2014 Recorder’s Corner

December 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! I think I can say that without fear of offending anyone, but also just in case, Happy Hanukah!! This is my favorite season, and I guess it always will be as long as there are kids around. There is something magical about seeing the hope in the sparkle of their eyes that seems to make even the most dedicated Scrooges amongst us soften up a little. The December Wildcat is a little late to tell you about our Foster Kids Christmas Party, which we sponsor each year, but it is one of the things we do for Wichita Falls each year that gets us in the Christmas mood. If you missed it, there is always next year. But I highly recommend it!

We have Maskat Shrine elections at the Stated Meeting on the second Tuesday (December 9th), so it is an important meeting to attend. But it is NOT a “Ladies Night!” So come on up and “throw the bums out!” Just kidding, we have a fine slate of officers, and Bing Miller is throwing his hat in the ring as a candidate for the office of Oriental Guide. Somebody apparently convinced him that a walk to Shreveport might be fun. For you new Shriners, this is an event called the OG Trip where the new OG gets to prove his stamina by serving drinks and snacks to everyone all the way to Shreveport, Louisiana, and back! If you are a New Noble, this is your chance to see our first Shrine Hospital and witness firsthand the great work the Shrine does for children with orthopedic problems.

Maskat will have a Christmas Dinner on Thursday, December 11th. THAT is a Ladies Night! The Rider High School Orchestra will entertain with Christmas Music, and this is most certainly an entertaining event featuring a great group of talented young musicians. The Rider Orchestra puts on a great show. I look forward to hearing them each year.

Our New Years Eve Party will feature the musicians that play at the Montague County Shrine Club Party each year. This event, scheduled for New Year’s Eve which is always December 31st (hence the name), is a great time with great friends. We have not sponsored one in several years, but we wanted to give it a try. With this great band for entertainment, it should prove to be well worth the price of admission. Come on out and ring in a New Year with your Shrine friends.

Once again, Merry Christmas. May you and yours have a wonderful Holiday Season!

Thanks for being a Shriner Nobles. Your membership makes a difference in the lives of some very deserving children, our patients!

John Tunnell, PP Recorder


November 2014

Well, despite the fact that it has not been raining much, October has been a pretty good respite from the heat! We still have a week and a half, so pray for rain. We really need it! On the other hand, the weather was great for a Chili Cookoff, which Maskat sponsored last weekend at P-2. A big THANK YOU to Keith Morton and the P-2 crew for allowing us to set up on their parking lot for the event. We could not have done it without your help.

We presented Membership Milestone Pins to Nobles who have had 25, 30, and more years of service with the Shrine at the October Stated Meeting. We also had a Sunday Football Day at Maskat for the Dallas Cowboys-New York Giants Game yesterday, and the Cowboys won! Hard to believe that makes six in a row! GO COWBOYS! The crowd out there made victory even sweeter!

At the November Stated Meeting, it is my duty to read the names of Nobles who are in danger of suspension for non-payment of dues. This is done so that the Nobility [that is us] has a chance to encourage them to stay with us. As in years past, if we can retain these members, we can finish the year with a gain! I probably don’t need to tell you how important membership is to our Temple.

November Stated Meeting is November 11 this year. The Veterans Day Parade is November 8th; and, as always, we have several units entered. Come out and watch! We owe these Veterans our praise because, at one time in their lives, they wrote a blank check to the USA for everything they had or hoped to have in the future, including their lives. The USA [that is us] cashed a large number of those checks over the years, each one representing someone’s life. Thank you to all our Veterans, and Semper Fidelis to all my Marine Corps Comrades.

Just a note about the Clothing Drop Boxes for Shriners Hospitals for Children–there are several scattered throughout Wichita Falls and Bowie. Thanks to the businesses and Shriners who place these boxes for your use to help the Hospitals. Drop your used clothing in any of them, and you help our Children

Happy Thanksgiving to you all, and Thanks for being a Shriner!
John Tunnell, PP Recorder.


October 2014

First, a little good news. We ‘saved’ three of the five Shriners on the suspense list for their Blue Lodge, basically because Donna Hyde called them. We are still trying on the other two. I am thankful for the three Nobles we retained, but I feel bad for the two we were unable to keep. Perhaps by the end of September, we will have them back. I hate to make membership sound like a numbers game, but that is a pretty accurate assessment. I have been Recorder here since 1998, and we have lost more members out the back door most of those years than we have brought in the front. And, the percentage lost to death has remained fairly constant, so we need to work harder at keeping the members we have. I don’t know the answer to the problem of member retention; if I did I would share it with you.

