I have some important material to present in my article this month, but what is happening at Maskat Temple is equally important! In June, we had the Oil Bowl, and reaped a profit for our Houston and Galveston Hospitals. The books are not closed, and I know some of us would like to purchase our Noble Tickets and have not done so thus far. So you still have an opportunity to contribute to our Philanthropy. Remember, all contributions to the Oil Bowl are income tax deductible. If you have lost your paperwork, call the Maskat Office at 940-766-4511.
The previous week, we hosted TSA State Convention. The Provost Guard brought home some hardware, the Clowns presented a funny Skit, and the CONVEE CADILLACS did us proud once again. We also had a lot of golfers in the mix! Hospitality Room was great, and everyone seemed to enjoy it!
Having TSA here is a real exercise in multitasking, especially if you are the Potentate, or Director General. They reminded me of a juggler with three balls in the air at once. Hats off to you guys and the Nobles and ladies who worked so hard to make it successful. Special thanks to the Nile Ladies who helped me in Registration. You and Lady Jennifer made my job much easier! We go to a TSA every year, but I think we do an excellent job in comparison to all the other Temples. It’s a team effort, and I personally want to thank everyone who helped!
Your Imperial Representatives [three of us] recently returned from the Annual Convention of Shriners International, held this year in beautiful Nashville Tennessee. This was their first Imperial Session, and they did a super job! The Provost Guard competed in the third ever Imperial Pistol match, capturing first and second place in different categories. Noble Jerry Sloan pulled the Provost Guard and Divan on the Smoking Gun Trailer. Thanks Jerry your contribution to the team. The Smoking Gun was present in all its glory, and it’s a good thing! Thank you Provost Guard for all you do for Maskat. And thanks for the ride!!
There were 34 items on the Agenda, some of which affect all Temples; bylaws changes which should improve our fraternity financially and protect the Hospital Endowment Fund. I think it is important to note that our Fraternity is growing! We placed two Temples that were Under Dispensation last year under Charter! We really need to work on local membership, Nobles! We continue to have more Nobles die than we initiate.
As always, the highlight was the public relations presentation on Wednesday afternoon, where we met the newest patient ambassadors. Madelyn has been a patient of ours since 2000, and was born without a left arm. Cristian has been a Patient of Shriners in Pasadena. He was born with Spina Bifida and bilateral foot deformities. These young people make you proud to be a part of this great fraternity. Traditionally, the two Patient Ambassadors are chosen from our Shriners Hospitals for Children and introduced to the Representatives at the annual convention. It is always a heart warming, emotional experience to see these kids in person and hear the stories of how they became Shriner Kids and how they have overcome their obstacles to lead fulfilling lives with the help of Shriner like you and me. We will share these videos with the membership when we have the opportunity, because they help us remember that the Shriners Hospital System identifies the singular mission of our great Fraternity: to make a difference in the life of a child.
Thanks for being a Shriner and a Mason, and be Proud of your involvement!
For the Children,
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder
The Month of June has two major Shrine activities: TSA Convention June 5-8 and the Oil Bowl on June 14-15. The proceeds from the Oil Bowl Game and all related activities go to support the Galveston and Houston Shriners Hospitals for Children. We do this strictly to benefit the Children in our Shriners Hospitals, and it is the only official activity we have on schedule this year solely for their benefit. Needless to say, we as Shriners should support this game with our attendance and participation. Thanks to Oil Bowl Chairman Yoshi Fukasawa, we have had three good years in a row! Please buy your tickets, support and attend the game and wear your Fez!! The children in our Shriners Hospitals depend on our support. Without Shriners [that’s us] our Hospitals would soon be history. Stated Meeting is June 11, the Tuesday before the Oil Bowl.
We are sponsoring an Oil Bowl Basketball venue at Rider High School Gymnasium on Friday, June 14! Chairman Fukasawa’s expansion continues this year! Last year, we added boys and girls Basketball on Friday night. Girls will play at 6:00 pm, followed by the Boys at 7:30 pm, same as last year. This year we added Girls Volleyball All-Stars on Saturday afternoon. So, Oil Bowl Festivities just got busier!
