Shriners come from all walks of life. We are members of the community who are working or retired, members of the trades, business professionals, business leaders and men who want to just have fun. We are fathers, uncles and sons. We are also brothers. When you become a Shriner, you become part of a brotherhood of men committed to family, engaged in ongoing personal growth, and dedicated to providing care of children and families in need through Shriners Childrens® regardless of their ability to pay.
While our backgrounds and interests may be diverse, what binds us together are shared values and a desire to have fun, do good and build relationships that can last a life time. Is it time for you to learn more about Shriners International? Visit www.beashrinernow.com and find out. You can also go to our Join Nile page for what it will take to join.
Michael J. Riley | Potentate 2023
There is an ancient folk tale that has woven its way through generations, carrying with it a profound message that transcends time. It's a story of a woman walking daily to the river, carrying water back home using two buckets suspended on either end of a simple bamboo pole. Though seemingly mundane, these buckets held within them a lesson that resonates deeply with the human experience.
One bucket, fresh and sturdy, remained intact throughout the journey, cradling its precious cargo without fail. The other, worn by time and peppered with small leaks, saw a different fate. By the time the woman reached her destination, this bucket had lost almost half its contents. Overcome by a sense of inadequacy, the old bucket apologized to the woman, lamenting its inability to fulfill its purpose effectively.
The woman's response was anything but what the old bucket expected. She turned her gaze back down the road, directing the bucket's attention towards the side of the path where the old bucket had been carried. "Do you see all those flowers?" she asked gently, her voice carrying profound wisdom. "You water those flowers daily, and my walk to and from the river is beautiful."
In a world that often glorifies perfection and efficiency, this tale is a gentle reminder of the value in imperfection and the beauty hidden within our vulnerabilities. Over time, our capabilities may shift and change. We cannot perform specific tasks as effortlessly as we once did.
It's in these very leaks, these chinks in our armor, that we discover a unique kind of beauty. Like the old bucket, we might not retain every drop of water, but we can nurture something equally important - the flowers on our side of the road. These flowers represent the moments and experiences that become more vibrant and cherished because of the leaks that make us human. Though we may not see it, we accomplish more being Shriners and a part of our masonic family in whatever capacity we can than we ever can by stepping down and retiring. Our longevity and support help the whole program grow now and over time.
As we navigate the various stages of life, let us remember the old water bucket and its invaluable lesson. Let's embrace the changes, the imperfections, and the limitations. Let's see the flowers we water along the way, the things we cultivate amid life's challenges. Just as the woman cherished her walk because of the flowers, let's find gratitude for the unique perspectives and insights we gain as we adapt to life's changes.
Let us extend our gratitude to the old bucket, which unwittingly shared a profound truth. It's a truth that reminds us to appreciate the journey, regardless of the leaks we might carry. So, to all of you, my fellow travelers on this journey, thank you for the flowers.
May we continue to water them with every step we take, and if we start to feel inadequate, reflect on the path we have traveled and the differences we have made.
Over the past 18 months, you, as a member or supporter of the Nile Shriners, have helped with seven different international emergency child air ambulance transportation scenarios to get kids to our hospitals at a value of nearly one hundred thousand dollars. This hit our transportation fund, but it is precisely what it was intended for, and you should be proud. Donations to the Nile transportation fund would be appreciated so we may continue helping kids directly as members and supporters of the Nile.
We have just finished the Brewfest fundraiser. It is too early to write this article with the final numbers, but I sincerely thank all who attended or jumped in to help. It was a huge endeavor, and I would like to call out Peter Pawlicki and Dale Newman, who spearheaded it. Thank you for helping to diversify our fundraising strategy.
Also, the Nile Nightmares Haunted House is gearing up. This is our primary fundraiser at the Nile and has been growing yearly. This year, a group of volunteers has organized to improve the event. We can use more hands to lighten the load. Please consider participating in any way that you are able, whether that is set building during the weeks leading up, staffing during the event, or disassembling and storing the scenes and props for next year afterward. More information to follow, but I sincerely hope that you can help.
At the recent Conference of Grand Masters in Louisville, Kentucky, Imperial Potentate Jeff Sowder, along with Scottish Rite Sovereign Grand Commanders David A. Glattly, 33° (Northern Masonic Jurisdiction), and James D. Cole, 33° (Southern Jurisdiction), announced a formal partnership on the Path Forward for Freemasonry.
As part of that initiative, the three leaders announced BeaFreemason.org, which features a wealth of information including an explanation of Masonic terms, lodge life, symbolism, degrees and family organizations. Launched in mid-February, this first-of-its-kind site introduces Freemasonry to men who are looking to "become the best version" of themselves. The site has a "Get in Touch" button, so prospects (in North America) can fill out a short form that will put them in touch with a Masonic leader in their local area. We hope you share this helpful site with men that you know who are committed to lives of honor, integrity and character.
For more information, go to: beafreemason.org