On January 23, 2021, Illustrious Robert S. Johnson was installed as the 99th Potentate of Aleppo Shriners. The fanfare was non-existent; only 10 people were present at any one time, but there were many Nobles present via Zoom. Lady Cathy and their son Bradley were there to support him. There was no Ceremonial dinner, no parade in review, and no after celebration in the Fez Room. We are still in Covid times. That doesn’t mean that the operations have ceased, as there is plenty that has to be done for both the building and Fraternity.
Ill. Rob began his Masonic travels in 1999 following a long line of Masons in his family. He began his Shrine journey in 2000 but has been around Aleppo since he was old enough to walk. Even before becoming a Mason, he always knew he would become a Shriner. Rob’s grandfather, Noble Roy Haskell, was a longtime Shriner and member of the Oriental Band. Rob knew he would follow in his footsteps.
After his appointment as Outer Guard under Illustrious Robert Smith, he took a sabbatical from the Shrine to focus on his sons Boy Scout troop which had just lost the Scout Master. Rob recommended that Noble Bob Haley take over the band, and he left to focus on the Boy Scouts. After his son and 9 other boys under his leadership obtained their Eagle Scout, Rob found a replacement for himself as Scout Master and returned to the Shrine. As a result of these efforts, Rob was designated as a recipient of the Daniel Carter Beard Masonic Scouter award for his work with the Scouts.
A short time after returning to active membership at Aleppo, Rob was appointed to serve as Marshal for several years. Illustrious Dave Raymond appointed Ill. Rob as 2nd Ceremonial Master in 2015 and he has never shied away from the difficult responsibilities that come with serving on the Divan.
In December Ill. Rob and Cathy had their own bout with Covid; Rob was admitted to the hospital for two weeks and is still battling low oxygen levels, but they are doing much better.
Ill. Rob is still a large part of the Drifters Unit he helped co-found in 2017. They just purchased 10 new trikes and can’t wait to start using them in parades and increasing the membership of the Unit. They have two members “in the wings” to bring on. The salt shed in the back of the building was erected by members of the Drifters a couple of years ago, and they can’t wait to get started on more projects.
He is still optimistic for this year, hoping that members can get together and have fun as soon as possible. He said, “Hold on when things get better!”
Still a very active Mason, he has stepped away from the scouts to dedicate his time to the Craft and the Shrine. Listening to his speech at his installation, I asked him for a copy afterwards,. He said, “There isn’t one, that was off the cuff.” It was very well spoken and informative. If you haven’t heard it, look on the Noble part of the Aleppo Shriners website to watch it. Like everyone else, he can’t wait to see everyone again and have fun as a Shriner.