The seasons must be changing now that our summer Midwest Shrine Association session has come and gone. El Riad had a strong turnout of nobles and ladies attend the events in Aberdeen in early August, and we had the highest number of participants as is typical for our temple. We had great participation in the parades and were blessed with good parade weather. And, El Riad enjoyed great success in the unit competitions once again. A rainy Friday morning limited motorized competition, but we found Motor Corps nobles Tom Anderson and Dave Murphy posting a second-place finish in the two-wheel obstacle course, and the Sprint Car Unit finishing in first place in the four-wheel obstacle course. The Chanters brought home gold with a score of 201 of 210. And, our Clown Unit cleaned up most of the awards by placing in 16 of 23 events with a majority of first and second place finishes. As usual, our entire delegation of units, clubs and ladies went the extra mile to represent El Riad in the El Riad tradition. My sincere thanks for a successful session go out to the two nobles who made all the arrangements for MSA and got everything off the ground and running, those two being none other than Chief of Staff Larry “Fluffy” Miller and Assistant Chief Aaron Zahn. Chief Potentate’s Aide Paul Berndt and his outstanding staff provided a great Oasis (with tiger meat and braunschweiger spread), plus doing double duty by providing a parking lot beverage service for the Horse Corps folks. Also, truly important in making MSA successful but always working in the background are Bruce Wallin PP, Gail Gustafson, Kent “Augie” Quail and Joel Baker, who handle details of every session that are really important to the organization of the event and to the fun we have. And last but not least, my sincere appreciation to the units and clubs who made the trek to Aberdeen. You helped us shine.
A particular El Riad noble who stepped up in Aberdeen when it really counted was Stop Burns Coordinator Dave Murphy, a volunteer firefighter and EMT. Dave quickly reacted to provide medical assistance to a spectator who was injured during a parade mishap. Dave, simply thank you for what you do for us and in your everyday life.
My last bit of MSA comments go out to the Horse Corps. They graciously hauled me up top on the stagecoach through two parades, and I had a great time. However, whether intentional or accidental, Tim Boysen did his best to get me in trouble with the Imperial Potentate by giving me free reign to fire the shotgun as much as I wanted during the Thursday parade. Unbeknownst to me at the time (and to Tim as he claims), guns cannot be fired during a Shrine parade, even though I ripped one off directly in front of the entire Imperial line. Due to the quick intervention of Dave Neiman PP and my street legal counsel John Archer PP, I survived to ride another day, albeit a quiet day.
Onto other news. The annual Shrine football game at Augustana University comes up quickly on September 21. Nobles will once again be asked to purchase the football tickets they receive in the mail. The football game is one of two El Riad fundraisers wherein the money raised goes directly to Shriners Hospitals for Children and the El Riad transportation fund. Unfortunately, purchase of football tickets by the El Riad nobility suffers from indifference and low participation. My fellow nobles, as members of the Shrine fraternity we have the obligation to support our philanthropy. Only $5 of a noble’s annual dues in any temple goes to the hospital system. That is not enough money to provide critical healthcare that costs over $700 million per year. We have an obligation as Shriners support our charity and raise the funds for the KIDS THAT NEED OUR HELP. We can’t have a successful charity without the help of the fraternity’s members. Are you ready to step up and give? It doesn’t hurt and is not expensive. You can purchase all four tickets you receive, or if you prefer, you can purchase only the number you want. Maybe you won’t attend the game or the Oasis, but you will still be aiding the KIDS THAT NEED OUR HELP. Can I count on you to be one of those new givers?
Lastly, a note about a person whom we all know and greatly appreciate. Noble and Dr. Ken Guidera previously served as Chief of Staff of the SHC-Twin Cities Hospital and made many appearances at El Riad. A few years ago, he was appointed as the Chief Medical Officer for the Shriners Hospital for Children healthcare system. At the Imperial Session in Nashville, Dr, Guidera announced his retirement as Chief Medical Officer. It was a sad time for those of us who heard his announcement on Monday of that week. However, later in the week he surprised us when he announced that he will be running in 2020 for a seat on the Board of Trustees of Shriners Hospitals for Children. The Board of Trustees operates our entire healthcare system of hospitals and clinics. This is a vital position and one that if Dr. Guidera is elected, he is someone we know and can talk to. I wish Dr. Guidera the best of luck, and I know that the entire El Riad Divan will support him in his efforts to become a Trustee.
But for the Shrine, we wouldn’t know the people we know, we wouldn’t have the fun that we enjoy, nor would there be a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when we see a child that we have helped.
John Whitelock, Potentate