Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!
WOW! What a great start to the year! The installation ceremony was a bit
different than usual, being in the Fez Room, and I thank everyone involved in
the planning and execution of the program. As if this wasn't enough, we had the
fabulous Aleppo Ball in Danvers three weeks later. As usual the snow was falling
this weekend but everyone's spirits were high: and with lots of help from many
Nobles and their Ladies, I believe the weekend was a success.
The one thing I want to stress this year as your Potentate is
“Remember why you joined.”
Thirty-four years ago, when our 1st child was born, he seemed to be
a healthy baby boy, except that his feet looked different. The next morning the
pediatrician came in and informed us that our son had bilateral club feet and so
our journey began with weekly castings and his initial operation at Boston
Children's Hospital. When our son was three, we found ourselves in a position of
needing help with his medical needs - so with help from both Jack Grant and Ed
Jenkins, we arranged for him to be evaluated at the Shriners Screening Clinic in
Pocasset, and our son F.J. was accepted as a patient into the Shriners Hospital
in Springfield. We spent many summers at that hospital. Weekends were his
favorite, because the staff would roll the beds outside where a Shrine Club or
Unit would have a cookout and often bring toys or stuffed animals for the
patients. I'm happy to say that our son was soon able to ride a bike and play
hockey like any other child. F.J. still skates today with his son Cole.
I am relating this story to you, not so much so that you will think
of why I joined, but rather to encourage you to think about why you joined. If
we, as Shriners, do not “remember why we joined” and if we do not remember to
support our Shrine, then who will be here to help those children and support
those hospitals if our numbers continue to decrease?
“Remember why you joined.” You joined to have FUN. The best way to
have fun is to attend our meetings, support our clubs and units with your
membership in at least one unit, and mostly to SUPPORT OUR SHRINE!
I want to finish by thanking all of you for the work that you do.
Thanks for the work you do at our building. Thanks for driving our patients to
and from appointments. Thanks for volunteering at our hospitals. Thanks for
answering your phone when someone calls for help canning at a supermarket.
Thanks for taking the time out of your weekend to march or ride in a parade. We
have a lot to be proud of. Our hospitals provide life changing operations to
children that may not otherwise have access to quality healthcare in their
country. You have made a difference in our lives. You have made a difference in
their lives. And, if you “remember why you joined,” you will make a difference
in your life.
Es Selamu Aleikum
Illustrious Francis J. Mason
Potentate, Aleppo Temple – 2017