Township's Shriners feed Sutton at successful fundraiser
By Manfried H. Starhemberg
On Saturday, September 10,the local Shriners invited Sutton to a festive fund raiser at the Royal Canadian Legion hall and Sutton responded: 245 tickets had been sold for $ 15.- each when we arrived at 6"20 pm, and people were still coming in in droves. Dozens of volunteers (and their wifes) manned the kitchen, the outdoors grill and of course the dishwashers. A superb steak, done to individual taste, golden baked potatoes and fresh butter, numerous other dishes for non steak eaters and a fabulous array of deserts was gobbled up by a thankful crowd. Great door prizes were also on display, the best of which was a $ 500.- 36" state-of-the-art TV set.
Kids of all ages had fun watching a little Shriner locomotive touring the grounds, emitting huge plumes of harmless.smoke. This machine was also built by the local members and embodies a 14 hp White Tractor as its powerbase. The Shriners have rolling stock for this little engine but did not bring it to this event.
As always, the funds generated by this event will go to the Shriner's Childrens Hospital foundation which dates back to 1920, when the Shriners first adopted the policy to fund hospitals and support them through yearly contributions by each member. The different Shriners groups then took it upon themselfes to create fundraisers, and when people see them in parades in their red Fez hats and their tiny cars or locomotives, they should be aware that those members of an order which originated in 1872, are all volunteers, they are philanthropists and they have helped hundreds of thousands of children to regain healthy or at least sustainable lifes.
Currently the Shriners operate 22 children's hospitals in Canada, the United States and Mexico and in Montreal the decision is still up in the air if the newest facility will be located in Montreal or in London, Ontario. Nevertheless, funds that are collected through all the Shriner events get used at the existing facilities and last year alone, more than 200,000 children under the age of 18 were treated at no cost to them or their parents.
All Shriners are Freemasons, the basic requirement to enter the order, but they do not preach any specific religious sects, rites or tenets, the members simply state that they believe in a "Greater Beeing". This simple coda embraces the spirit of the Freemasonry as well as the Shriners, as the tenor of both organizations is to "do good for mankind". As such, members work tirelessly as members of hospital boards, event organizers, guest speakers and lowly dishwashers. All are volunteers, nobody ever receives a nickel for their work, but when speaking to them at the Sutton event, one saw the real enthusiasm, the drive to make a difference, to excel within their respective communities. And the steak was fabulous!