As Shriners, we are part of an international organization that strengthens us individually, enhances our families and makes us part of a history of brotherhood and camaraderie. And, as Shriners, we also have the opportunity to be legacies. The Legacy Program helps strengthen our fraternal bonds with those closest to us, and allows members to honor the many men before us who laid the foundation of our great fraternity.
Each February, which is now designated as Legacy Month, temples are encouraged to host Legacy Nights to promote membership and honor the members who have taken part in this program. Throughout the month, Shriners International will also share stories of legacy families in our various publications and on our websites in recognition of their dedication to the Shriners fraternity.
For many men, like the Ham family, being a Shriner is a family tradition that stretches across generations.
A Meaningful Tradition
Just prior to the start of his year as Potentate of Oasis Shriners in Charlotte, N.C., Illustrious Sir Todd Ham watched his son, Noble Jeffrey Ham, clad in surgical scrubs, examine a young patient at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Tampa. Noble Jeffrey was close to completing his clinical experience at the Tampa Shriners Hospital when Illustrious Sir Todd, then Chief Rabban, and Lady Mary, visited with their son and learned about his unique experiences at the hospital. Illustrious Sir Todd was obviously proud as he shared a moment with both his son and 4-year-old patient Zavier, who showed them both how easily he puts on his prosthesis.
Noble Jeffrey graduated in May 2015 from DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine in Harrogate, Tenn. He is an intern at East Tennessee State University Family Medicine residency program in Johnson City, Tenn., for the next three years, and then will pursue a fourth year in sports medicine. During his final semester of 2014, Noble Jeffrey had the opportunity to observe Maureen Maciel, M.D., chief of staff of Shriners Hospitals for Children — Tampa, and work closely with the Tampa Shriners Hospital’s expert medical staff – an experience that exemplified the true meaning of his fraternal family tradition.
The Ham Family’s Rich Family History
Illustrious Sir Todd and his family share a Shriners Legacy with deep Masonic roots that grow stronger with each generation. Illustrious Sir Todd’s great-grandfather was a 33rd degree Mason, and his father, Noble Joe Ham; brother, Noble Brad Ham; and both sons, Nobles Jeffrey and Joey Ham, are Masons and Shriners. Illustrious Sir Todd was raised a Master Mason in 1983 and became a Shriner that same year. Following his father’s footsteps, Illustrious Sir Todd joined Oasis Shriners’ Drum and Bugle Corps. He has played the snare drum for the past 33 years, and has also served as Captain of the Corps. There are three generations of Ham family members who are active in the Drum and Bugle Corps. Illustrious Sir Todd is dedicated to the organization that is a lifeline to so many children through its philanthropy, Shriners Hospitals for Children, and as Past Potentate of Oasis Shriners, he demonstrates that dedication in his leadership and life.
Noble Jeffrey always knew he wanted to be a Shriner. “I remember seeing my dad, Papaw Joe and Uncle Brad march in parades. It was instilled so deeply within me that it was important to serve others and help the children,” he said. So in 2009, Noble Jeffrey became a member of Oasis Shriners. He described his time at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Tampa with Dr. Maciel and the medical team as invaluable, and said the medical education opportunity also impacted his dedication to Shriners International.
“My experience increased my desire to assist the fraternity. It wasn’t until I was actually part of the medical team that I could truly see all the good Shriners International does in the world. The money they raise every year goes toward this miracle that I was lucky enough to witness every day. I want to ensure that this miracle is always strong,” said Noble Jeffrey.
Last year was certainly a memorable one for the Ham family. As Illustrious Sir Todd led Oasis Shriners as Potentate throughout 2015, and Noble Jeffrey kicked off his medical career, the family has continued to weave even more rich memories into the strong fabric of their family and fraternity.