Let me start off with thanking the Divan and their Ladies for their commitment to making El Riad the best it can be. A team meeting was held with the Divan and Ladies present and we outlined the goals for the year 2018. The Ladies are an integral part of our commitment to the Shrine. Without their support our journey would be more difficult and not nearly as much fun!

I should now take the time to thank (?) the obviously new decorators at El Riad Shrine. I didn’t even recognize the Pote’s office upon my return from Cancun! What a thoughtful gesture to welcome me home! I will admit it was difficult to find a spot on my desk to work, and it was impossible to sit on the couch with it standing up on end, but it definitely lent a smile to my face and added a chuckle to my day! And packing peanuts continued to show up for days whenever I opened a drawer! Thanks for making me feel right at home!

Our next adventure was Midwinter Session in Deadwood, SD. A bus with 34 dedicated nobles attended with the zeal I love to see. Each and every Shriner who went was intent on attending the breakout sessions and learning as much as possible. I thank you all for your commitment; our awesome Nobles are some of the best things about El Riad! Special thanks go to our Chief of Staff Alan Machmiller and Assistant Chief of Staff Larry Miller for the hard work they did to make sure everything happened as it should have. They even found ice cream for me to savor and enjoy! Special note here: no matter how organized one is, all hotels will mess it up when it’s a Midwinter Session. Thanks for the save, guys. Chief Pote’s Aid Steve Haase, Pote’s Aids Paul Berndt, John Schuety, Alex Mehlhaff and Emeritus Darold “Disco” Ball, were in charge of our supplies and did an excellent job. Thanks, guys!

The Directors Staff, Ritualistic Unit, Membership, and Divan traveled to Windom, MN and performed Cold Sands, installing four new nobles into the Shrine. A special thanks to Andy Harrie for organizing the candidates and an additional thanks to all units involved.

The Khartum Bag Pipes will be in town on Friday, March 16. A reception will be held at the Shrine that evening. Everyone is welcome to come down and watch and listen to these masters of the bag pipes. They have become an amazing tradition at El Riad for many years now and are known to bring an incredible amount of fun with them!

Our circus meetings have begun, and the committee has some uphill battles going. First of all, last year when Barnum and Bailey Circus announced that they were closing, the entire world thought the circus was gone forever. Having said that, we must educate the public to the fact our circus is still alive and well. The second battle is parking. As of now, there are no large crowd events going on at the “DENNY” during our circus dates. If the big house schedule doesn’t change we will have ample parking and things will go on as planned. The committee has a plan and it will take some time to organize it; kudos to the committee and see you at the circus!

It has just been announced that our own Jim “Big Deal” Burma PP has been named to the Board of Governors for the Twin Cities Shrine Hospital. Congratulations, Jim! While attending the Midwinter Session, our Imperial Divan explained some possible changes to our hospital system. We will keep you informed as things materialize and decisions are made.

El Riad will host the Orthopedic Care, Rehab and Sports Seminar in Brookings on Tuesday, March 27 and at the Shrine on Wednesday, March 28 here in Sioux Falls. Our new Hospital Chairman Paul Buriak has this on the move. Thanks, Paul! This allows El Riad Shrine to promote special care techniques to area nursing students, doctors, and other health care specialists and allows us to give back to our community!

In closing remember to HAVE FUN AND INSPIRE SOMEONE!

Maury “Big Moe” Richard

2018 Potentate, El Riad Shrine



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