As the end of each year comes to a close, we reminisce about all the incredible things Shriners have accomplished throughout the past year. We are grateful for each and every one of you for your year-round commitment to Shriners International and Shriners Hospitals for Children, and for continuing to make our organizations such a big part of your life.
For the past 11 months of 2015, we have honored a single Shriner of the Month. For the month of December, we want to thank all of our outstanding Shriners for their steadfast dedication to both our great fraternity and its philanthropy. Our Shriners of the Month are representative of our countless members who demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to Shriners International and Shriners Hospitals for Children every day; we want to thank each of them for their exceptional efforts, and we want to thank each of you.
In an ode to this past year, here are our past Shriners of the Month for 2015.
January 2015: Noble George A. Vieck, Hadi Shriners
Noble Vieck joined the fraternity in 2006, and has been very active in the fundraising efforts of the Knox County Shrine Club. He recently organized a Hadi Shriners Circus campaign and works tirelessly to arrange publicity for local media outlets. Noble Vieck supplies free coffee and iced tea at the farmers’ market, and uses his time there to chat with the locals and raise awareness of both Shriners Hospitals for Children and Shriners International. Noble Vieck is frequently seen driving a mini-Corvette car with the Knox County Shrine Club in the many parades around the area.
February 2015: Noble Robert “Butch” Mays, Al Menah Shriners
Noble Mays established the Williamson County Shrine Club’s Motor Corps Division, serving as its first captain, and currently serves as its secretary and treasurer. He also currently serves as an ambassador and first vice president of the club. Under his leadership as paper sale chairman, the Williamson County Shrine Club has led the way in Al Menah’s fundraising efforts in support of Shriners Hospitals for Children.
March 2015: Noble Walter M. Kasabian, Tehran Shriners
Noble Kasabian was appointed clinic chairman for Tehran Shriners in 1987, and was later named the temple’s clinic coordinator in 2001. Noble Kasabian served for 22 years as clinic chairman and clinic coordinator. A devoted member of Tehran Shriners, he became a member of the directors staff in 1980, and served as president multiple times. He has also served as president of the Fresno Shrine Club three times, and as secretary for the past nine years.
April 2015: Noble Barry M. Gould, Salaam Shriners
Noble Gould served his Blue Lodge twice as Worshipful Master. He has marched in countless parades on behalf of Salaam Shriners, and has marched through the ranks of the String Band unit, where he served as president. He has also served as president of the Mid-Atlantic Shrine String Band Association. He is the editor of his temple’s quarterly publication, and spent five years on the membership team. Noble Gould also helped facilitate Shriners Hospitals for Children’s collaboration with ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire, which aired nationally in February.
May 2015: Noble Ron Ellenson, Al Kader Shriners
Noble Ellenson has been a very active member of his Blue Lodge for many years. He is a member of the DeMolay Legion of Honor, a 50-year member of the Scottish Rite, Portland Valley, and received his 50-year Masonic jewel from the Grand Lodge of Oregon. He is also a member of the order of Quetzalcoatl, and a longtime member of Eastern Star. Noble Ellenson is a longtime member of the Kader Klowns unit, often visiting patients at the Portland Shriners Hospital and in the community as his character Roneee the clown. He served as President of the Shrine Circus and Fundraising Association, and was awarded the Imperial Potentates’ Medallion for his accomplishments in SCAFRA leadership. He has also been a longtime supporter of our philanthropy and Al Kader Shriners’ ceremonials.
June 2015: Noble Ralph E. “Doc” Hathaway, Al Kaly Shriners
Noble Hathaway joined Al Kaly Shriners in 2006 and immediately became a staff doctor for the local Shriners Hospitals for Children. He took charge of the temple’s screening clinics and became an active member of Al Kaly Shriners’ telemedicine program. He has served as Chairman of Al Kaly Shriners’ Burn Awareness Week and IHOP’s Free Pancake Day events. Noble Hathaway’s community involvement has given him ample opportunities to give talks promoting Masonry, Shriners International and Shriners Hospitals for Children. He has also served as Master of his Masonic Lodge, where he has been secretary for the past seven years.