That is a lot to cram into the first two full weekends; and, thankfully, we have a couple weeks afterwards to regroup! As you know, TSA is HERE on the weekend before the Oil Bowl, and I need to back track to make sure it gets the space it deserves. Thank goodness we normally host TSA every 13 years. That’s two weekends in a row we need all members to help so we can make a good impression and put our fine city in a good light.
I want all Shriners and their Ladies to understand that anyone can refer a patient to our Hospitals, with or without a doctor’s diagnosis. Doctors do account for many patient referrals, but so do people just like us! If a parent approaches you, get the child’s name, condition, and parent’s permission, and call our toll free number: 800-237-5055. I should mention here that you may have to ask a parent, if you notice a child’s problem, if he or she is getting medical treatment. You may have the opportunity to make a huge difference in the life of a deserving child, and there is no better feeling than that!
The Shriners International Convention is the week of June 30-July 5 in Nashville Tennessee! This is the first time Nashville has ever hosted a Shriner’s International Convention! Once again, Noble Lawrence Bennett and members of the Provost Guard are going to compete, and pull the Smoking Gun in the Parade! Should make for a fun convention!
Thanks for being a Shriner, Nobles and Ladies, thank you for supporting our efforts.
For the Children,
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder
Houston Board of Governors Rep.
On April 15, I started to do my Wildcat Article for May, but I was delayed by the grim news that Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was on fire. Switched the channel to Fox and then CNN just to confirm, and stunned, shut off the television. Turned it back on in a couple hours, and it was still on fire. The Notre Dame was definitely on my bucket list, just never got around to Paris. It was high on the list, but in the two times we went to Europe, we just never got there. Jennifer went, on another trip, but I never did. Like the Twin Towers, it is no more, but the two towers of Notre Dame were spared, I just heard. I thought it would be around forever, but we can‘t look at manmade things as permanent fixtures, no matter how iconic. To paraphrase Will Rogers, nothing is permanent but death and taxes. You only get one death, but you will have to pay taxes until then! But it was an 800 year old structure. Older than the USA, for sure.
On June 14- 15, we have the Oil Bowl Classic at Memorial Stadium here in Wichita Falls. Of course, we always have the Oil Bowl around this time. Raising funds for our Shriners Hospitals for Children is the reason we gather these stellar high school athletes yearly for this contest, and this year, we are adding another athletic event! Last year, we brought back boys and girls basketball on Friday Night. This year we are showcasing girls Volleyball. Oil Bowl Chairman Yoshi Fukasawa said basketball last year was a sellout success, and now Volleyball! Since basketball games were a real hit, he decided we should open it up for volleyball also. We are really looking forward to all the Oil Bowl Games!
More about our Hospitals. If you want to refer a patient to either Galveston or Houston, you can do it! You do not have to be a Shriner. We always have referrals from Physicians and parents and people like you. The point is, don’t hesitate to get involved! Sometimes you can help make a huge difference in a child’s life by doing something as simple as referring him or her to our Hospitals. These Oil Bowl games are Major Temple Fundraisers for the Hospitals. Taking the opportunity to feature more local athletic talent was a great idea and it was Yoshi’s brainchild! Funds are split, half to Galveston, half to Houston. Donations to the Oil Bowl Game are strictly for the Hospitals and therefore, tax deductible. As I told you earlier, the games will be held June 14-15 at Rider Field House and Memorial Stadium. Hope to see you there! If the games are financially successful, our children will benefit! You can do your part by purchasing your tickets whether you can attend the game or not. We need people in the stands to make this effort a success, so spread the news!
On June 5-8, we have our TSA Convention here in Wichita Falls. So June is an active Month for Maskat Shrine. Get out of the house and enjoy the fun!
