I am trying to get my article done this weekend, because we are leaving town soon after the May Stated Meeting. Have to go to Houston for the Hospital Board of Governors Meeting, and we are leaving for D.C. from there for a Marine Corps Reunion the next weekend. By the time we return, it may be too late to get it in the Wildcat!
The Month of June has two major Shrine activities-TSA Convention June 6-9, and the Oil Bowl on June 16. 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 two 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 12, the Tuesday before the Oil Bowl.
I know many of you are aware we have a National Patient Ambassador coming here for the activities. Also, for the first time since 2005, we are sponsoring an Oil Bowl Basketball venue at Rider High School Gymnasium on Friday, June 15! Girls will play at 6:00pm, followed by the Boys at 7:30pm. Alec Cabacungan from Chicago SHC, one of our most noted patients, will be here to help raise money for Patient Care at our Hospitals. We are honored to have him and his parents here in Wichita Falls! We intend to utilize Alec to tell his story to the players and the fans. On Friday, we will do some advertising with local news media.
That is a lot to cram into the first two full weekends, and thankfully, we have a couple weeks afterwards to regroup! 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 July 15-19 in Daytona Beach, Florida! The first time Daytona Beach ever hosted a Shrine Convention was 2017, and they did a wonderful job. So good, they were asked to do it twice in a row. Once again, Jerry Sloan 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.
The first of May marks Vidalia Onions at Maskat Shrine! We are taking presales for Vidalia Onions in the Office, ten dollars for a ten pound bag. This is a fundraiser we do to keep our doors open, so contributions are not tax deductible. But the onions are well worth the price. They will arrive from the fields around Vidalia, Georgia in the first week of May. Call Maskat at 940-766-4511. Another Maskat project, the Annual Golf Tournament, was held on Friday, April 27. Many local golfers join us for this event. Held at River Creek this year, Chairman Gordy Antill planned a great event. The Golf Tournament will be history when you read this, but I thought I should mention it again!
On June 16, we have the Oil Bowl Classic at Memorial Stadium here in Wichita Falls. Of course, we always have the Oil Bowl around this time. But I want to remind you that this year, we have at least one special guest, our most noted Shriner’s Hospital Ambassador, Alec Cabacungan will be here to help raise money. Since raising funds for our Shriners Hospitals for Children is the reason we gather these stellar high school athletes yearly for this contest, we invite a Hospital Ambassador from time to time to bolster our attendance at the game. Alec will be here Friday, June 15 for publicity of the Oil Bowl Game, and will appear at local media outlets and spend some time with the players. He will be at the game Saturday, June 16, and will sign pictures and greet fans. Despite his physical condition, he is a very accomplished young man, devoting many hours to his passion for sports, and promoting our Hospitals.
Alec is a patient at Shriner’s Hospital in Chicago. Coincidentally, Maskat has two patients who currently go to Chicago for treatment, and we provide transportation for their trips, just as we do if they go to Galveston, Houston or Shreveport. It is more expensive to send a child to Chicago from Wichita Falls than the closer Hospitals. But the Chicago Hospital has the specialists who treat our two patient’s condition.
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. The Oil Bowl Football Game is our Major Temple Fundraiser for the Hospitals. 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 game will be held June 16 at Memorial Stadium. Hope to see you there! If the game is a financial success, our children will benefit! In 2017, the game was highly successful! We are planning ahead to try to make 2018 even better. 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 financial success, so spread the news!
The Sporting Clays Shoot is June 2 at North Texas Field and Stream, and the week before the Oil Bowl, on June 6-9, we have our TSA Convention in Tyler, Texas. So June is a fairly active Month for Maskat Shrine.
This year, the Imperial Shrine Convention will be held in Daytona Beach, Florida, for the second time in as many years on July 15-19. Several Provost Guard Members are going to compete with Provost Guard pistol teams from other Temples again this year. Daytona Beach is hosting its second Imperial Shrine Convention. Our Provost Guard will be competing in Imperial for the second 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.
For the Children
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder
Happy Easter on April 1, 2018! 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 myself from time to time!
I do have some activities worthy of note in April besides the Dinner Theatre, which is on Saturday, April 14 this year. Our Annual Golf Tournament at River Creek, which is the next Friday, April 20. 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 other duties. You get to see your friends and ensure that the tournament functions smoothly. Volunteer for the Golf Tournament at the Stated Meeting on April 10. Chairman Gordie Antill will be glad you did! That’s about it for April, except for Maskat Happy Hour on Thursday, April 19.
Vidalia Onion Sales begin this year around May 1, as usual. They can’t give us an exact date because vegetables do not work that way. When they are ready, we will sell them, but it will be sometime in early May. They are known as the sweetest onion in the world! Buy some, you will be glad you did!
We have some major events this summer to prepare for. We have TSA in Tyler and the Oil Bowl on back to back weekends, as always. TSA in Tyler is June 7-9, and the Oil Bowl is June 16. This Oil Bowl will have Alec Cabacungan doing some color commentary and talking about our Hospital System. He is a patient at Chicago Hospital and has agreed to come and be a part of our celebration. Most people know Alec from his commercials for Shriners Hospitals for Children. He is a very talented young man in many ways. His TV spots about our Hospital System is where many people see him, but he has been sports broadcasting for many Shrine ballgames. I hope you will come to the Oil Bowl and see him and support the game. All the proceeds from the game go to our two Texas Shrine Hospitals, in Galveston and Houston.
