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2016 Recorder’s Corner

December 2016

Merry Christmas! I love this time of year. Everyone is more charitable to each other, mostly, except some who are still stuck one way or another on last week’s election results. I think life is what you make of it in a free country, and I just thank God we are lucky enough to live in the USA, no matter who represents us in Washington D.C.

The first week of November was a flurry of activity for Jennifer and me and for the Shriners and other volunteers who worked the Shriners Hospital Open Golf Tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Bob and Winnie Hamblin rode out there with us and also worked the Golf Tournament. Dr. Dryden and his Lady were there with the Galveston Board and, because they were present last year, showed us the ropes. It was a quick, fun filled week for us, but not a lot of time on the tables–really a busy, rewarding time. If you can see your way clear to go next year, they need workers! See me for details.  They were about two hundred short of the fifteen hundred volunteers they were shooting for. Only about three hundred were Shriners, so we could use some help! This raises money for our hospitals

We have Temple elections on December 13th, which is ordinarily a very well attended meeting. It should be, since we elect the men who will lead us for 2017. But the first thing on our December Shrine Calendar is the Foster Children Christmas Party on Monday, December 5th. This is one we cannot really publicize because many of these kids were taken from their parents. It warms your heart to see them sit on Santa’s lap and get a Christmas present from him! Maskat Christmas Dinner is scheduled for Thursday, December 15th, which is two days after Stated Meeting.  Come celebrate Christmas together!

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It is still a week from today, but it looks like we will have at least fourteen, but we always seem to have a few more than we thought.  That, in and of itself, is a blessing.

If you want to donate to the Shriners Hospitals, this is a special time of year to remember our great philanthropy.  We [you and me] help a lot of children have better lives through this healing ministry. Remember, we own the hospitals that treat the children at no charge to their family. Just make your check to SHC-HOUSTON or SHC-GALVESTON.  For Maskat Temple to receive credit for your donation, you have to send it directly to the Houston or Galveston Hospital. Or, since Dr. Steve Dryden goes to Galveston each month and I travel to Houston, call one of us and we will present it to Donor Development at our respective Hospital.

Don’t forget, we host the New Year’s Eve Celebration at Maskat this year for the Elks and the Shriners.  Bruce has hired the Eric Willis Band for the event. Come on out and enjoy yourself. It’s New Year’s Eve and Saturday night!

For the Children,
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder

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November 2016

November is upon us. Never mind that we are smack in the middle of October, we have to get this Wildcat ready for publication!  I attended the Daughters of the Nile Texas Days Banquet last evening.  It was a great event in every way. Greg Stockton’s Golden Chick crew catered a great meal, followed by a presentation by Cathy Moniaci, Houston SHC Hospital Administrator, and Chairman of the Board of Governor’s Richard Baker’s commentary. Richard told a story about “Tucker”, a miracle account of an eighteen year old who lost use of his lower body in a football collision and was told he would never walk again.  He reported to Houston SHC for treatment before Christmas last year in a wheelchair, and after three to four weeks of intensive physical therapy, walked out the front door unassisted. Nobles, Richard attended Tucker’s EA degree this spring. He wants to be a Shriner! Great news!

Cathy Moniaci’s presentation was more about the inner workings of Houston Hospital, complete with a slide show.  But it was no less of an emotional account.  She drilled in some statistics, and exactly what we treat in the way of orthopedic problems, cleft lip and palate, and sub -acute care. Sub- acute care, as explained, is intense physical therapy provided to patients who are not ready to go home but have been discharged from hospital treatment. This is the program that put “Tucker” back on his feet! The slides were “before and after” looks at actual patient success stories. I truly wish you could have been there to see these very moving presentations. Ask anyone who was there—it was great!  Then the Nile pageantry Units from across the state of Texas performed for us. A great night to be a Shriner!

