Local Shrine club celebrates contributions for kids

Chief Rabban Bob Keep accepts a donation Saturday from Noble Harold Guy (right) to support the Wa Wa Shriners and their efforts to support kids in need of specialized medical care. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

Prince Albert’s Shrine Club celebrated its new officers Saturday night while also donating over $5,000 to help sick Saskatchewan children.

The Shrine Club installed its new executive and celebrate the new members coming in for 2020. The event was attended by senior executives from the Wa Wa Shriners in Regina.

The Shriners are the philanthropic arm of the Freemasons, the world’s largest fraternity.

“There’s no secret about freemasonry,” said Chief Rabban Bob Keep. “All it does is … make a good guy into a better guy. You’ve got to be a mason to be a Shriner. Once you’ve become a master mason you have the opportunity, then, to join the world’s largest philanthropy (group), the Shriners.”

Shriners support a network of 22 Shriners hospitals for children by raising funds for the hospitals, assisting families with transportation costs and more. Children up to the age of 18 receive expert specialty medical care with no financial obligation to them or their families. Many Shriners Hospitals for Children are also engaged in medical research.

Only one of the 22 hospitals is in Canada, the Montreal Shriners Hospital for Children.

Saskatchewan Shrine patients are typically sent there for care, however, many of the hospitals have specific areas of specialization. When there is a better fir for a child, Saskatchewan patents are sometimes sent to Shriners Hospitals in the US. Wherever they’re treated, the Wa Wa Shriners Patient Transportation Fund covers the costs of the child’s care, hotel and transportation for the child and one parent or guardian.

The hospitals focus on orthopedic care, burn care, spinal cord injury and cleft lip and palate care.

Prince Albert Shrine Club officers, from left to right, Noble Ron Sterling, Noble Arnold Montsebroton, Noble Bob Hayes, Noble Harold Guy, Noble Ed Glyn Noble Bob Turner and Noble Glen Sherwin pose for a photo. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

“Right now in Saskatchewan we’ve got 130 kids enrolled in our hospitals to help with their needs,” Keep said. Three of those kids come from the Prince Albert area.

“We look at every child in Saskatchewan as a potential candidate for our hospitals if they’re I need of specialized health care. That’s what it’s all about.”

Keep said the Shriners have helped over 1.4 million kids since their inception. In Saskatchewan, they’ve assisted over 5,000.

That’s all supported by the fundraising done by local clubs.

“Our biggest cause is the patient transportation fund, which gets kids to the hospital when needed,” Keep said.

Noble Harold Guy said the local Prince Albert club is happy to help out.

“We‘re active in raising funds for the travel for sick kids.” He said.

“We do other things — we help the Salvation Army with the ringing of the Bells, We do Operation Red Nose and (host the Shriners fishing derby). We’re pretty busy for a small bunch.”

“that’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get hat money, Keep said.

“You put in a lot of hours, a lot of community hours.”

Keep said a major fundraiser many people knew the Shriners for growing up was the Shriners circus. They’ve had to discontinue the circus, but are looking for a similarly big event to fill its place.

Many people now see Shriners marching in local parades, adorned in their signature red fezzes.

“We go into the smallest community parades,” Keep said.

“Our fezzes are symbolic. They’re not the most comfortable thing in the world to wear, but we wear them to let people know that we’re Shriners.

More information about the Shriners hospitals for children can be found at wwww.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org