Time flies when you’re having fun. The years have flown by for me, and now is the time to step aside and welcome a new El Riad leadership for 2020 and years to come.
But, what a way to finish my role as Potentate than by having an outstanding ceremonial and bringing in new nobles to our fraternity. Second Ceremonial Master Don McCoy was spot-on with his preparation and presentation of our 286th ceremonial. Everyone that was involved, and you know who you are, made the event so special for me and so impressive for the candidates. Of special note was the performance of the Director’s Staff in its presentation of the Arch Degree. Their efforts produced an informative and moving history of Masonry, the Shrine fraternity and of Shriners Hospitals for Children that brought tears to the eyes of many in attendance. I sincerely hope that the Arch Degree continues to have a regular presence in ceremonials to come, because of its meaningful message it provides for the candidates and the nobility. Also, I commend the Highlanders for their excellent rendition of “Amazing Grace” during our annual necrology service. It put a fine finishing touch upon our mission to recognize and remember the nobles who have now gone on to join the Great Architect of the Universe. To everyone who was involved in the ceremonial, whether out front or in the background, you made my final ceremonial very memorable. I am very grateful to each of you.
My congratulations go out to Noble Joe Alick, for whom the 286th ceremonial was named. Joe is one of those nobles who work hard for El Riad behind the footlights but rarely get the recognition they deserve. Joe has been a very active noble for 52 years, and I am thankful for his contributions of time and talent over the decades to our fraternity and charity.
We have a great leadership team at El Riad, and I am grateful for their dedication and commitment to our mission, and for the support they lent to me during my term as Potentate. They made my job much easier, as did the past potentates who offered their counsel and guidance to me on many issues. Serving as the Potentate is not a one-man job. It requires the collaborative efforts of so many for us to be successful and continue doing what we do. I am confident that the men who follow me, as well as the men who preceded me, will ever be devoted to the continued success of El Riad.
Finally, I want to recognize Lady Ralynn. She has been my rock during my years on the leadership line. Her acceptance of what I got myself into; her tolerance of my many absences from home for countless meetings and trips; and the time she devoted to both my role and hers were invaluable to me and have made my experiences as a Shriner and as a member of leadership so much more rewarding and enjoyable. I couldn’t have done it without you.
Thank you for trusting me to serve as your Potentate. It has been a distinct honor and privilege for me. More importantly though, I will forever be grateful for the contributions of the nobility and ladies to the success of El Riad; for they are the true leaders and doers of this organization.
John Whitelock, Potentate
El Riad Shriners