A Message from the Imperial Potentate
Dear Fellow Nobles,
It is almost time to “SEND IN THE CLOWNS” at the 139th Imperial Session in Indianapolis. Our Shrine clowns will lead the parade, and provide great fun for the crowds. We hope to set a Guinness World Record with the most clowns in a parade! The Lady Shrine Clowns will also be participating to help set the RECORD!
We’ve attended several meetings and seminars lately – here are some highlights:
The Sports Seminar, held March 3- 6, featured guest speakers Hunter Cannon and Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham. Hunter is featured in some of our promotional materials and is a patient at our Northern California hospital. His remarks proved to us, once again, that obstacles placed in our way are merely challenges to be met. Imperial Sir Dale Stauss, Chairman, and his TEAM presented an inspiring program, enjoyed by everyone in attendance. If your game/event wasn't represented, make sure the manager or leader attends next year.
Next we attended the Oriental Guides and Assistant Rabbans seminars, which were held at the Airport Marriott in Tampa, Fla., March 7 - 14. This training program has evolved considerably since the first one I attended some ten years ago, and has become a premier leadership conference. Imperial Sir Jeff Sowder, Chairman, and his TEAM provided training for the many nobles and ladies in attendance. If you’re AR or OG was unable to attend, sign them up for next year. This training has been proven to strengthen temple operations time and time again.
Next on our agenda was attending Hejaz' Potentate's Ball in Greenville, S.C., which gave us a great opportunity to socialize with Hejaz nobles and ladies. Also attending were the divan members of Jamil and Omar Shriners, and their ladies. It was wonderful to see so many South Carolina Shriners supporting one another. We thank you, Gary Parsons and Lady Barbara, for the invitation.
Next on our travels was a return to the Sunshine State.
Florida Shriners have a unique opportunity to extend hospitality to "snowbirds" enjoying a respite from the cold weather. Sahib nobles and ladies welcome many northerners to their Thursday luncheons in Sarasota. Our visit on March 7 was no exception. We were welcomed warmly by Illustrious Sir Bill Zurlo and his lady, Stacey Lee, the divan and their ladies, along with club and unit representatives. The 250 people in attendance enjoyed an afternoon of fellowship and brotherly love.
The Potentate of Egypt Shriners, Tom Robinson, and his lady, Trish, also welcomed us warmly to their Oasis in Tampa. We noticed a few fezzes from northern jurisdictions around the room at the Egypt temple, too. Some came down to visit for a few months and decided to stay. Isn't it wonderful to have the opportunity to continue your Shrine activities when you move to a new area?
You've heard me speak of partnerships with many transportation providers throughout my years of service on the Imperial Divan. Southwest Airlines has a special place in my heart as my son, Paul, is a SWA pilot. Another noble, Martin Tennant, a Nemesis Shriner, also flies for SWA. We may have other SWA pilots in our midst that we are unaware of – we thank all of you for the work you do! On a recent visit with SWA CEO and President Gary Kelly, the four of us explored other partnership options. Hopefully, we'll have more to report in a future message.
A second partnership opportunity is being explored with the Disney organization. On March 18, Imperial Sir Doug Maxwell, Gary Bergenske and I, along with staff from Leo Burnett, met with Disney World representatives to explore possible options. We are hopeful it will lead to a positive outcome for all parties.
It is exciting to be part of a groundbreaking ceremony, especially when the children who have received treatment and/or are receiving treatment at that respective hospital are involved. About 12 Patient Ambassadors from the St. Louis Shriners Hospital took the stage, and the microphone, and acted as the emcees during the groundbreaking ceremony for the new St. Louis hospital at 2 p.m. on March 20. It was a cold, windy day, but the children's enthusiasm warmed our hearts. Imperial Sir Doug Maxwell and Lady Patricia, Imperial Sir Dale Stauss and Lady Cheryl and Imperial Sir Jerry Gantt and Lady Lisa accompanied Lady Jan and myself to the event.
That evening, our group of officers and ladies was hosted by the Moolah divan and their ladies. The auditorium was filled with nobles and their ladies from various clubs and units. We were especially impressed with the monies given to Potentate Patrick Hensley for the temple’s transportation and hospital funds. We learned this is a normal occurrence at their stated meetings.
Our visit included a tour of the facility, which is a remodeled former junior high school that was purchased by the temple in 1988.
Members of the South Atlantic Shrine Association met in Greensboro, N.C., on March 22 and 23 for their mid-winter meeting. North and South Carolina officers of Rotary International also happened to be gathering in the same hotel. A chance meeting with Rotary International President and CEO Ron Burton presented an opportunity to share ideas on membership growth and retention.
Next, we attended the Treasurers meeting. There is a difference between attending the OG/AR Leadership Conference and attending the Shrine Treasurers Association annual meeting. The Oriental Guides and Assistant Rabbans are new to their positions. Many of the treasurers have been in their positions for a year, or two, or more. They are just as eager for new ideas and have an interest in learning what is on the horizon. IS John Cinotto assisted me with the Installation of Officers. IS Doug Maxwell, IS Jack Jones and IS Jim McConnell also addressed the Treasurers. First Lady Jan presented an update on her program, “The Miracle of a Single Seed," and information on the upcoming Imperial Session to the ladies in attendance. From the laughter coming through the dividing walls, she must have shared a story or two.
Our next report will contain visits to Tangier, Boumi, and Abou Saad temples, MASA meeting, Spring Board meeting, PR Seminar, FSA meeting and a visit with Sudan Shriners and their ladies.
Please continue to keep Membership as the “TOP Priority” for your temples, clubs and units. Remember the best way to recruit from Blue Lodges and the general public is by telling your stories and being willing to listen. Also keep in mind that mentoring those who join us will keep them with us.
Yours in the Faith,
Alan "Al" W. Madsen
Keep membership “number one” priority by promoting family fun, fellowship and brotherly love!