The first weekend of October, we had the Dead Cow Cook and Chili cook. It was well managed and well attended. And, Maskat made some money!  Some receipts were pending at Stated Meeting, but we know we are $1100 in the black for the event! If I can get a total by tomorrow, I will pass it on. At Stated meeting, we presented membership milestones to men who had been Shriners for 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, and one gentleman, Noble Robert Hall of Vero Beach Florida, for seventy years! He could not make the event, but he is still a Shriner at Maskat Temple!  I am 71, and that makes me feel very young!

Hope you can make the Circus [29-30], the Ceremonial [28] and the fun golf tournament [on 21 October].  Those events are in our future for the remainder of October. In November, we have a get together at the Oasis to watch a Cowboy Game and decorate for Christmas on the 13th, and we have a Rib Cook at Maskat on Sunday afternoon [the 20th]. And Happy Thanksgiving!

I told this at Stated Meeting, but I think it’s worth repeating.  I was talking with a good friend of mine who is not a Shriner about my appointment to Shriner’s Hospitals Board of Governors at SHC- Houston and making the trip to the Hospital each month, and related to him that it was my favorite charity.  As you know, it isn’t difficult to get me talking about our Hospitals! He said it sounded like a great operation, and a couple weeks later, I got a check from him in the mail made out to SHC Houston for five hundred dollars. WOW! I am told this happens a lot, but this is a first for me. He said he preferred to remain anonymous, and I respect that. But thanks for your help, friend!

As I related last month, Jennifer and I will be out of town the first week of November to attend the Shriner’s Open Golf Tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada.  I’ll let you know how that goes. Among the volunteers are P.P. Steve and Edie Dryden and P.P. Bob and Winnie Hamblin, and Shriners from around the world. A Nile lady last night said “my choice for President may not win, but a pray God’s choice does.” My sentiments exactly! Thanks for being a Shriner, Gentlemen! God Bless America!

For the Children,
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder

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October 2016

Welcome to October! Probably the busiest month this year, generally speaking.  When you throw in the Daughters of the Nile activities, your Divan has something every weekend and a whole lot of week nights. No complaints here. Just normal Shrine activities happening!

This year, our Fall Ceremonial is on Friday, October 28. Nobles and Ladies, it is an “open” Ceremonial. Ladies are invited; and, after the program, we have a meal. If you know a Mason who would benefit from being a Shriner, ask him to join us! This is when we formally introduce and welcome all Nobles and their Ladies to Maskat Temple who have come on board throughout the year. We usually have some totally new Shriners come in officially at this time as well.  As always, a few new Nobles could help solve our membership problem. Ceremonial starts at 6:30 pm followed by a dinner around 7:45.  We still have high hopes for a ‘plus’ year in membership!

Other activities for October include the Dead Cow Cook-off and Chili Cook-off on October 7-8 at the Hatton Road Land, the Maskat “Fun Golf Tournament” on October 21, and the Maskat Shrine Circus on October 29-30 at the MPEC Center.  As I stated earlier, the Nile Activities include the Supreme Queen Visit and Ceremonial on October 1 and the Nile Texas days in Wichita Falls at our MPEC Center on the 13-15. Throw in Units Council on the 5th, Stated Meeting on the 11th, and the Annual Calendar Meeting on the 19th, plus the Blue Lodge Meetings, and things are pretty busy! We will award Membership Milestone Pins at October Stated Meeting. If Conner has not notified you; and, you are due a pin, call the office at 766-4511.

Come to the Circus, wear your Fez, and expect to do a little work!  We are taking the money for the elephant rides this year in addition to selling programs. We need help, Nobles and Ladies!! But if you can’t help, show up; and, if you can’t show up, buy your tickets and give them away!

I want to report to you that Maskat Temple had more clothing donated to our drop boxes than any other Texas Temple over the summer Months. This translates into dollars for our Houston Hospital, so keep contributing used clothing to this worthy cause. And Nobles and Ladies, if you know a child who could benefit from treatment at either our orthopedic Hospital in Houston or our Burns Hospital in Galveston, help is a phone call away! Call 800-237-5055 to apply. That number is also in an ad on the back page of the Wildcat.