This year, the Imperial Shrine Convention will be held in Nashville, Tennessee for the first time ever on June 30 to July 4. Several Provost Guard Members are going to compete with Provost Guard pistol teams from other Temples in the world for the third year! Our Provost Guard will be competing in Imperial for their third time and have the “Smoking Gun” in the Imperial parade! I will close with this: Thanks for being a Shriner, Nobles. And Ladies, thanks for supporting our efforts.
P.S., Noble Sonny Robinson and family need to be in our prayers now. His cancer has returned and he is in a bad way. Please lift him up.
For the Children,
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder
Happy Easter on April 21, 2019! It is beginning to look a lot like springtime as I write this the day before it is officially spring. The wind is blowing about 20 or 30 mph and its pretty chilly here in Wichita Falls. But the sun is out, and the birds were singing yesterday, when it was a lot less breezy. By the time you read this, you will probably wonder what I was thinking. I do that. A lot.
There are many activities worthy of note in April. Let’s lead with our Annual Golf Tournament at River Creek, which is Friday, April 5. This is a great event for Maskat because it is one of our major Temple fundraisers. If you do not play golf, please volunteer to work the event. We always need people to work registration and many other duties. Volunteer! You will be glad you did, and so will Chairman Gordie Antill. Unfortunately, Jennifer and I will be going to Houston for the Houston SHC Board Meeting. Don’t forget Maskat Happy Hour on Thursday, April 18. We also have our Annual Easter Egg Hunt on Hatton Road Land, April 20. Bring the young ones out and celebrate with us. Lunch at noon, followed by the Easter Egg Hunt!
In May we have a couple of events already on tap. The Dinner Theatre is scheduled for Saturday, May 4, and the Spring Ceremonial is set for Sunday May, 5 at 2:00pm.
June is pretty busy, as usual. We host TSA Convention the first weekend in June. Starting on Wednesday June 5, Texas Shrine Association will converge upon Wichita Falls for the first time since 2013! With Past Potentate Bruce Urban as Director General and Steve Harris as our Potentate, the TSA Committee is meeting at least twice a month preparing for the events. The second weekend is devoted to the Oil Bowl Games; and, in addition to Football and Basketball, this year we are adding a couple of volleyball games. Chairman Yoshi Fukasawa is all about making money for the Houston and Galveston SHC, while showcasing our talented area athletes.
Then we have the Shrine Imperial Convention starting on July 1 in Nashville Tennessee! It is a long way from Wichita Falls, on the East end of Tennessee. To my knowledge, we have never had a Shrine Convention in Nashville. Many people are looking forward with anticipation. Ordinarily we do not have many Nobles at an Imperial, especially when it’s far away; but, for the third year, we have a number of Provost Guard planning a trip! Some in the Provost Guard are going to go, compete and join the parade with the Smoking Gun! Come join us if you can. It is my first trip ever with Nashville as the destination, and Jennifer and I are looking forward to it!
I know I can’t seem to quit talking about our hospital system. But I can’t apologize for that! Most of you know what conditions we treat, but if you know of a child who may qualify, please call the office. If we can help a child, we want to. I am going to mention again, if you would like to go to Las Vegas and volunteer for the Hospital Benefit Golf Tournament the first week in October, see or call me or Dr. Steve Dryden for more details. And by the way, thank you and yours for being a part of the Shrine Family. Together, as owners of the Shrine Hospitals, we have an opportunity to help make a difference in the lives of some very deserving children. We are making a difference! I have the privilege to see it firsthand every Month at our Board Meetings. Visit one of our Hospitals! It will change your life!
For the Children
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder
March is upon me, and all who have to make an article ready to go in the Wildcat. I am attempting to write this column and thinking about packing up for the O.G. Trip to Shreveport at the end of the current week. I think O.G. Greg Talley will remember to go on this one, since we are taking the trip with his nickname for the year as its title. O.G. Trip. It’s your turn O.G. Greg. Enjoy!
At our Divan Midwinter Conference the second weekend in February, we talked a lot about Membership, which is an ongoing problem; but ,as we did last year, we also talked a lot about shutting or repurposing some of our least productive hospitals to better utilize and protect our Endowment Fund. We are doing a great job saving lives and making them better, but some of our locations are greatly underutilized. We will share information with you as it becomes available, but Houston and Galveston locations are NOT listed as possible closures. Our Texas Hospitals are doing great!