We do have our Fall Ceremonial on November 1st at Maskat. It’s a great time to bring in new Nobles. If you know a Mason who would benefit from being a Shriner, ask him to join us! A few new Nobles could help solve our membership problem. Call Membership Chairman Sam McPherson for details. You will find his number in the Wildcat. We still have high hopes for a ‘plus’ year in membership!

The Sporting Clays shoot under Chairman Bobby Dean netted around $2,000 for Maskat! Great job, Bobby! We have the Circus coming up next Tuesday and Wednesday, but it will be over by the time you read this. We hope for a financial success in that endeavor also. Of course, the Provost Guard Fall Invitational and the Golf Outing are just for fun. Good luck to both groups!

I need to report that we will have Clothing Drop Boxes at nine locations by the end of next week. They have been a long time coming, and the company rep is in town today contacting the places who agreed to place a box. She will also go to other local businesses and concerns to see if they would be interested. She told me she could get receipts for clothing donations for those who need them. Just contact me if you need a receipt. It is not too late to place a Clothing Box. I can handle that for you if you call Maskat.

Maskat has only one public event in October. The P-2 Chili Cookoff is on October 18th , and it just happens to be my youngest grandson Travis Ford’s twentieth Birthday. He is busy ‘living the life’ as a student at A&M, so that will not interfere with the event. Just thought I would throw that in. We do hope to raise money for Maskat’s budget at this event, so come out and participate! You can judge the competition, or just visit with everyone!

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

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


September 2014

Hope your summer has gone well. I am sure the kid in you says it was too short to do everything that needed doing. At least that is usually the case. We need candidates for the Fall Ceremonial on November 1st! We have been doing a great job keeping up with membership the first half of the year, but during the summer months, we suddenly fell behind the “break- even point” for the year in the month of July. NOT because of deaths, but because of suspensions! We were informed we had FIVE good Shriners suspended from their Blue Lodge for not paying the current year’s dues. As you know, when this happens, we must suspend them also. Of course, they can be reinstated as soon as they pay their Blue Lodge dues, but it requires immediate action from them. They have been notified.

On a lighter note, the Circus is coming to town on September 23 and 24! Please buy your tickets and attend. If you can’t go, buy your tickets and send them back to Maskat for the kids in the community who would otherwise not be able to attend. The Circus is one of the events we use to raise money to keep our doors open, but it is also a great public relations tool. It gets our name in the public eye, and I am sure you have all seen the circus through the eyes of a child, whether you remember it or not! It’s great family entertainment.

More Shrine activities in September include the Sporting Clay Shoot on the 13th and the Golf Outing and Provost Guard Fall Invitational on the 26 and 27th. Of course, Stated Meeting is September 9th at 7:30pm, with a meal at 6:30pm. If you have not been to a meeting in a while, we would love to have you! It’s easy to get in.  All you need is a current Dues Card. I ALSO WANT TO ENCOURAGE OUR NEW MEMBERS TO ATTEND THE MEETINGS. You are important to our fraternity; we need your attendance and your input.

I am sure most of you know Noble Scott McNeely is our Sunshine Committee Chairman. He reports at Stated Meeting about the Nobles who are ill or have died. He relies on us to keep him informed; so if you know of a Shriner with health problems, report it to Conner McCaslin at the Maskat Office. He will relay the information to Scott.

Before I close, I would like to appeal to all once again: if you know of a location Maskat can place a clothing drop box for Shriners Hospitals for Children, please contact me. We have received several inquiries about these boxes, and I have verbal commitments from five locations. This is proving to be a good way in many Texas cities to raise money for our Hospitals without much effort after the boxes are placed. Mr. French tells me he is targeting September for a launch month for the Wichita Falls area. It will be September when you read this! My phone is 940-704-6329, or call Maskat and I will get back with you.

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


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


August 2014

Your Imperial Representatives [four of us] recently returned from the Annual Convention of Shriners International, held this year in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was a good convention, and it is always good to see friends whom you see but once a year. I am an Emeritus Representative, and Dru Landrum and Charles Dean are your elected Imperial Representatives. P.P. Terry Huff is a Representative for the Colorado Corporation, which means he can cast ballots on Hospital legislation only. This year, Huff attended the convention as an Emeritus Representative to the Colorado Corporation. Congratulations, Terry! In addition to our Ladies, we were joined in Minneapolis by Assistant Rabban Bruce Urban and High Priest and Prophet Jeff Gainer and their spouses.