Jennifer and I will be out of town the first week of November to attend the Shriner’s Open Golf Tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada.  No, not as a pro [anybody ever see me play golf?], but as a volunteer to work the holes.  Something I have wanted to do since they started this Hospital Fund Raiser, and I finally see my way clear to go.  Wish us luck, travel mercies, and financial Blessings on our Hospitals!  As Shriners, we own them! I’m Proud to be an Owner!

Thanks for being a Shriner, Gentlemen, and thank you Ladies for putting up with us!

For the Children,
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder

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September 2016

Hope your summer has gone well. Today is the first day of school for Wichita Falls students.  If you have young ones, I hope their day went well.  When I was a kid, I always looked forward to the first day of school as a new beginning.  Most times, I could hardly sleep the night before school started. I thought of it as a time to start over and do things right.  I think most kids, over my thirty one years as an educator, approached school with the same sort of optimism. Whatever the case, I hope your young ones had a great day today. A good start is always important.

Last Thursday, August 18, I went to Houston for a fiftieth Anniversary Celebration at Shriners Hospital in Houston. Joining me from Maskat were Potentate Bruce Urban and Treasurer Greg Stockton. I am thrilled that we had great Wichita Falls representation, even though it is a long drive for a short event. Your Temple won an award for being the most improved Temple out of the thirteen Texas Temples in donations to SHC Houston! Bruce and Greg said it was well worth the drive, and I concur!

Although we were “dark” in July and August, we did have a couple of parties at Maskat. In July, we had a Rib and Barbecue cook; and, in August, we enjoyed a “fish fry and ice cream freeze off.” Both of these events were “mini fundraisers” for Maskat, prepared by our newly formed cooking unit and enjoyed by all who were served.  The food was great and so was the fellowship!

Our first event for September is the Stated Meeting on the 13th, and it is a Ladies Night and sign up night for the Dead Cow Barbecue Cook-off and the Chili Cook-off, which will be held concurrently at the Maskat Land on Hatton Road.  Chairman Noble Scott McNeely and his committee have done a superb job of preplanning for the event, but it is up to our Nobility and Ladies to make it work.  It will be held October 7 -8 at the land.

Other September events include a Maskat Circus Kickoff party at 6:30pm on Friday, September 16, and a Fall Shotgun Shoot the next day at the Field and Stream.  In an emergency change of locations, the Provost Guard Fall Invitational will be held in Wichita Falls instead of San Antonio! They asked us to come to their assistance since their pistol range was shut down for the construction of a pipe line.  It’s no secret that Maskat has the best range in the state, so we were a logical choice. I know we can count on our Nobility to help, that’s what we do best!

Thanks for being a Shriner, Gentlemen, and thank you Ladies for all your help!

For the Children,
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder

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August 2016

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 initiated four new members at the Stated Meeting. Travis Burleson, Christopher Hamilton, Chase Thornton, and Brandon Vaughn all became Nobles. Congratulations, gentlemen.  I hope your journey is as rewarding and fulfilling as mine has been!

Your Imperial Representatives [three of us] recently returned from the Annual Convention of Shriners International, held this year in Tampa Florida! As expected, we had no Temple Units competing due to time constraints and distance. But the Fourth of July Parade there was a Shrine Parade with plenty of units from all over the Eastern part of the USA! PP Terry Huff was appointed to replace Potentate Bruce Urban who had urgent business challenges here that required his presence.

We had a lot of business items on the agenda, some of which affect all Temples; bylaws changes which should improve our fraternity financially. I will attempt to explain each change that will affect all temples on a local level. First, The Shriner Magazine, which you receive quarterly, will now be allowed to sell advertising for products and services much like our Wildcat does. It was advertisement free in years past.  Secondly, Shriners International [S.I.] will be permitted to furnish a list of temple members to a third party for the purposes of publication, distribution, and sale of a directory of members of temples. This sounds harmless, but I voted against it because I do not like the idea of furnishing a list of names to a third party. But it passed by a 2/3 majority, mainly because individual members may “opt out” of the directory, which makes the proposition more palatable.  Change #3: S.I. will be permitted to use the lists of temple members to solicit gifts, contributions and bequests and to sell products or services by S.I.  Change #4: S.I. will be permitted to use the lists to promote the sale of memorabilia by the Imperial Potentate with the proceeds benefiting S.I. The promotion and sale of such items will be directed by a resolution adopted by the Board of Directors of S.I.

