Saturday, April 30, 2016

Shriners: Love To The Rescue

Since about 2009, I've had this red fez in my closet collecting dust.  Every year, I get a dues statement, and I pay it.  That's been about my involvement in the Shrine at this point.  So a couple weeks ago, Greg Knott and I decided to dust off those fezzes and go over to the Eastern Illinois Shrine Club meeting.  They were meeting at the Gao Grotto in Danville, Illinois.  That's a great clubhouse high on a bluff over Lake Vermilion.  And we picked a good night to go.

We had a great meal, and afterwards, they'd invited a couple representatives from the Shriners Hospital in Chicago to speak.  They told us about the work they do there and at all the Shriners Hospitals across the country (each hospital has a focus on a specialty).  Gave us some history of the hospitals (their original work with polio).  They talked about the ad campaigns we're all so familiar with (and all those kids on the commercials are patients at the Chicago Hospital).

I knew the Shrine did some great work, but I had no idea the extent.  And I guess the part I didn't have a full appreciation of was the number of members of that small local Shrine club that actually worked so hands-on in that process--several providing transportation for the patients and their families to and from their appointments in Chicago.  That's no small job, and no small investment of time.  That's about a three hour drive from where we're at, so each trip by the time you get up there, have the appointments, and get home represents a very long day for those volunteers.  But they gladly volunteer over and over and over again.

I think I'm going to carve out a little more time to be a Shriner--they have a meeting next week, and I'm planning on joining the Eastern Illinois Shrine Club if they want me.  Not only is it a great group of guys, but it's a group that is dedicated to making the lives of those kids better.  Not just by talking about it, or writing a check--but by going out and making that happen.

Having an opportunity to play a small role in that is something that's really not hard to get behind.

~Todd E. Creason

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