2021 was challenging, but very rewarding! I hope the Nobles of El Riad would express the same sentiment. 

The year started out slow, with no Johnny Holm Dance, no ROCK the Shrine, no Cabin Fever, but, even though the St Patty’s Day Parade was cancelled, the Fife’s Beer Pong Tournament was held on a limited basis of 70 teams, and they all showed up. The Motor Corps/Sprint Cars had a gathering for the $10,000 raffle and from that point on, there was a return to annual events not being cancelled, and parade season was right around the corner. The rest of the year was on “Kruse Control” and I hope fun was had by all!

Speaking of fun, a great time was had at the Sportsman’s Classic. This event is always close to a sell out and this year, under the guidance of Chairman John Schuety, it was a full house and very successful! Thanks to all the committee members and to the culinary unit for serving the dinner. The same goes for the Mitchell Sportsmans where it was a packed house. Thanks to Greg Bailey and all the volunteers who made this event happen! And, again, to the Culinary Unit for traveling to Mitchell and serving the dinner.

The Fall Ceremonial was expertly directed by our Second Ceremonial Master Steve Haase. The highlight of the day was our former Shrine patient Parker Hanson. He gave a motivational talk at the afternoon session and also at the Ladies Luncheon. I think he especially connected with the Ladies, since many of them are mothers in their own right. Thanks to our Public Relations Direction Rocky Hayes for arranging to have Parker speak. Thanks also to the many units and clubs who came through once again with their donations to the temple. 

I want to take time to thank the many Nobels who made this year successful. To the hundreds of Nobles and Ladies who donated money to the Virtual Circus. This was a huge shot in the arm to our fundraising and gave us some breathing room as far as our budget was concerned.

Everyone is excited the actual circus probably will happen in April 2022. 

It is indeed a privilege and an honor to recognize, and thank, the following:

Shutterbugs and Pixels for all of their talent, creating fine photography. They make it look easy, but a lot of time and expense goes on behind the scenes. Thank you!

Doug Schneider and Ryan Simmons held another successful Shrine Cup Golf Tournament, in spite of the weather conditions. The venue changed to Prairie Green and the staff there was very accommodating. Thank you Doug and Ryan and their committee for all your efforts and skills!

Thanks goes out to Ken Ward and the Football committee for the 49th annual Shrine Football game. It was a beautiful day to be a Shriner! And to see Augustana winning the game, and seeing our Shrine patients Jaxon and Jeren on the big screen, winning the hearts of the fans in the stands, was inspiring. The Augie Football team and Coach OJ are always winners in our hearts, as we get to know them better and have fun at our annual players meal in August at the Shrine. The dance contests challenges put out by Jaxon and Jeren are the “bomb”! Thanks to the Fife and Drum for hosting this special meal/event. Meal served by the Culinary Unit (hats off to Steve Hauff and the crew.)

Our Circus Chairman, Larry “LJ” Johnson, was tired of sitting on his hands, so when he got the opportunity to rally the troops for the Mega Monster Truck event, he hit the ground running! Thanks to LJ, Jeff Landborg, and all the units who worked this event, to make it a success in its first year.

The Shriners Children’s Open PGA event for 2021 had the El Riad temple marshaling holes 7, 8, and 9 again this year. A big thank you goes out to Charles and Paula Brown for their enthusiastic pursuit toward making this happen every year! 

The Shrine Patient’s Christmas Party will have the Nobles and Ladies on the road delivering gifts to our patients again this year. Thanks to Kevin and Robin Tomshack for chairing this heart warming event!

The Pote’s Party was the place to be this year as we celebrated the Caribbean theme. Thanks to Chief Rabban Jim Slater and all the committee members and the Last Call Band for a fun evening! (Thanks Culinary for the meal!)

Trust me when I tell you that being on the Membership committee is a challenging and thankless job! It is a testament to their dedication to Shrine growth, that keeps John Archer PP, Charlie Brown PP, Bill Thompson and the rest of the committee, coming back for more! We salute you, and thank you, for all you do.

I have thanked Rocky Hayes in past issues, but he does so much for the Shrine, I want to thank him again! I don’t know how you do it all, but keep it up!

Ethan “Casey” Serck was our Chief Pote’s Aide this year. He was an outstanding host at our Oasis during MSA. Special recognition also to his sidekick, Matt Gage, and all the rest of the Pote’s aides crew. They were vital to the success of the Ladies Luncheons and serving during stated meetings, Pote’s Party, and Ceremonials.

John Schuety and Brian Schultz were our Chief of Staff and Assistant Chief of Staff. They excelled at directing the parades at Pote’s Parade and MSA, and in managing the Pote’s Aides. Thank you Hank and Sticky!

Thanks to Don Lauria for serving as our Temple Director. Always willing to step up to the plate!

Thanks to Bill Schepeler, our Chaplain. I love that he was low maintenance and very reliable!

Thanks to Dave Murphy, our Stop Burns Chairman. Another one on top of their game.

Jim Dewey, our Road Runners President. Thanks for all you did for the patients!

Roger Risty and Paul Buriak, our Hospital Representatives. Always willing to serve!

Jose Arreola and Mason Goldsmith, thanks for serving as our Masonic Relations advocates.

Thank you to our Divan members. You have served your positions with eagerness and expertise. I look forward to seeing your future successes!

A big part of the Divan/Shrine future success, depends on the El Riad Shrine Staff and related contractors, a HUGE thanks goes out to Gail Gustafson, Kent Quail, Lonnie Albers, Heather Nagel, Darold Ball, the event coordinators, and our retiring “Mr. Shrine Encyclopedia” Illustrious Sir, Bruce Wallin. The Shrine runs smoothly because of your help. Unfortunately, when it doesn’t, you guys are the first to know! 🙂

To all the units, thank you for all your support, volunteerism, donations, and generally “having fun and helping kids”. Please spread the word, it IS fun and the kids DO appreciate it!

For all the Nobles whose lives I have touched this year, I hope you had a good Shrine year, It was an honor to serve as your Potentate.

Finally, I want to thank my wife, Gloria, for standing by me while I made my trek through the Shrine. She was there to listen, console, encourage and guide me through the ups and downs that comes with the territory. I am happy you were there to experience the journey with me.

I want to leave my post as Potentate with these words a wise person said:

“We are not here to tolerate our differences, we are here to accept them. We are not here to celebrate our sameness, we are here to salute our distinctions. We are not born into equal circumstances or with equal abilities, but we should have equal opportunities. As individuals, we unite in our values. Celebrate that!”

Having fun in ’21!

Les Kruse