Lady Gloria and I started the year off with a bang!! Over 300 people attended the Installation of the new Potentate on January 18, 2020. In addition, we initiated over 30 new Shriners that day!
On Saturday, February 1, 2020, we installed the officers for the North Shore Shrine Club. We enjoyed a great Potentate’s weekend at the Burlington Marriott on February 7 to February 9, 2020. Many Potentates and their Divan and Ladies from across the North East Shrine Association attended.
We attended the Steward’s Winter Party on February 23, 2020, at Capone’s in Peabody. We also attended the Aleppo Drifters Paint and Sip event on February 27, 2020, which raised funds for the unit and Aleppo. Who knew we had so many wonderful artists among us!
I attended the PREMIER event of the year, the “SMOKER” on February 28, 2020. Over 790 Nobles and guests attend this wicked awesome event. The food, cigars and meeting new friends were part of the highlights of the evening. The biggest highlight of the evening was raising $79,000 for the Aleppo’s Children Transportation Fund. Wicked HUGE kudos go out to our Illustrious Recorder Steve Eriksen!! His attention to detail makes this yearly event so successful!! Each year more and more people attend, and our donation to the Aleppo Shriners Children Transportation Fund grows!
Aleppo members and the Divan were off in a great direction for the year!
COVID–19 hit us hard!! Everything we know and always did came to an abrupt halt on March 11, 2020. This Coronavirus – COVID–19 was declared a Pandemic and our way of life changed dramatically!! We have to stop the spread of this virus.
We learned new terms: Maintain social distance of six feet. Stay home if you’re sick; avoid close contact with others. Wash your hand often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use alcohol-based hand gel when soap and water is not available. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Clean things frequently touched. WEAR A MASK!
The Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, closed schools, reduced the number of people that could gather together, closed restaurants and bars, closed theaters, all among some of the drastic efforts to stop the virus from spreading.
The Divan followed suit by closing the building to all until further notice. With that we learned another new term, CANCELLED!! So it was with sadness that we had to CANCEL the following: Circus, St Patrick’s Dinner Party, all parades until further notice, June’s Ceremonial, Imperial Session in Kansas City, MO, all the Clubs and Units receptions for the Potentate, boys and girls All Star Hockey Classic, along with the All Star Football Game, Northeast Shrine Field Days in Gananoque Ontario, and face to face Divan meetings. We recently cancelled the Feztival of Trees and the Potentate’s trip to Aruba. We reduced staff.
Another new term was Zoom Meetings. Our membership has always been strong and always close. The Units and Clubs used the Zoom platform to stay in touch and communicate with each other. Your Divan did the same. We conducted our monthly business via Zoom and continued to care for our Aleppo members and our building. The Divan stayed in touch with each other weekly to monitor this fluid situation.
We have just started allowing units and clubs back in the building, but with COVID–19 guidelines. Remember, if you wish to access your room or to meet, you must call our Illustrious Recorder Steve and make a reservation. So far, we have had multiple units and clubs meet with great success. We appear to be moving forward but very cautiously. Hoping Phase Four is nearby!
Leon Golden and his “Canners” have been out in full force and have collected over $50,000 for our Aleppo Shriners Children’s Transportation fund. We have patients in our Shriners Hospital – Boston receiving care for burns. Our mission has never stopped!
I am very proud of our members!! You have reached out to each other and have checked on the welfare of each other. You have maintained the proper guidelines.
Lady Gloria and I pray for the safety and health of each of our members and their families. We hope we are soon back to meeting together and enjoying the brotherly love!
We are family, we are Shriners, we are Masons!
Warm Fraternal Regards,
Gary D. Bartlett