July 2015: Noble James A. “Jim” Kinser, Bedouin Shriners
Noble Kinser has been a Mason for 12 years, and a member of Bedouin Shriners for seven years. He holds perpetual membership in the Order of Eastern Star, Scottish Rite and his Masonic Lodge. He has a son who was a patient of Shriners Hospitals 28 years ago, and all of his efforts are his way of giving back to the organization that so positively affected his family’s life. He has been a patient transportation driver for seven years, and is currently serving as the Commander of Bedouin Shriners’ Legion of Honor unit. He also enjoys working the Shrine Circus and the Annual Poker Run, and has served as the coach for the Bedouin Shrine Basketball Classic for the past five years. Additionally, he is active in his temple’s membership recruitment efforts.
August 2015: Noble Matthew Q. Llewellyn, Akdar Shriners
Noble Llewellyn is a paramedic for Creek County Ambulance, where he serves in many roles, including assistant education coordinator. A member of Akdar Shriners since 2012, Noble Llewellyn is a Past Director of both the Scooter and Nomads units, and current Co-Chairman of the Membership Committee. He has also served as Chairman of the Akdar Poker Run and Murder Mystery fundraisers. Additionally, Noble Llewellyn is a very talented magician and has recently performed magic shows at several events, entertaining many of Akdar Shriners’ “big kids,” and little kids.
September 2015: Noble Jim Pinson, Sahib Shriners
Noble Pinson became a member of Sahib Shriners in 2003 and, in his first year as a Shriner, began volunteering to drive patients and their families to and from the Tampa Shriners Hospital. Today, Noble Pinson is widely known at the hospital as a friendly, familiar face with an inviting smile and humble demeanor. Noble Pinson has made 677 trips to and from the hospital and driven more than 86,656 miles (as of 9/28/15) to help patients and families, and will not put his foot on the brakes when it comes to helping kids.
October 2015: Illustrious Sir Robert D. Sheets Sr., P.P., Hadi Shriners
Illustrious Sir Sheets became a Shriner in 1963. He served as a clown in his temple’s Funsters Unit for 19 years, and as the unit’s president in 1973. Illustrious Sir Sheets was elected to Hadi Shriners’ Divan in 1982, and served as Potentate in1990. He also served as Chaplain for 23 years, and currently holds the title of Chaplain Emeritus. Illustrious Sir Sheets has signed more than 50 new members for his Masonic Lodge and Hadi Shriners. He is a Past Master of Lessing Lodge #464 in Evansville, and received the Grand Master’s Award with high distinction. He has also been a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Evansville for more than 45 years. Illustrious Sir Sheets’ son, the Rev. Bobby Sheets, is also a Hadi Shriner, which makes them part of a Shriners Legacy.
November 2015: Noble Robert J. “Bob” Keep, Wa Wa Shriners
Noble Keep was appointed membership chairman of Wa Wa Shriners in January 2014. He has traveled throughout the province of Saskatchewan to promote the importance of Shriners International and its philanthropy to new Master Masons, and has devoted much of his time and energy toward generating awareness throughout the region. Noble Keep was instrumental in bringing the 9/11 Memorial Traveling Museum directly from New York City to the Saskatoon Canada Remembers Our Heroes Air Show. All net proceeds from 50/50 sales and an auction benefited the new Shriners Hospitals for Children — Canada and more than $50,000 of free publicity was generated for the Shriners fraternity and Shriners Hospitals. The event offered a variety of promotional benefits and extensive province-wide media coverage and community value that included television interviews, radio and print exposure, and one-on-one interactions onsite.
Congratulations to all our past Shriners of the Month for their outstanding achievements. In 2016, we will be initiating a new program that will be replacing the Shriner of the Month. Be on the lookout for more information coming in January.