I apologize for the length of the foregoing paragraph, but we as Shriners need to be aware of these changes. They are all designed to save money for our fraternity and delay another per capita dues increase if they have the desired effect. Of course, if each one of us would bring another member into the fold, our membership would double, and we would solve that problem!

As always, the highlight was the public relations presentation on Wednesday afternoon where we met the newest patient ambassadors.  These children 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-rending, 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 Shriners 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.

Meanwhile, I can share with you that the Oil Bowl was a financial success, and thank you for supporting it! If you have not paid for your tickets, you may still do so. This is our only Shriners Hospital Benefit this year. Keep in mind, any monetary contribution made to the Oil Bowl by purchasing your tickets or via donation is income tax deductible.

This is a lengthy message already, but I need to mention some important items. Billy will just have to just make room! SHC Houston is celebrating fifty years in the Shrine Hospital System. Houston Shriners sponsored a Crippled Children’s Hospital dating from 1920 to 1966 at various locations in Houston. They started it at the Baptist Sanitarium, relocated in 1930 to the Methodist Hospital, moved to the Blue Bird Cottage in 1932, moved again to Hermann Hospital in 1949, and opened Arabia Crippled Children Clinic and Hospital in 1952. It was renamed the Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children in 1966 when it became a part of Shriners Hospitals. The word “Crippled” was removed from the logo sometime after 2000, because our children do not consider themselves crippled just because of orthopedic problems.

You may purchase a commemorative tee shirt of the event for ten dollars. The Divan and their Ladies had an opportunity to buy them at TSA. I will take your money and shirt sizes to Houston on August 18, and they will ship them to Maskat in early September.  I am starting a list, and there is an ad  elsewhere in this publication.  Maskat Temple will be recognized at the 50th Anniversary Celebration on August 18 as the “Most Improved in Temple Donations to Houston Hospital” for the year 2015. We were given a plaque at TSA confirming that designation, an honor of which I am most proud. Of course, The Nobility and our Ladies did it, so I am proud of YOU! Thank you all for your donations. This is a traveling award, we earned the distinction, but to hold it, we have to improve over last year. I think we are up to the challenge. We had a financially successful Oil Bowl Benefit Game, proceeds to be evenly divided between Galveston and Houston Hospitals. We are members of a small but generous Temple!

Thanks for being a Shriner and a Mason, and be Proud of your involvement!

John Tunnell, PP Recorder    

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June 2016

Largely due to the efforts of Chairman Elvin Dudley and his stalwarts, the Onion Sales are in the very last stages! Thanks to a huge volunteer effort and storage provided by Potentate Bruce Urban, the Vidalias were sent to new homes to be enjoyed by folks from Wichita Falls and truly all over the state of Texas. The few we have remaining are being sold as this article is being penned.  Thanks for your efforts–I was out of town much of the time.  Also, the Maskat Golf Tournament took place last Friday, so May’s Shrine activities are almost concluded.

The Month of June has two major Shrine activities–Texas Shrine Association Annual Convention in Pasadena, Texas, on 8-11 and the Oil Bowl Classic here in Wichita Falls culminating in the playing of the Oil Bowl Football Game on Saturday, June 18, at Memorial Stadium. The proceeds from the 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 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.  Our thanks to Oil Bowl Chairman Yoshi Fukasawa for all his efforts. The late Past Potentate Gary Hill, his predecessor and mentor, passed away in late April, and many of us consider this game to be a tribute to his memory. Please buy your tickets, support and attend the game, and wear your Fez.  The precious children in our Shriners Hospitals depend on our support. Without Shriners [that’s us] our Hospitals would soon be history.

