Hurricane Irma – Shriners Helping Masons

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A message from Imperial Potentate Gary Bergenske

As you are aware, much of Florida recently experienced heavy hurricane activity and massive flooding. More than 60 percent of the state was without power at one time. Widespread flooding, depleted grocery shelves and damage from high winds made life miserable for many. The Grand Lodge of Florida placed an appeal through the Masonic Service Association for disaster relief. In response, the MSA established a disaster relief fund for Florida, with all donations received to be transferred directly to Grand Lodge of Florida for distribution to those in need. 

Here’s how you can give:

Make checks payable to “MSA Disaster Relief Fund” and send them to:

Masonic Service Association
3905 National Drive, Suite 280
Burtonsville, MD 20866 

Please write on the memo portion of the check, "Florida Disaster Appeal" to be sure that the money is specifically designated for the relief of Florida Masons.

Click here to donate via PayPal or credit card.

Additionally, more than Florida was affected during Hurricane Irma. Our friends in Puerto Rico were also impacted. Below is an update from Shrine leaders in Puerto Rico and throughout Florida: 

Al Rai’e Saleh Shriners (San Juan, PR)
We are all doing fine. The surrounding islands got the worst part. We are helping Masons and Nobles that came this week to hospitals here. We identified one Mason and we are taking good care of him. He was surprised for all we have being doing to him - Clothes, towels, blankets even did his laundry. Our Shriners are doing a good job.

Araba Shriners (Ft Myers)
Here at the Shrine Center, we lost a big portion of our roof.

Morocco Shriners (Jacksonville)
As for Morocco Nobles we have some that were flooded out and are now receiving insurance and FEMA assistance. The Morocco Shrine facility received very little damage. Also, Clay County Shrine Club is housing volunteers who are working clean up.

Egypt Shriners (Tampa)
Egypt Shriners came through the storm in pretty good shape. Our facility, was not damaged too terribly bad. We do have a couple of large trees down on the East side of the facility, but that is about all. Many of our Nobles are still without electricity, but just as I type this response, many are coming back online.

I have been in touch with Guatemala and they have no damage from the earthquake or storms.

Azan Shriners (Melbourne)
Azan Shrine Center came through the storm ok. Some fence damage and we lost one of our parade floats.  All else is good.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by Hurricane Irma.

Yours in faith,


Gary J. Bergenske, Imperial Potentate