The Gourgas Medal, the most distinguished honor conferred by the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite, NMJ, was awarded on October 6, 2021 to Ill. Sammy Lee Davis, 33°. Brother Davis, 33°, is a military hero who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery in the Vietnam War. While serving a private first class in Cai Lay, Brother Davis performed an extraordinary act of bravery by saving three American soldiers from an enemy barrage. Despite having a broken back, a perforated kidney, and multiple other gunshot wounds, Brother Davis summoned the strength to swim across a river amidst a battle with 1,500 enemy soldiers and carry three of his fellow Americans back to safety.

The award was presented by former Sovereign Grand Commander, Ill. John Wm. McNaughton, 33°, at the Valley of Indianapolis. The medal is named in honor of John James Joseph Gourgas, 33°, the founder of our Supreme Council, and known to the Craft as the "Conservator” of Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.

L to R: Former Sovereign Grand Commander John Wm. McNaughton, Brother Davis, and his wife Dixie

Brother Davis was also honored by the Scottish Rite, NMJ in 2018 when the Sammy Lee Davis, 33°, Defender of Peace and Freedom Recognition Program for Veterans was established. The recognition is offered to NMJ members honorably discharged from the United States Military or Uniformed Services. You can learn more about the program here.

Also in 2018, the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite, NMJ conferred the Daniel Tompkins Medal on Brother Davis for outstanding and exemplary service to his country and the Masonic fraternity at large. The Tompkins Medal allows the Scottish Rite to honor distinguished contributions not often witnessed by the general membership.

The Gourgas Medal may be conferred by the Supreme Council, (or by the Sovereign Grand Commander) upon a member of our Jurisdiction, or of any other Jurisdiction with which we are in amity, in recognition of notably distinguished service in the cause of Freemasonry, country or humanity. Learn more about Ill. John James Joseph Gourgas, 33°.

Congratulations to our most distinguished Brother! You can learn more about Brother Davis and his incredible heroism in this video.