I feel the need to digress at this point, because my Lady Jennifer and I returned Sunday from Orlando, Florida. I attended a reunion with my other Fraternity, a Battalion of ageing Marines who forged a bloody bond on the rice paddies in South Vietnam in 1965-70. We have this homecoming every two years to honor the 566 men Killed in Action during the time First Battalion Seventh Marine Regiment was “in country.” They died for their brothers, and there is no greater love. Some of it is fun, much of it is not, but the experience is always cathartic; lots of laughter, tears, and love from the only people who really “had your back” in a literal sense, half a world away from home. Much of the USA turned away, Congress gradually stopped funding the effort, but we knew who to trust. In my opinion, that’s brotherhood.

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. You may have the opportunity to make a difference in the life of a deserving child, and there is no better feeling than that!

Also, come to the Stated Meeting on June 14! We have the Golden Bowl Drawing every month, and you must be present to win.  Noble David Lane’s name was drawn this month, and he missed winning $200.00! It’s $250.00 in June, because we add $50.00 every Month! Looking into the future, July 3-7 finds your Divan in Tampa Florida for Imperial Convention, and Potentate Urban has designated Saturday, July 16 as the date of our expanded Restoration Party. This is a RIB DINNER and it is open to all potential candidates and Shriners and their Ladies.  We are reaching out to all Blue Lodges with an invitation, and of course, an RSVP Must be Required for everyone!

Thanks for being a Shriner, Nobles, and Ladies, thank you for supporting our efforts.

For the Children,
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder

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May 2016

Nobles and Ladies, April is just a little over halfway done, and May’s article is almost ready. March was a good month for membership. We had no deaths, a new member (Noble Ananias Edwards), and a reinstatement (Noble Henry Theierl).  Since restorations count toward membership, Maskat Temple was breaking even for the year! But, as you may have guessed, membership is a moving target.  Before our April Stated Meeting, the Black Camel had visited six times. We were saddened by the passing of Nobles Lee Miks, Joe Keesee, Bobby Dean, James Berger, Thomas Shelton, and Gerald Johnston.  But Alan Donaldson reinstated and Danny Sneddon became a Shriner in April.  I have to recount Henry Theierl’s story about his reinstatement. I generally ask a Noble what prompted him to return. He said that it was seeing  that kid on the commercials about the Hospitals–nearly every time he turned on television!  Alex [the kid] is a prime example of what we do well.  He makes us look good to the public. He tugs at your heartstrings!

We are taking presales for Vidalia Onions in the Maskat 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 are so sweet you can eat them like an apple! They will arrive from Vidalia Georgia in the first week of May.  Call Maskat at 940-766-4511. We offer free local delivery on prepaid orders.  Another Maskat project, the Annual Golf Tournament, will be held on Friday, May 13.  Many local golfers join us for this event.  I am going to a Marine Corps Reunion in Orlando, Florida, that weekend, but that is no great loss to the Golf Tournament.  I can’t even play well enough to do anything but slow things down! Lousy is not an adequate description of my golf game!

At the Board of Governor’s Meeting in Houston this month, an “EOS” machine was added to our wish list. It is a high resolution, 3 dimensional x-ray machine, with about one-tenth the radiation risk of a regular machine, which makes it about ten times safer for developing bones, in addition to the superior imaging. Children with orthopedic problems are subjected to x-rays much more frequently than other kids, and we are convinced the advanced technology is well worth the money. The big problem is the price tag!  With the three year service warranty and installation costs, it is a bit over $750,000.  I read in this Month’s Scottish Rite Magazine they already have one installed at the Dallas Scottish Rite Hospital!  Some of you are trying to figure what exactly “EOS” represents as an acronym. I know I was!  The answer is nothing!  “EOS” is a French word referencing “Goddess of Dawn.”  It is a new day in the x-ray department!

To refresh your memory, if an individual wants to give money to Houston Shriners Hospital for Children [SHC], you can designate how you want it spent. I usually suggest “for Patient Services.” But if you want to designate it to a specific item, you can say “for EOS Machine,” or some other project you would like to help succeed.

