Hometown: Toronto, SD 

What keeps you in Sioux Falls? I can’t think of any place better to live. The seasons are great (except for several weeks in January and February). The community offers all the amenities Sue and I enjoy. And most important, our family is in town. Our grandsons are 15 and 11 and very active so we have plenty of opportunities to watch them participate. 

Who was your Masonic sponsor, when did you join, and why did you become a Master Mason? I became a Master Mason in early 1997 at one of the initial 2-day masonic festivals. I believe my sponsor was Doug Pederson. I was also a member of the Elks at that time and had several friends who were Masons and Shriners and encouraged me to join. 

Who was your Shrine sponsor, when did you join, and why did you become a Shriner? Doug Pederson was also my Shrine sponsor. I joined during the 1997 Spring Ceremonial during Doug’s year as Potentate. Bob Fredrickson and Bob Bucknell were additional influences. Both were in
the Oriental Band and for some reason thought I might be a good fit. 

What is your favorite part of being a Masonic Shriner? Knowing that what we do makes a huge difference in the lives of Children and their families.

What units and clubs have you been and/or currently are a member? My first unit was the Oriental Band. By the time the Circus came around the following year, Jeff Lacey recruited me to be his “understudy” on the concessions committee. That was an education! Currently, I am a member of the Steel Drum Unit. 

Tell us about when and how you were chosen for your role with the Shrine as Unit and Club Support: I had retired from structural engineering in August 2018. Not long thereafter I learned Gary Smith was retiring from the position, so I decided (with encouragement from my wife) to throw my hat in the ring. I was interviewed by Potentate Maury Richard and Chief Rabban John Whitelock. They must have seen something because I was offered the position. I was fortunate to have been mentored for two months by Gary as I soon came to learn the job entailed many duties and responsibilities of which I was unaware. His guidance was invaluable.

What has been your experience this far? Surprises? Exciting incidents? I can sum up my experience as a Shriner in one word – REWARDING. Nearly every day brings a new surprise, but one that continues to stand out is the commitment demonstrated daily in a myriad of ways by all members of El Riad to our philanthropy and fraternity 

What committees and roles have you been a part of over the years? And what was your favorite memory? I already mentioned my involvement on the Circus Committee. It’s a ton of work and you question how you will make it through nine shows but in the end it’s worth every minute. And, seeing the arena filled with smiling kids waving their new lightsaber and having fun is what it’s all about. 

What does your lady think about your membership? She is fully supportive of my Shrine membership and encourages my involvement in its activities. 

What has been your involvement with the shrine and its units/committees meant to you? It has provided me an outlet to give back to society and offered the opportunity to develop lifelong friendships.  

Describe El Riad Shrine in five words: Rewarding, Philanthropy, Fellowship, Friendship and Fun! 

What would you tell Shriners and their families about joining our family, fraternity and philanthropy? It will be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do outside your family obligations. 

What else would you like to share with our Cactus readers? Find a unit or club and get involved. That’s where friendships and relationships are formed that will last a lifetime.

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