Every successful organization and business needs an experienced and dedicated support staff. El Riad has one of the best.
Gail Gustafson, Kent Quail and Scott Denney handle numerous tasks from answering a constantly ringing telephone to dealing directly with the parents of our hospital patients, handling the patent registrations at hospitals for treatment, transportation and paying expenses.
They also pay El Riad’s bills, keep track of the temple building and equipment and are the folks who Divan and various Shrine units and clubs depend on for successfully completing dozens and dozens of Shrine projects.
They are the faces and voices most people associate with when first inquiring about renting our facility or seeking medical treatment from Shrine Hospitals.
I spent a few days in the office recently when Gail was gone. Tara Hathcock, Tom Anderson’s daughter and yours truly chipped in to try and fill Gail’s shoes. Tara did a good job. Me? I hope I didn’t screw things up too badly. Frankly, this spending a few days in the office was a real eye opener.
I’ve been a Shriner for a long time. Sure I knew we had an office. It is the place I go to or call when ever I have a question. “What’s so and so’s telephone number or email. Do you have a list of towns having parades?” Just about anything and everything is fair game. Just call or slip into the office. They can help. The truth is sometimes I just stop into the office to chat when I’m down at the temple. The folks in the office always seem happy to see us Shriners. It doesn’t seem like they are too busy. BUT you’d be surprised at just how much they do day in and day out.
Working in the office is a hectic, sometimes frustrating thing that frankly is a most vital function of El Riad Shrine. It is more than a full time job, it is a vital task to keep our Shine facilities and assistance to our hospital patients running so efficiently. All of us should acknowledge those in the office are mainly responsible for keeping El Riad Shrine one of the best temples in Shrinedom. Potentates change yearly and club and unit officers change from time to time. So do members. It is the office staff that remains day after day and year after year.
Also assisting the staff is Lonnie Albers, a sort of all around handy man who serves as something like a building manager and “Disco”, alias Darold Ball, who makes sure the temple always looks presentable.
Gail Gustafson has been our voice and face of El Riad. Taking the job in March of 2015, she has been a vital link in almost everything we do as Shriners. She is receptionist, handles the numerous telephone calls, rents the facility to outside groups and most importantly handles the many tasks with getting patients to our hospitals for treatment. “I really like the job very much because I especially like what the Shrine fraternity stands for and does. I enjoy meeting and dealing with people, especially those parents who need our help.” She herself had a special needs daughter, now deceased, so she can readily understand what parents feel when their child needs help.
Kent Quail is the unit and club support individual in the office, a post he has held since October, 2018. He was retired from his job as a structural engineer for only six weeks when things got sorta boring. “You need something to do,” his wife said. El Riad needed help and Kent was an excellent fit for the job. “No two days are the same. You’ve got to be flexible and able to handle multiple jobs at the same time.” Kent has been a Shriner for 25 years, joining during the 1997 Spring Ceremonial.
Scott Denney basically serves as El Riad’s accountant. All money collected goes to him, but so do all the bills. A basket in his office is filled with bills. The money taken in must exceed the pile of bills on his desk. He is like the office manager. He assumed the job in April and admits “I’m still learning the job.” Scott is also on the line and this year serves as Oriental Guide, thus assuming the responsibility for putting on the unit and club seminar. “It is a highly detailed job and one in which I try not to make too many mistakes,” said Denney.
El Riad simply couldn’t exist without a knowledgeable and competent office staff!