Then we have the Shrine Imperial Convention starting on July 15 in Daytona Beach. It is a long way from Wichita Falls, on the East side of Florida. This is our second Imperial there in as many years Ordinarily we do not have many Nobles at an Imperial when it’s so far away, but for the second year in a row, our Provost Guard is going to go, compete, and join the parade with the Smoking Gun! Come join us at Daytona Beach, July 15-19!
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 of November, see or call me or Dr. Steve Dryden, the Galveston Hospital Rep, 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 going to be a here in a week and three days whether we are ready for it or not. I am attempting to write this column and think about packing up for the O.G. Trip to Shreveport at the end of the current week. I think O.G. Dooby Fox will remember to go on this one, since we are taking the trip with him in mind. Seems like he forgot all about it last year.
At our Divan Midwinter Conference the second weekend in February, we talked a lot about Membership, which is an ongoing problem, but we also talked a lot about shutting or repurposing some of our least productive hospitals to better utilize and protect our Endowment Fund. We will likely vote at Imperial this summer to close or repurpose two Burns Hospitals [Boston and Erie], leaving us with Galveston and Northern California. We simply do not have enough Burn Patients to maintain four Burns Centers. There may be more possible closings/ repurposing, but none we can specifically name at this time. We are doing a great job saving lives and making them better, but some of our locations are really 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 February 27 this year. Chairman Shaun Blacklock 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 has Guillaume Barre syndrome. She is about eight and is making great progress in her recovery. Dr. Barnes said the reason she has experienced a great recovery is because she was fortunate enough to contract this disease before puberty. She has regained most of her limb usage, and he said the later in life a patient contracts it, the less chance they have for a full recovery. We are proud of her and happy for her progress. It really makes me proud to be a Shriner!
We had Doctor Blackwell report to us on the Cleft Lip and Palate Program at SHC Houston. It is a program which involves many specialists and probably a minimum of five surgeries before the patient is eighteen. Speech, hearing, dental work, and facial reconstruction are all involved, depending upon the severity of the problem. Another source of pride for us as Shriners. We really are involved in making children’s lives better. It’s what we do!
I am delighted to tell you we have preliminary confirmation from Alec Cabacungan’s family he will make an official appearance at our Oil Bowl Game on Saturday, June 16. This is something we have pushed for to make the Oil Bowl a more profitable game for our Texas Shriners Hospitals and we are thrilled about it! We need to fill the seats!
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 Jerry Sloan for earning the Golden Fez Award for 2017! Just being himself earned him the recognition of that coveted award.
We start February with a Super Bowl Party on Sunday, February 4. This is always a fun party and I’m sure it will be this year as well. Your Divan will be going to Corpus Christi for Divan Midwinter on Thursday through Saturday, February 8-10. The rest of the Divan will come home Saturday, but Jennifer and I will be going up to Houston for the February Hospital Board of Governors Meeting which is on Monday. Stated Meeting is February 13 at Maskat. And don’t forget the Maskat Happy Hour on Thursday of that week.
The long awaited O.G. Trip to Shreveport Hospital is February 22-25. 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 even prouder to be a Shriner.
Don’t forget IHOP Pancake Day is February 27. Noble Shawn Blacklock is our man who makes it happen locally, but it is a group effort and 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. Houston Hospital honors a Patient of the Month at our Board Meetings. They are always a blessing for us who are fortunate enough to serve on the Board of Governors. This Month’s Honoree was a sixteen year old with a TBI [Traumatic Brain Injury]. He was found on the bathroom floor at his school and came to us for intensive rehab, not the TBI, which we do not treat. He came to us in a vegetative state, but after a month of rehab, he is all over the Hospital on his walker, talks in complete [if simple] sentences and goes to the bathroom by himself! His transformation is not complete, but he is working on it all the time! His progress is at the heart of why we are Shriners and Shrine Ladies.
Thanks 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.
For The Kids
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder
Houston Hospital Board of Governors
FIRST OF ALL, Happy New Year and welcome to 2018! Jeff and Bree Gainer have had a great year, and as things always go, they graciously stepped to the side to allow Calvin and Judy Carlton to assume the helm. Calvin Carlton will be officially installed as Illustrious Potentate of Maskat Temple at our January Stated Meeting on January 9, 2018. 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 Calvin Carlton was elected to replace Illustrious Potentate Jeff Gainer, the outgoing Potentate. Steve Harris became Chief Rabban, Bing Miller was elected Assistant Rabban, Kenny Lemons was elected High Priest and Prophet, and Dooby [Glen] Fox was elected Oriental Guide. P.P. Mark Reed will remain Treasurer, 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. Greg Stockton and Noble Bill Yates have one more year remaining on their terms on the Financial Advisory Board.
The Potentate’s Ball, Honoring Potentate Calvin Carlton and Lady Judy, is scheduled for Saturday January 27. Super Bowl, and you know Shriners, any excuse for a party, will be Sunday, February 4, 2018. If that’s not a good excuse for a Party, I don’t know what would qualify! This year, Divan Midwinter will be in Corpus Christi February 8-10. Divan /Units Council will meet on Monday, February 12, and Stated Meeting is February 13th. Don’t forget to sign up for the O.G. Trip which begins Thursday February 22-25 in Shreveport, Louisiana. We will tour the Shriners Hospital there Friday, and O.G. Dooby Fox 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 seemed to enjoy the celebration.
As I was finishing this column today, I got an email that a great Maskat Shriner, Noble Walt Johnston, passed away yesterday. May he Rest In Peace. To my knowledge, that is our only death for December thus far.
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