Two more things about the 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.  In 2016, we have already had 140 referrals from physicians, parents, and people like you. The point is, don’t hesitate to get involved! Sometimes you can help make the difference in a child’s life by doing something. The other thing is our Oil Bowl Football Game. This is our Major Temple Fundraiser for the Hospitals, half to Galveston, half to Houston.  Donations to the Oil Bowl Game are for the Hospitals; and, therefore, tax deductible. It will be held June 18th at Memorial Stadium.  Hope to see you there!  If the game is a financial success, our children will benefit! Shriners, thanks for being a Shriner, and Ladies, thanks for supporting our efforts.

For the Children,
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder

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April 2016

I was looking for a little inspiration last week for this month’s article.  Stated Meeting helped a lot, and then I went to the Rio Grande Valley Shrine Club for the SHC – Houston’s Outreach Clinic the next day.  Each year, we have at least one of our meetings in conjunction with an outreach clinic.  It gives the Board a little insight into the backgrounds of some of the children we serve.

At our Stated Meeting, it was my duty to inform the Nobility of three deaths for February.  Nobles Freddy Horany, Boyd Miller, and Gene Paul Miller passed away in that short Month. Accepting the fact that death is a part of life is tough sometimes; but, because it affects our Membership numbers, it’s even more difficult for me–especially adding them together with Nobles Buddy Richardson and Paul Lance, who passed away earlier in the year.  That’s five good Nobles.  For a little good news, five Nobles joined our Fraternity. Kenneth French and Leo [Pug] Gilliland were restored to membership, and Jim Byrne, Jr., Dustin Whitely and Ananias Edwards were welcomed as new Nobles. So, we were even for the year as of March 8.  We welcome new members–whether by affiliation or restoration, they help our membership. But try not to die, Nobles! We do mourn your passing in so many ways.

A little about the Outreach Clinic.  We have many patients from that area of Texas; and, although the kids usually speak English, most of the parents have difficulty with the language.  Our patients from Mexico itself are not as conversant, but some are surprisingly fluent in English.  Fortunately, many of our Hospital Staff are bilingual. The outreach clinics provide follow up appointments for nearly everything. Technicians rebuild and make prosthetics, and doctors evaluate patient progress.  They have a small gait lab. They also evaluate new patients and schedule appointments for those who have conditions we treat.

I met men in fezzes from many Temples, including Mexico City and some Nobles who are snowbirds from the Northern USA.  Most of the Nobles are members from Al Amin [Corpus Christi], but many spend winter months with the R.G.V. Shrine Club. It was a very enlightening trip for Jennifer and me. however the 620 miles there and back was a little tedious.

The Potentate’s Ball was a grand night, and the IHOP Pancake days raised upward of five thousand dollars for our Hospitals. Maskat definitely did their part! Thanks Nobles for participating! We had our March Stated Meeting the night of IHOP Pancake Days, and the Provost Guard cooked a masterful stew. I may be a little biased, because that is my Unit. But it was great.  That Saturday night, we had the first Maskat Cook, and it was a great meal, with pulled pork, baked potatoes and trimmings and Don Pepper’s Famous Butter Beans. Ya shoulda been there! We had a good crowd. We finish out March with our Clowns hosting their Texas Midwinter here in Wichita Falls this weekend, and Maskat’s annual Easter Egg Hunt the next weekend.  The next day is Easter Sunday. Have a blessed day.

April isn’t quite as full, but we do have the Provost Guard Midwinter Shoot in Dallas the first weekend, Spring Shotgun shoot on the 16th, and Golf Unit Midwinter here on April 20-22.  Hope to see you around the Shrine.

Thanks for being a Shriner, Nobles, and Ladies, thanks for supporting our efforts.

