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Shriners International: More Than A Fraternity

Shriners International: More Than A Fraternity

Nobles from Shriners International explain what the fraternity is all about and why it is more than just a fraternity.
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Hello, I'm Rob. Hi, I'm Mark, I'm proud to be a Shriner to understand why it's helpful to know what it means to be a member of our fraternity; Shriners International. Imagine having hundreds of thousands of brothers around the world supporting your efforts while you support their's. Imagine being part of an organization that helps thousands of children every year. When you're a Shriner you're part of both an amazing brotherhood and a unique healthcare system. You may be just one guy but as a member of Shriners international you are one of hundreds of thousands of men over the world who are connected by a shared belief in brotherhood, compassion and generosity and you're part of Shriners Hospitals for Children; a philanthropic effort to improve the lives of children coping with complicated medical conditions. The Shriners organization has been around for more than 140 years. Members have included Heads of Government including a few presidents, corporate executives, celebrities, doctors, lawyers and sports heroes, but the majority has always been just regular guys who want to be a part of something that offers fun, fellowship and the opportunity to make a difference in this world. Shriners are also part of Freemasonry the world's oldest most well-known fraternity. The founders of Shriners International are an interesting pair, a physician and an actor that alone should tell you we are an eclectic welcoming group. Dr. Walter Fleming and Billy Florence created a fraternal organization rooted in the Masonic principles of brotherhood, charity and truth and also offered some fun in fellowship. Fleming and Florence created an entire roadmap for the new fraternity, from structure to rules, rituals, logos and symbols all with a Far Eastern Flair including the distinctive red Fez we wear which certainly does get us noticed. The words and symbols we use also help strengthen the bonds between us and help remind us of our commitment to service. For example within the organization we call ourselves Nobles. I like to think that term reminds us of our noble cause of caring for one another and for others Shriners belong to local temples or chapters like a fraternity chapter the first temple Mecca Shriner's opened in New York City in 1872 there are nearly 200 temples in several countries each temple has a potentate a local president and a divan Board of Directors each temple has clubs and units that offer a range of activities. There's something for everyone and each temple club and unit emphasizes brotherhood and camaraderie. There are places where lifelong friendships begin. By the 1920's, the nobles wanted to do more they wanted one official philanthropy. A polio epidemic was rampant at the time and there were children who needed medical care. The Shriners responded to this realization by establishing Shriners Hospitals for Children. A place where children with orthopedic problems could receive the best care possible regardless of their family's ability to pay for the care and treatment. The first Shriners Hospital opened in 1922 in Shreveport, Louisiana. What began as one hospital is now a pediatric health care system providing care for orthopedic burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate with 22 locations in three countries. Today Shriners Hospitals for Children also conducts research to improve treatments and offer education programs for medical professionals. At Shriners Hospitals, children receive expert care for complex medical conditions and the support and encouragement they need to overcome physical challenges or live their dreams. As Shriners, we share in and celebrate those successes we get to see how hope and healing and our support really really make a difference. I'm proud to support my brothers and their families and I'm proud to make a difference in my community through the programs and efforts of my temple. I'm proud to be part of a top-notch pediatric health care system. Men become Shriners for several reasons. The brotherhood the camaraderie, the opportunities for personal growth and for the opportunity to improve lives especially through our official philanthropy each of us supports that effort through a portion of our dues and many of us volunteer at our hospitals we help with patient transportation. We hold fundraising events in our temples we help entertain patients we help with screening clinics. There's always something to do to support our hospitals when you think of Shriners and of Shriners international remember what's most important. Shriners International is a fraternal organization of men who are dedicated to brotherhood, compassion and service to others. If you're seeking a place to belong and a way to contribute to the world around you, we'd love for you to join us to learn more, go to, beashrinersnow.com.