Hometown: Meckling, South Dakota. 

What keeps you in Sioux Falls? I have been in Sioux Falls for the last 45 years, it is just home now. 

Who was your Masonic sponsor, when did you join, and why did you become a Master Mason? My sponsors were Sid Pederson and Mike Houk. I joined in 1984. I became a Master Mason to take the next step and become a Shriner.

Who was your Shrine sponsor, when did you join, and why did you become a Shriner? I had the same sponsors when I became a Shriner as I did when I became a Master Mason. I joined during the 1984 Fall Ceremonial.

What is your favorite part of being a Masonic Shriner? Supporting the mission of providing health services to children. I have sponsored three patients to our health system. I still get a little emotional about that especially when I see them these days as they are entering their young adulthood. My nephew was also a Shrine patient.

I also enjoy the friendships I have made both within El Riad and other Shrine temples in the Midwest and the rest of the country. I enjoy parading and watching the children react to our units, especially the Steel Drum Band.

What units and clubs have you been and/or currently are a member? I first became a member of the Oriental Band when I first joined the Shrine in 1984. I became the Rajah of the band in 1988 until 1998 and served as President of the OB in 1994. In 2002, I was part of a group that organized the Steel Drum Band. I served as President in 2002 and Secretary/Treasurer from 2018 to 2022.

Why did you decide to commit to the Divan decade and then serving as our potentate? I was asked by Potentate RD Hurd to go on the line. I was honored to be asked and decided to accept the challenge. Due to personal circumstances, I was unable to serve for my year 2000, but was able to serve for a portion of 1999. 

Tell us about your biggest accomplishment and disappointment as potentate: I don’t know if I can put anything down as either a big accomplishment or disappointment due to my short tenure. I am just thankful that the membership let me drive the bus for a little while.

What committees and roles have you been a part of over the years? And what was your favorite memory? I was a member of the committee regarding our Temple’s car raffle. I was a member of the circus public relations committee. I was one of the individuals in the Oriental Band that got the Halloween and Spring dances started. I think that really got the other units thinking about fundraising in a different light than selling Vidalia onions, and here we go again with the Steel Drum taking on the challenge of New Year’s Eve with the Ron Keel Band performing. 

What does your lady think about your membership? Kimberly is very supportive of what the Shrine does and my involvement in the organization.

What has been your involvement with the shrine and its units/committees meant to you? It has meant a lot to me because I love our mission and the benefit of having a lot of fun while completing the mission is great. 

Describe El Riad Shrine in five words: Great place for fun & friendship (an ampersand doesn’t count as a word, right?).

What would you tell Shriners and their families about joining our family, fraternity and philanthropy? This is a great charitable organization that allows you to support a mission to help children and have a lot of fun doing it.

What else would you like to share with our Cactus readers? Keep up all your good work and let’s have some more fun.

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