For the Children,
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder

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March 2016

It’s that time of the month once again, the time when Billy Bumgarner emails you to say, “time for next Month’s article!”  Several fun-filled days left in this one, even if it is short. Your Divan went to Houston for our midwinter meeting the first weekend and rushed back to Wichita Falls for the Super Bowl Party. Except me. I had to stay over for a Hospital Board Meeting on Monday. It was a very rewarding meeting, but Jennifer and I were ready to be home! We still have the O.G. Trip to Shreveport and the Potentate’s Ball the last Saturday of the Month. I leave for Tampa for a Recorder’s Conference on Sunday, then back to Wichita Falls on Tuesday.

At Houston, we discussed Shrine’s ever present Membership deficit, but wait! Five of the thirteen Texas Temples managed a plus last year, finishing the year with more members than they started. Unfortunately, we did not. But the trend is promising. I met the Grand Master of Texas Masons at Divan Midwinter, and shares our concerns about membership. He is a member of Hella [Dallas] Temple. He understands our problem and shares our concerns. So we have a shared goal!

We lost two members in January to the Black Camel. Nobles Paul Lance and Buddy Richardson were hard working Shriners, and I knew them well. Buddy was in the Drum Corps in its Heyday and was one reason I joined the Shrine. We shared a desire to make the Maskat Drum and Bugle Corps competitive. Paul Lance was a member of the Foot Patrol. They will be missed. And we have lost another member already in February. Gene Paul Miller of Burkburnett, also a Drum Corps member and a Clown. I don’t know everybody in Maskat, but I knew these three men well. On a brighter note, we welcomed Jim Byrne, Jr. and Dustin Whitely into Maskat in the first two Months of 2016. I do not usually give a Membership report here, but I thought it important to share the fact that we are down one for the year already. If you know a Mason who should be a Shriner, please encourage him to join!

Potentate’s Ball plans are definitely under way! On the 27th of February, we celebrate the start of Bruce and Janna Urban’s year as Potentate and First Lady. Hope to see you there! Then, we start the Month with Stated Meeting on March 8th, which was designated as IHOP Pancake Day in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. This is the largest one-day Shrine Hospital Fund Raiser in terms of revenue collected. So it is extremely important to our Hospitals. Nobles, if you have not signed for a two hour shift, you should do so if possible. So, everybody go eat pancakes at IHOP for free and leave a donation at the door for Shriner’s Hospitals for Children. Everybody wins! And go to Maskat for Shrine that night. Provost Guard is cooking!

In January, the Maskat Shrine Clowns contributed $1500 to send three Houston Hospital Children to Camp Love Without Limits. That was half the revenue they raised through the Sneaker Fund in 2015. The rest went to Burns Research at Galveston Hospital. Thanks to our Clown Unit for all they do! Also, the Clown’s will host their Midwinter Meeting for Texas on March 17-19. See Noble Greg Talley for a schedule of events. The skits are open to the public.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the retirement of Temple Bugler after 35 plus years of faithful service to Maskat Temple. We have been friends since I entered the Shrine in 1979. He began playing taps for us shortly thereafter. He will be 98 years young on February 12. I wish you many more wonderful Birthdays, Noble Dave Hale! What an inspirational man!

Thanks for being a Shriner, Nobles, and Ladies, thanks for supporting our efforts.

For the Children,
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder

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February 2016

Happy Valentine’s Day!   Among other events, it is one we need to observe in February if we are married or have kids! February is always short, and if you are a Shriner, pretty busy. Leap years like 2016 may have one more day in February, but that only matters if you were born February 29 and have to wait until you are 84 to reach age 21 and buy a drink legally. Unless I miscounted, which is possible.

Your Divan will be in Houston February 3-6, returning to Maskat Temple Saturday just in time for the Super Bowl Party on Sunday! Except for me; I will remain in Houston through Monday for the Houston Hospital Board Meeting. I would rather party with you guys, but duty calls. February Board Meeting is at an inconvenient time, but it’s worth the effort.

Stated Meeting February 9 is LADIES NIGHT, and the Nile is cooking and serving. I don’t know what the menu is, but it will be good! Last Month we had 83 members present for Stated Meeting, which is a great number. It indicates the Nobility is interested in Maskat Temple. We also had a good turnout for the first ever Formal Open Installation. Since this was not an official meeting, a Noble count was not taken. But it was well attended by our Nobles, Ladies, and other guests. Come on out for LADIES NIGHT and enjoy a great meal prepared by Daughters of the Nile.

The long awaited O.G. Trip to Shreveport Hospital is February 18-21. You need to contact Conner in the Office to sign up. 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 Hospital in Shreveport on Friday. It gives everyone a chance to see what the Shrine supports and makes you even prouder to be a Shriner. I announced in January Stated Meeting the items on the Shreveport Hospital wish list. Whether you can come on the trip or not, you can bring these items to the office and we will take them on the bus and present them to the Hospital. They do accept cash and checks, and we usually take up a collection. Call the office and they will email a list, or just come by and pick it up!

The Potentate’s Ball is the last big event for February. Potentate Bruce Urban and Lady Janna are already working on the details to make this a good time for everyone. They have a great band scheduled and a fantastic food bar. Price is $60.00 per couple, $35.00 single. Call Maskat Temple at 940-766-4511 and make your reservations today. We honor credit cards, but it takes a minute or two, so try to pay early to avoid a line at the door!

As a Proud Houston Hospital Representative, I want to thank you for supporting our Hospitals. And accolades to our Clowns, who donated $1500.00 with the help of our Nobility, to make it possible for three kids to attend Camp Love Without Limits! As always, a big thank you for being a Shriner, and Thanks to our Ladies for supporting our efforts!

For The Kids,
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder

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JANUARY 2016

FIRST OF ALL, Happy New Year and welcome to 2016! Charles and Deanna Dean had a wonderful year, and now it’s time for a new Potentate and First Lady. Bruce Urban will be installed as Illustrious Potentate of Maskat Temple on Friday, January 8th, 2016.  Bruce decided to have the Official Open Installation on the Friday before the Stated Meeting. We will have a formal installation of officers on that night, followed by a reception. Stated Meeting will be on the second Tuesday, January 12th, the usual Stated Meeting time and place.

Foster Children’s Christmas Party went really well, and we gave presents to 83 youngsters. If you have never been to this event, you should attend it sometime in the future. Our Clowns really stepped up their involvement this year and made it a great event, especially through the eyes of a child. They made us all look good and made Christmas mean more to some children who have been recently placed in foster care and need some inspiration. Thank you, Clowns, for all you do for the children!

We had Officer Elections at Stated Meeting in December, and the slate looks a little different this year. Chief Rabban Bruce Urban was elected to replace Illustrious Potentate Charles Dean, the outgoing Potentate. Jeff Gainer became Chief Rabban, Calvin Carlton was elected Assistant Rabban, Steve Harris was elected High Priest and Prophet, and Bing Miller was elected Oriental Guide. P.P. Greg Stockton was reelected Treasurer, and John Tunnell will remain Recorder, by vote of the Nobility. P.P. Bob Hamblin will replace Noble Mark Baker on the Financial Advisory Board, Bill Yates was reelected to another two year term, and P.P. John Christoff and P.P. Charles Oldham still have a year on their two year term. One more thing on the January calendar is the Montague County Shrine Club Party on Saturday, January 30. Details will appear in the Wildcat.

We do not have many scheduled activities other than the aforementioned in the month of January. Looking ahead, however, we have a bunch in February! The Divan will be gone the first weekend to TSA Midwinter, returning just in time for the Super Bowl Party on Sunday, February 7th. Divan /Units Council will meet on Monday, February 8th, and Stated Meeting is February 9th. Don’t forget to sign up for the O.G. Trip starting Thursday, February 18-21 to Shreveport. We will tour the Shriners Hospital there Friday, and O.G. Bing Miller will serve everyone on the bus libations and sandwiches all the way to Louisiana and back! February 27th is the Potentate’s Ball for Illustrious Sir Bruce Urban and Lady Janna, which is our last official activity for the Month of February.

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