IHOP Pancake Day will be Tuesday March 12 this year. Chairman P.P. Charles Dean spoke about it at the February Meeting. It is the largest one day fund raiser we have for our Hospitals. Nobles have been very good about volunteering to work a two hour shift, which is great! But after you finish your shift, stay and eat. Or eat before, if you would like! Or if you aren’t working the event, eat anyway! The food is great, and the event raises money for our Hospitals. And thank the staff! They graciously donate their time to us and help us make our event successful.
Our Patient of the Month at SHC Houston is ten months old. He came to us as he left another Hospital, for subacute rehab. His initial diagnosis was strep pneumonia with sepsis. He was discharged directly to us because he was too weak to send home. He was born a twin, but his twin died. He has trouble swallowing and consequently much of his food was entering his lungs. He is younger than most of our subacute patients, but without our services, it’s doubtful he could have lived. He will go home in about two weeks if he continues to improve at his current rate. Not our typical patient, but we have helped him immensely. Gives us all another reason to be proud to be a Shriner!
March 1-3 is the Shriner’s Hospital College Classic Baseball Tournament in Houston. It features Texas college baseball teams in the tournament, and we have our Hospital Board Meeting at Minute Maid Park in Houston. This game showcases patients from Houston and Galveston and is played to benefit our Hospitals. Then on March 10-12, I have to go to Atlanta for a Regional Board of Governors Meeting for BOGs from Houston, Galveston, Shreveport and Mexico City. It is considered very important to our Hospital System, and we only have one Board Member who has been excused–he is Chairman of the IHOP Pancake Day!
We will have a York Rite Festival at Faith Lodge on March 15-16. If you have not completed the York Rite, this is your opportunity to do so locally. Many of our York Rite Masons have been working toward a Festival here for quite a while. I hope you will join us! Thank you all for being a Shriner!
Thanks for being a Shriner, Nobles; and Ladies, thanks for supporting our efforts.
For the Children
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder
Happy Valentine’s Day, among other events we are happy to observe in February if we are married or have kids! February is always short; and if you are a Shriner, pretty busy. Speaking of busy, congratulations to Noble Ed Hall for earning the Golden Fez Award for 2018! Ed works with heart and soul to make Maskat great.
We start February with a Super Bowl Party on Sunday, February 3. This is always a fun party and I’m sure it will be this year as well. Your Divan will be going to Tyler Texas for Divan Midwinter on Thursday through Saturday, February 7-9. The rest of the Divan will come home Saturday, but Jennifer and I will be going down to Houston for the February Houston Hospital Board of Governors Meeting which is on Monday, February 11. Stated Meeting is February 12 at Maskat. Maskat Happy Hour for February is cancelled! That is the Thursday we leave on the O.G. Trip.
The long awaited O.G. Trip to Shreveport Hospital is February 21-24. It is a STAG trip to Margaritaville Hotel and Casino in Bossier City, and the bus ride, snacks and libations cost $75.00. New Nobles first trip is free! Well, you do have to pay for your room and gambling, but it’s still a good deal! It’s always a lot of fun, and we tour the Shriners Hospital in Shreveport on Friday. Our first Hospital was Shreveport, so it holds an historical place among Shrine Hospitals. This trip gives everyone a chance to see what the Shrine supports and makes a Noble very proud to be a Shriner.
Don’t forget IHOP Pancake Day is March 12. Past Potentate Charles Dean is our man who makes it happen locally, but it is a group effort. It is the largest single-day fundraiser we have for the Shrine Hospitals, so it is very important. Don’t forget to sign up to work and join Shriners for pancakes on that special day!
As a Proud Houston Hospital Representative, I want to thank you for supporting our Hospitals. P.P. Bob Hamblin has rejoined the Houston Board as an Associate. He went to the Board Meeting in Houston last Monday. I could not go because my bride had heart bypass surgery the day after Christmas and is still recuperating. Jennifer bravely told the doctors to do it now, she has a lot of living to do, and needs to get this corrected. She is getting back to normal, but it takes a while.
