Hometown: Sioux Falls
What keeps you in Sioux Falls? I have lived in smaller towns and bigger cities and Sioux Falls just always called me home.
Who was your Masonic sponsor, when did you join, and why did you become a Master Mason? John Archer, I became a Master Mason mostly because I wanted to be involved in things like the Shrine and what they do. As I learned, I became very attached to the Masonic Blue Lodge and wanted to keep learning what it means to be a Master Mason.
Who was your Shrine sponsor, when did you join, and why did you become a Shriner? Steve Veenhof. I joined the Shrine to spend time with some old friends that I had known most of my life. They were having fun and staying connected and I wanted to be a part of that.
What is your favorite part of being a Masonic Shriner? The friendships I have gained, I never thought that I’d get to know so many great people because of Blue Lodge and the Shrine.
What units and clubs have you been and/or currently are a member? Currently Oriental Band, Hillbillies 161, Ritualistic Unit, Football Committee and a Pote’s Aide
What committees and roles have you been a part of over the years? Football Committee
What has been your involvement with the shrine and its units/committees meant to you? The time I spend at the Shrine is a place were I learn to be a better friend, brother, father and husband while being involved.
How does your Lady feel about your Shrine involvement? Amy is very supportive. We have open conversations about the units and things I get involved with, she encourages me to continue and when I asked to take a day or two off, I am supportive and make sure she and kids get what they need from me too. She even has joined the Daughters of the Nile to make it a family affair.
Describe El Riad Shrine in five words: Family, Fun, Rewarding, Fulfilling and again FUN
I know your father recently became a Masonic Shriner, tell us about that and are you part of a Masonic Shrine legacy? When I signed my petition for Blue Lodge, we as family never talked about my grandfather and his time in Blue Lodge, Scottish Rite or the Shrine. As I made my journey, I not only found William Gage Jr.’s history, but his grandfather, uncle, cousin and great grandfather were all South Dakota Masons dating back to 1889. His uncle and cousins were also members of El Riad. Fezzing my Dad was one of the proudest moments of my life hands down, us spending more time to together in the Oriental Band and the Shrine is just a bonus on top of that moment. (We are working on the next generation in DeMolay and Squires.)
What would you tell shriners and their families about joining our family,
fraternity and philanthropy? You will
get more out of it in spades for every
minute you put in. You will gain friendships you could have never imagined and you will find moments that will impact you for life
via what we do.
What else would you like to share with our Cactus readers? To me being a good Mason and Shriner is not just about the work we do day-to-day helping kids, but about our community seeing us as leaders, good fathers, husbands, friends, etc. When we go outside the walls of our temple, the example we put forth at work, church, our families activities is what others will want to emulate and be part of by seeing us both have the fun and do the work!