Once again, 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. I picked up a couple of DVDs of their personal stories to share with the Nobility.

As I write this, we are all mourning the loss of Past Potentate and Treasurer Emeritus Jimmie Holland, Sr., who died Tuesday night after a lengthy battle with heart disease and complications. Our hearts are heavy for Wanda and his family. He made a valiant effort to overcome his debilitating condition, but it was not to be. We will remember him in services at First Presbyterian Church and a luncheon to follow at Maskat Shrine Saturday of next week. May God bless Lady Wanda and her family as we salute Jimmie and memorialize his life and contributions to our fraternity.

On a lighter note, it has been raining since midnight! I emptied three inches of it from my gauge in a lull. It is supposed to end later this morning, but that much rain can change things dramatically. Thank You Lord for the blessing!

If you know some locations we can place some clothing drop boxes for the benefit of Shriners Hospitals for Children, please call me at 940-704-6329 or leave word at Maskat!. We have finally been given the “go ahead” to place some boxes in our area [basically Wichita Falls, but Bowie and Henrietta are on the route]. All the proceeds will go to the hospitals. Call me as soon as possible.

Thanks for being a Shriner and a Mason,
John Tunnell, PP Recorder


JUNE 2014

Hope we are all still praying for rain! We are in Stage 5 here in Wichita Falls, but it looks good for rain next weekend. We will all be celebrating if we get enough to cause significant runoff to our lakes.

I drove to Houston with my bride Monday and attended the Houston Hospital Board of Governor’s Meeting Tuesday Morning and came home. We had a great meeting and a fun trip. Even though Houston and Galveston SHCs are serving more patients than our other 20 Hospitals, we have the capacity to treat more kids. Nobles, if you see children who can use our help, don’t hesitate to tell their parents where they can be treated at no cost to the family. We even reimburse transportation costs with our local Transportation Fund. The overall system has a patient shortage, which causes a staffing problem, because they have to be prepared to treat patients anyway. At Houston and Galveston, we are nowhere near maximum patient load, but we are treating more than the others. No question that the Affordable Care Act [Obamacare] has created a more competitive market for the kids we treat. That’s good for the kids, but we have to work harder to sell our product, which we deliver at no cost to the family.

TSA is upon us! June 5, 6, and 7th has us in Dallas [Mesquite] this year. We have a good group of Noble and Ladies attending, considering it’s out of town. Fifty seven men were signed up at last count. Good luck if you are competing! Our Motel is the Best Western Plus in Rockwall, and you can pick up packets there at the Hospitality Room. Let me know if you aren’t staying there, and I will try to get it to you. Dallas tells us they will not mail them out early this year, which is a departure from the norm, not to mention inconvenient. Nobles who compete are supposed to have a badge to prove they are registered; and, if we do not get materials early, there is no time for us to prepare a packet.

The next week is Oil Bowl Week, culminating in the Game Saturday Night! The Oil Bowl Game will be the same format as last year, with two Texas Teams as opponents. But Chairman Gary Hill has arranged for some MVPs from Sports Football Camps International to play in the game! Arkansas, Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma are sending MVPs to play in the game. ALL THE MORE REASON TO BUY YOUR TICKETS EARLY!! The net proceeds benefit the Shriners Hospital for Children in Houston.

This is a notable and historic community event, in its 77th year, and we as Nobles and Ladies are important to its continued success. Come and help if you can; but please attend and support in any case and WEAR YOUR FEZ. Buy your tickets, early if possible! We need your presence and support!

Thanks for being a Shriner!
John Tunnell, PP Recorder


MAY 2014

Welcome to May, 2014, would you believe!  We had a great Hospital Benefit Golf Tournament with a new Event Chairmen, Noble Bob Dean, who did a great job.  We had 24 teams and everyone had a great time in perfect golf weather! Now if it will just rain a bunch, April will be a great Month!  Gives us something to hope and pray for!

If you made the Stated Meeting on April 8th, you realize it was special because we had a former SHC patient come and talk to the Nobility, a rare event.  Adam Sanders is a 23 year old who literally grew up in the Shriner Hospital system!  When I asked him which Shrine Hospital he had gone to as a patient, he thought a second and said, “It would be easier to name the Hospitals I have not been a Patient in!”  He started in Honolulu at birth, spent time there, Los Angeles, Houston, and Chicago.  Adam has a genetic condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, or brittle bone disease.  His bones break easily, which explains his close ties to the Shriners Hospitals.  He told us he was practically raised in Shriners Hospitals, spending more time there than at home.  I don’t know about everybody else, but he made me very proud to be a Shriner!  We do good work, guys, and I am very proud to call you all brothers!

The Midwinters are all over now, except the Golf Unit, which has theirs on April 25 and 26.  May is a little less frantic than April, and we do not have something every weekend!  TSA is in Dallas, which gives us a little time to breathe this year.  But then the second week of June is Oil Bowl Week

The Oil Bowl Game will be the same as last year, with two Texas Teams as opponents, instead of the past Texas Oklahoma format. Thanks in large part to Chairman Gary Hill and his committee, things are shaping up for a great Oil Bowl.  This is a notable and historic community event, and we as Nobles and Ladies are important to its continued success.  Come and help if you can, but please attend and support in any case.  Buy your tickets!  We need your presence and support!

Thanks for being a Shriner!
  John Tunnell, PP Recorder


APRIL 2014

It rained two and a half inches at my home yesterday.  So that makes this Sunday, March 16th.  Thank you, Lord, for your blessings.  That was an answered prayer, to be sure.  I’m not complaining, but we need a lot more.  You could see the grass greening up when the sun came out a little later. Supposed to get down to freezing tonight, but the point is, it rained!

The Shotgun Unit presented two trophies from their Midwinter Meeting at Stated Meeting last week. They earned three trophies, but Past Illustrious Bob Hamblin played hookey.  He had kinfolks in town and did not make it to the meeting.  Rick Gilbert said he insisted on carrying it back to WF because he was pretty proud of it.  Someone told me he just needed a little more time to admire it! You’ll have to ask him.

We have three more Midwinters coming up: the Clowns, Provost Guard, and Golf.  Hope they bring back as much or more hardware than the Shotgun Unit!  They classify these meetings as Midwinter right here on the cusp of Spring for a reason. According to protocol, Units can’t schedule a Midwinter until the Divan has their Midwinter. So some of these are kind of late.

We had FIVE new Shriners obligated at March Stated Meeting.  No, it wasn’t a record, but if we could average that, our membership issues would be history! It was exciting to see them all join at once, and we are certainly proud to have them. So far, we have six new Shriners this year, Matthew Michael became a New Noble in February, and Glen Fox, Melvin Horany, Gerald Johnston, Trey Mathis, and Derrell Robertson joined our ranks in March.  Needless to say, Membership Chairman Sam “Skittles” McPherson was overjoyed.  It would be great to match that every month!

I went to Tampa for the Recorder’s Conference the last weekend in February and returned to WF on March 1st.  We had an educational meeting; and, as usual, Membership is on everyone’s mind as the most important issue facing our fraternity, and we are all on the Membership Committee.  Another is our charity, Shriner’s Hospitals for Children.  Presently, we are trying to get the word out that we need more patients!  If you know a child who has orthopedic problems, cleft lip or pallet, or burns, we have two of the best hospitals in the world for these conditions right here in Texas.  SHC Houston takes children with orthopedic and cleft lip problems, and SHC Galveston treats burned children.  This expert treatment is provided by our hospitals at no charge to the parents, and Maskat Shrine has a Transportation Fund that will provide funds for their transport to appointments and back home.  We as Shriners are all on the Membership Committee.  We are also ambassadors for Shriners Hospitals for Children.  Help a kid get better if you have the opportunity!

It will make you proud to be a Shriner! 

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


 March 2014

Welcome to March, I hope! Frozen February has not been such a nice thing so far!  We had cold from the time the groundhog saw his shadow, but this weekend began to get better.  I think we are getting ready for another cold snap just in time for the OG Trip to Shreveport, February 20-24. The East Coast has really had it bad, so by comparison, we have no reason to complain.

We had a great Super Bowl Party despite the cold weather and missed the people who did not come.  The roads were pretty bad, the game was a runaway, but the party itself was great!  Sorry if you missed, but it’s completely understandable. Your Divan trekked to Tyler for Divan Midwinter the next weekend. We all made it with no accidents but the roads were tricky in Dallas. We saw a few wrecks.  Don’t think anyone went to sleep In Dallas County!