Thank you, Nobles and Ladies, for supporting our cause. Just a reminder, when you send a check to Shriners Hospital Houston or Shriners Hospital Galveston, please write: for Patient Services. This ensures the money stays at the Texas Hospital of your choice for our kids.
Past Potentate Dr. Steve Dryden has officially completed his tenure as Galveston Hospital Representative. If you are interested in being on the Board of Governors in Galveston, please notify me and I will help you apply!
For The Kids,
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder
Houston Hospital Board of Governors
FIRST OF ALL, Happy New Year and welcome to 2019! Calvin and Judy Carlton are stepping aside to let Steve and Sheryl Harris take the reins for another great year at Maskat! Don’t forget, we host Texas Shrine Allstate in 2019. We got a lot to do! Steve Harris will be officially installed as Illustrious Potentate of Maskat Temple at our January Stated Meeting on January 8, 2019. That is as early as it is possible for us to have a second Tuesday Stated Meeting. The meeting time will be changed, we will have our regular tiled Stated Meeting at 6:30pm, then bring the Ladies in for the meal, followed by the Installation of Officers and a reception.
We had Officer Elections at Stated Meeting in December, and the slate looks a little different this year. Chief Rabban Steve Harris was elected to replace Illustrious Potentate Calvin Carlton, the outgoing Potentate. Bing Miller became Chief Rabban, Kenny Lemons moved up to Assistant Rabban, Dooby Fox was elected High Priest and Prophet, and Greg Talley [Scruffy] was elected Oriental Guide. P.P. Greg Stockton will become Treasurer after a two year hiatus, and P.P. John Tunnell will still be Recorder, by vote of the Nobility. P.P. Charles Oldham was reelected to another two year term on the Financial Advisory Board, as was Bob Hamblin. P.P. Mark Reed took Greg Stockton’s remaining year and Noble Bill Yates has one more year remaining on his term on the Financial Advisory Board.
On a really somber note, Past Potentate Jeff Gainer lost his wife Bree Saturday. December 8. Her services were held yesterday, December 17, at Owens & Brumley. Bree was the Potentate’s Lady in 2017, and was only 42 years old. It was a moving service for a beautiful lady, taken from us and her family entirely too young.
The Potentate’s Ball, Honoring Potentate Steve Harris and Lady Sheryl, is scheduled for Saturday January 26. Illustrious Sir Steve promises us a “Real Country no Tux Hoedown” for his Potentate’s Ball! Super Bowl, and you know Shriners, any excuse for a party, will be Sunday, February 3, 2019. If that’s not a good excuse for a Party, I don’t know what would qualify! This year, Divan Midwinter will be in Tyler February 7-9. Divan /Units Council will meet on Monday, February 11, and Stated Meeting is February 12th. Don’t forget to sign up for the O.G. Trip which begins Thursday February 28-March 3 in Shreveport, Louisiana. We will tour the Shriners Hospital there Friday, and O.G. Greg Talley will serve everyone on the bus libations and sandwiches all the way to Shreveport and back!
Jennifer and I attended the Christmas Tree Lighting at Shriners Hospital For Children in Houston on Friday, December 1, followed by full Board Meeting Saturday Morning and Christmas Party that night. In addition to our regular patients at the tree lighting ceremony, many former patients and their families were present. Also several Shrine Dignitaries were in attendance. Everyone enjoyed the celebration, especially the Kids when Santa and his elves showed up!
If you see Calvin or Judy Carlton, congratulate them on a great Shrine Year! His last official Party will be New Year’s Eve. We have a great band lined up [Hijackers Hollow Band] and black eye peas at midnight. His last official act is relinquishing the reins to Steve Harris at Stated Meeting on January 8, 2019!
Thanks for being Shriners, Gentlemen, and thank you Ladies for helping us be better men and Shriners!
For the Children
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder