The Commandery of the Sierras
When Chevalier Brooks Mancini moved from San Jose CA to Reno NV in 2004, one of the things he missed most was his association with the St. Joseph Commandery where he was invested in 2001 and served as treasurer in 2003. With the help of Knights and Dames in other Commanderies, he started a Commandery in Reno which invested its first members in 2007 and named itself the Commandery of the Sierras.
Since that first investiture, the Commandery of the Sierras has flourished while reaching out to the greater Reno community with philanthropic work that helps the sick and the poor. The Commandery has donated more than $110,000 over the years to a variety of local charities. Early on the Commandery developed and trademarked its flagship fundraiser Reno City Lights which now occurs the first week of December every other year. Kicking off the holiday season, this festive gala has become a tradition that is eagerly anticipated by Reno party goers from year to year. The eclectic choices of venues have included the penthouses of the Palladio on the river downtown, the historic Rancharrah estate, the state-of-the-art Dolan Lexus entertainment loggia and the Fred W. Smith Penthouse at the Nevada Museum of Art.
Under the leadership of the Almoner, Knights and Dames of the Commandery propose potential charities as the beneficiary of RCL. Then, using a matrix of qualities that could contribute to the success of the event, the Commandery ranks and selects one as the recipient for that year. Charities who have been chosen include the Children’s Cabinet, Crisis Call Center, the Assistance League, the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Renown’s pediatric wing, the Children’s Advocacy Center and the Veterans’ Guest House. Other charitable contributions not connected to RCL have been given to the Compassion Clinic, the Sheriff’s Walkabout Program, the Veteran’s Guest House in Palo Alto, CA, the Committee to Aid Abused Women (CAAW). Knights and Dames can also present charities they are giving to individually so the Commandery can consider donating matching funds.
The fellowship amongst Knights and Dames is enhanced by their monthly meetings which are usually held in individual homes where a light supper is enjoyed along with socializing and taking care of business. Strictly social events are also enjoyed from time to time and are also used for recruiting new members to the Commandery.
The Commandery is also well known for its energetic participation in events in other Commanderies and Priories as well as on the international scene. On a percentage basis, the Commandery of the Sierras is often the highest in attendance at gatherings such as the Sovereign Council Meeting in Malta and the post tour in Sicily and Italy. More than half the Commandery participated in the recent Sovereign Council Meeting in Cleveland as well as the post tour to Eastern Canada. In addition, Knights and Dames frequently enjoy events in nearby Commanderies in California and Vancouver BC.
By continuing to build relationships in the community, the Commandery of the Sierras has become more established in the Reno-Tahoe area. This will serve the group well as it strives to grow its membership and increase the amount of philanthropic work the Commandery can accomplish.