Let me begin by saying that I am very humbled and honored to serve as your Potentate for 2019. I vow to do my best and to try to live up to the expectations of the nobility as we continue the good works of our Shrine fraternity and philanthropy. Lady Ralynn and I look forward to 2019 and to working with a great leadership team and outstanding nobles and ladies that have a track record of always working hard to make El Riad great.

Your leadership team is committed to carrying forth the good works of Potentates and Divans that preceded us. However, ensuring the success of the Shrine is not just the responsibility of the leadership team. Rather, it’s about the entire nobility working together with common goals and in the same direction so that the temple continues to prosper. We are all in this together and must share the rewards as well as the failures. As such, I encourage each noble to communicate with the team should there be concerns or issues that might hinder our progress, or ideas that might propel us even further forward.

This year, our theme is “But for the Shrine.” These four words were spoken by a great man named Keith Rose some 10 years ago but those words still resonate today. They have given me a greater understanding of what it means to be a Shriner, and how the Shrine can change a noble’s life. These simple words have stayed with me ever since then and have held great meaning for me over the years. So, I believe it’s time once again to bring forth the message “But for the Shrine.” I’m hoping that these words will cause every noble to pause, reflect upon what these words mean and consider how their life has changed because of the Shrine, and how others’ lives have changed because of the Shrine. I also hope that these words will inspire all nobles, from the Old Guard to the new nobles, and will continue to spark the fire that we have in our hearts for our beloved Shrine.

I am very pleased to welcome Outer Guard Steve Haase as the newest member of the El Riad Leadership Team. And, I extend hearty congratulations to George Hamilton as the In-Town Shriner of the Year; and Greg Bailey as the Out-of-Town Shriner of the Year. Well-deserved gentlemen. Your contributions to El Riad are priceless.

In trying to keep this short, let me relay just one final but important thought. Our membership would not enjoy the success we have achieved if not for the support, encouragement, and hard work of our ladies. Whether the ladies actually help the nobles do the work in the unit or club, or whether the ladies provide the “tolerance” necessary for our nobles to be able to participate, every lady’s contribution is another reason that we have been blessed with success. Ladies, we couldn’t do it without you!


John Whitelock
2019 Potentate, El Riad Shrine

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