Those Men on Tiny Motorcycles and the Funny Hats
On the children’s cartoon, The Flintstones, Fred and Barney belong to a fraternal organization that takes up quite a bit of their time. It is called the Loyal Order of the Buffalo and their leader is the Grand Poobah. This is a funny reference to several important organizations that make a genuine contribution to the community through their many philanthropic and community service efforts. In almost every small town and big city in America there are a number of men’s fraternal organizations that gather together routinely, just like the Loyal Order of the Water Buffalo did on The Flintstones. Now we won’t say that some of the things the men who gather in these groups do is not as fun and light hearted as it depicted on The Flintstones. These organizations which include The Lions Club, The Rotary Club, The Scottish Rite, The Knights of Columbus, The Kiwanis and the Shiners go back many generations in our culture and provide valuable networking opportunities for men in every community they serve.
There is some secrecy that goes on with these fraternal organizations but that secrecy is not insidious as some have suggested. The charters of these organizations are universally benevolent and dedicated to three important principles. Those are (1) fellowship for men to network with each other and gather to discuss community issues (2) fun that is wholesome and provides a venue where men can enjoy each other’s company in an acceptable manner and (3) community service. It is that last core value that we in the community see the most often when these fraternal organizations mobilize to take on an important need in the community. Because these organizations are often populated by business leaders, religious clergy and influential men of all walks of life, when they put their minds to get something done for the community, they have the leadership, the resources, the money, the talent and the self will to get things done.
It is in the area of community service that these fraternal organizations are the most valuable to any community. None are more recognizable as the Shiners. The Shiners of North America are well known because of the famous Shrine Circus that makes its way around the country each year. Many children can remember going to their first Shrine Circus parade and seeing those men come charging down the street on those tiny little motorcycles or in tiny little cars all wearing that tall red hat, called a “fez” which is part of the uniform of a Shrine. This sense of fun and their desire to bring joy and laughter to families is one of the reasons the Shiners are such a beloved organization in our communities. This circus is almost as famous as the Ringling Brother’s circus and it holds special meaning for a lot of families. That is because this is just one dozens of ways the Shiners raise money for their biggest community service project of them all. In fact the community service the Shiners do has been called the World's Greatest Philanthropy. That is because this fraternal organization has built and continues to operate 22 hospitals for children all over the country. The stories of miracles that have been done to save the lives of children in the Shiners children’s hospitals are numerous.
These wonderful hospitals offer care for children with life threatening diseases to whom they provide the finest of medical care. Even more amazing is that children who receive care at these hospitals are never required to be associated with the Shrine organization and many times the care they receive is given to them free of charge. It is heartwarming to see the good the Shiners of North America do each year as they hold parades, trips, dances, dinners, sporting events and that wonderful circus to raise money for their hospitals for children. It is amazing what a bunch of men on tiny motorcycles and wearing funny hats can do when they put their minds to it. PPPPP 677 .