Divan voted to try a bit shorter Office Hours at Maskat.  Instead of 8:30 to 4:30, we will be open from 9:00 to 4:00. Not much of a change, but it will save us a little money in salaries.  Conner and Donna are on board with it. Please let us know if this is inconvenient for you in any way. We welcome your feedback!  Of course, our office staff is there to serve and will be flexible on this if need be.

I will be in Tampa for Recorder’s School the first weekend in March. As usual, our focus will be on membership, but we will have presentations in other areas as well.  Membership numbers continue to be our greatest problem.  A strong, growing membership helps Shriners Hospitals provide services to our children, which is our philanthropy and our legacy as a fraternity.  Our hospital system sets us apart from other fraternities and gives us a purpose greater than just looking out for ourselves. Shriners Hospitals is the reason I always close this communication with: THANK YOU FOR BEING A SHRINER!

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



February 2014

As usual, we installed Officers in January to serve Maskat for the ensuing year. The only real change was Calvin Carlton becoming the Oriental Guide, the bottom rung of the leadership ladder at Maskat. Our new Potentate is Dru Landrum, and the Immediate Past Potentate is Mark Reed.  PP Greg Stockton was reelected as Treasurer, and I was reelected as Recorder. Potentate Landrum had his Potentate’s Ball last night, the 18th of January. It was a fun event, well planned and executed. Next Saturday, on the 25th, we all travel to Nocona to the Annual Montague County Shrine Club’s feed and dance. I am sure it will be wonderful as ever.

The Divan travels to Tyler for Divan Midwinter the first full weekend of February. This is the usual meeting time when we plan the TSA All-State [to be held in Dallas by Hella Temple this summer]. This year, the Super Bowl Party at Maskat is Sunday, February 2nd. Tuesday, February 11th will be Stated Meeting.

Membership numbers were better, this year; we had a net loss of only two members, as opposed to fifteen in 2012.  The infamous Black Camel kept us out of the positive column once again, but not by much! We initiated several new members, but not quite enough for a positive year. If you know a Master Mason who would make a great Shriner, tell him about us!

The annual OG trip is February 20-23 to Shreveport once again.  This is a STAG trip mainly to expose the New Nobles to the oldest Shriners Hospital. Also, the new OG has to serve drinks all the way there and back. He basically walks to Shreveport and back! We go to the hospital as a group, so bring the Fez. The rest of the trip is just for fun, but if you don’t get some fulfilment from the hospital trip, I’ll be surprised. The price for the bus ride is $50.00, but New Nobles only pay $25.00. This is to encourage you to go!  The rooms at Diamond Jack’s are very reasonable, especially if you have a roommate.  If you are interested, call Conner McCaslin at Maskat and he will sign you up!

As always, thanks for being a Shriner!
John Tunnell, P.P. Recorder


January 2014

Happy New Year!  We elected Divan Officers in December, moving everyone up the line, so to speak; and we have elected a brand new Oriental Guide!  Calvin Carlton was chosen to begin his rise to Potentate, starting as the Oriental Guide.  Few start anywhere else, but now and again someone will step into another office because of a death or other circumstance, but most of us had to be the Oriental Guide for one year.  It is sort of a proving ground, and starts four years of preparation for the job of Potentate.  Bon Voyage, Calvin and Judy Carlton! Hope your five year trip is fraternally fulfilling and rewarding.  You won’t make any money from it, but the rewards will enrich your life!

The other officers elected were Illustrious Potentate Dru Landrum, Chief Rabban Charles Dean, Assistant Rabban Bruce Urban, High Priest and Prophet Jeff Gainer. Potentate Mark Reed will become a Past Potentate on January 14th, when Calvin is installed as O.G.!  Our thanks to Mark and Dee Ann Reed for completing five years of hard work on our behalf.   There were no other surprises. P.P. Greg Stockton was elected Treasurer, and I was elected Recorder yet again.

In other action, the Financial Advisory Board remained the same, with Nobles Mark Baker and Bill Yates agreeing to serve another term.  Although we still have six pending suspensions which will become official on December 31, as it stand now, we hope to save some of those Nobles.  We initiated several new members this year, but with deaths and suspensions, we did not manage to break even. Membership is still our greatest concern.

I will go to Houston for my first official meeting with the Houston Hospital Board of Governors in January. I will do my utmost to represent our fraternity well in that position, and will endeavor to keep you up to date with major hospital news.

I hope the Christmas Season gave you hope for the New Year, we all need that for a happy life.

As always, Thanks for being a Shriner!  The kids need you and we do too!

John Tunnell, PP Recorder