association, Order of High Priesthood, Order of the Silver Trowel, Holy Royal Arch Knights Templar Priests, Knights of the Red Cross of Constantine and York Rite College #125 over the recent years.
Life has been good, the journey challenging and rewarding with many blessings and opportunities bestowed upon this Journeyman, Companion and Sir Knight over the years. I look forward to serving you and the constituent Commanderies of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Kansas going forward.