By Paul Watts
Snow had fallen in the Boston area on Wednesday and Thursday, March 7 and 8, with snowfall amounts from 6 to 16 inches in the Greater-Boston area; hardly a time for convertibles to be out on the road. But wait, Saturday, March 10th was the annual Lawrence Saint Patrick’s Day parade; and the Aleppo Marching units and three Rag Tops – with their tops downwere out in force. This is the start of what is lining up as a busy parade season. Chief of Staff, Noble Ernest Pearlstein is hard at work on a parade schedule which currently has five parades through Memorial Day, and more to follow.
After many years, we returned to the Arlington Patriot’s Day Parade on Sunday, April 15th with four convertibles and were joined by members of the Aleppo Temple Arab Patrol who rode in the cars. Unfortunately, our next tour of duty and the return to another iconic parade – Lexington’s Patriot’s Day Parade on Monday, April 16th-was cancelled by the heavy rain downpours.
Upcoming for May are the Memorial Day Parades in Somerville (Sunday, May 20th) and Wilmington (Monday, May 28th); orders for these tours of duty have been mailed to all parading units and members. Please take a moment to return the acknowledgement to the Aleppo office if you are planning to attend.
The Rag Top Unit, with permission from the Potentate, has undertaken another fundraiser. We will provide collection containers to be carried in upcoming parades to collect funds for the Aleppo Shriners Children’s Transportation Fund. Any unit member or Shriner can assist by walking behind the Rag Tops in a parade and collect money from the sidelines. However, this must be approved by the town’s parade committee before we can do any collecting of funds. It is our hope that there are Shriners that are not currently engaged with a unit that would like to attend and march in the parades who are willing to be a part of this fund drive. Noble Hank Gilhooly is overseeing this project.
Ill. Harlan Woods has instituted a new program for participation by all units. For all tours of duties, including parades, each unit will be recorded by the Colonel of the Uniformed Units, Noble Richard Bartlett for the unit members in attendance. The unit finishing the year with the highest percentage of unit members participating over all tours of duty combined will receive for display in their unit room the Scimitar Award, and their name engraved on a plaque. Unit members must be present to be counted; so please make sure you add all tours of duty to your calendars and attend.
The Rag Top Unit always encourages our non-driving members to come out and join with us. It is both fun and rewarding; please make a point to add the parades to your busy schedule. The unit also welcomes any member from other Shrine units that wish to participate in the parades to ride with us. It is hard for a driver to cover both sides of the street waving at the parade crowds – so if you wish to participate in the parades and cannot walk, please see Captain Roger Metcalfe at any parade and offer to be a rider.
The Aleppo Shriners Circus has just completed its 2018 extravaganza, and twelve fun-filled and exciting shows were presented to our loyal patrons and Shriner families from Wednesday, April 18th, through Sunday, April 22nd. Captain Roger Metcalfe, Past Captain Bruce Dickey and their Circus Committee presented once again the Royal Hanneford Circus for the enjoyment by all in attendance (see circus article).
The Rag Top Unit once again stepped up in a big way to support the circus – providing staffing to the front hall concessions, circus concessions and hawker assistance, animal rides, fried dough, committee duties and the overall circus activities and assistance in setting up and tearing down the auditorium.
Programs at Aleppo like the circus can only be successful when the many volunteers from the Uniformed Units, Shrine Clubs, Aleppo’s membership, and of course the support of many family members – which once again we consider as having been outstanding-lend a helping hand. The volunteer support during circus week is always phenomenal, and every volunteer makes the most of their time providing fun and enjoyment to the public.
The Rag Top Unit is fortunate in the number of members, friends, and family volunteers that continue to provide their strong support of the circus. Thirty-four volunteers this year signed in under the Rag Top Unit – volunteering their own personal time towards this commitment helping to make this year’s circus a great success.
A big circus THANK YOU from the Aleppo Circus Committee to all of the Rag Top volunteers for your tireless efforts and support of the Aleppo Shriners Circus and the Rag Top Motor Unit: Captain Roger Metcalfe, Circus Committee Chairman, and Lady Marge, and family members Amy, Craig, Cali, and Jake; Past Captain Bruce Dickey, Circus Coordinator, and Lady Barbara, and sons Bruce Jr. and Noble David, with family members Abbie, Barbara, Brian, Christopher, David Jr., Emily, Sarah, and Suzanne, and friends Nadine Miller, Bella Toscano, and Mia DeGeorge; 1st Lieutenant Paul Watts and Lady Diane, with family members Heather and Noble Paul Jr. (a member of the Aleppo Provost Guard); 2nd Lieutenant Henry Gilhooly and Lady Janet; and Noble Brian McNaught. We also cannot forget our friends assisting the Rag Top Unit – Charles Kennedy, John Kerr, June Knowles, Kimberly Millo, Emily Mercanti and Hawa Tabayi. Thank you ALL once again from the bottoms of our heart for giving of YOUR time spent with us during Circus Week.
The June Ceremonial will be held on Saturday, June 9th, at the Aleppo Shrine Center. This is to be a full day of fun and entertainment. The ceremonial activities will start at 9 AM with the candidate’s reception, initiation and hot sands. The Ladies will enjoy a program on the 2nd floor Mezzanine level. At 1:00pm Aleppo will be open to Nobles, Ladies, family, and friends for the Aleppo Stewards Angus Steak Dinner and Charlie D’s Family Time Barbeque inside the auditorium. There will be entertainment for all the kids (bouncy houses, Pote’s Dunk Tank, face painting, etc.); and all Aleppo motorized units will display their vehicles for viewing and judging as best participating unit. If you are planning to bring your car, please let Captain Roger know so we can get spaces held.
During the year the Rag Top Unit continues to keep up with its sponsorship of the metal “Pull-Tab” collection program which produces needed donations to the Aleppo Shriners Children’s Transportation Fund. Several members are seen weekly in the garage area of the auditorium busy at work receiving the tabs from Aleppo’s generous donators; and processing them for conversion to cash which is presented regularly at the monthly Heads of Units meetings to the Potentate for the Transportation Fund. As the committee is generally made up of Rag Top members, they are always looking for an extra hand or two to help in sorting, bagging and turning in the aluminum for recycling. If you are free on a Tuesday morning, why don’t you come down and lend a hand. As has been reported in the past, due to space constraints, the unit has had to abandon the collection of cans at this time.
The Rag Top Unit is always in search of new members. The Rag Top Unit is open to all members of Aleppo Shriners. Motorized, street-legal vehicles are to be personally-owned and cared for by the members. Production convertible-top or a vehicle altered by its owner to be a convertible-style are recommended; but, the Unit will entertain membership from Shriners with antiques, classic, muscle cars, etc. for participation in the Unit. As the cars used for parading are privately-owned, their owners are obligated to carry an umbrella policy liability rider on their insurance – as directed by Shriners International (Tampa). Rag Top also solicits members to be “riders” – any Shrine member who would like to be a member of the unit without owning a vehicle for the sole purpose of riding in one of the member’s cars in parades and official tours of duty. Stop by the Unit Room during one of the ceremonials or at any of the many Shrine functions and talk with any of our members about your interest in joining the Rag Top Motor Unit.
Any Nobles with an interest in joining the Rag Tops may also contact any of the following members for more information:
Captain Roger Metcalfe:
(978) 657-9626; or firstname.lastname@example.org
Lt. Paul Watts, Secretary:
(781) 245-8020; or email@example.com
Lt. Henry Gilhooly, Treasurer:
(978) 658-8527; or firstname.lastname@example.org