2007 Acacia Shrine Club Story

President Byron L. Burkhardt

2007 Imperial Parade

“Houston, this is mission control; the Acacia has Landed… I repeat, the Acacia Shrine Club has landed.”

It began as an idea from a Noble who, seeing a need, wanted to make a difference. From that simple idea, like the phoenix rising from its ashes, the Acacia Shrine Club has risen.

As the newest member of the Al Malaikah shrine club family, the Acacia Shrine Club has dedicated itself to the goal of assisting other Masonic entities in any way it can, from fundraising for the Shriners Hospitals to degree work at the Blue Lodges.

After receiving its charter and Installing its officers in December 2006, the club has hit the ground running. With an original membership of 31, the numbers have grown to 33 members and climbing. In the month of January the club had strong representation at the recent elections for the Al Malaikah leadership, and plans to continue the support for all future elections to come. Acacia Club President, Edgar Santos, expressed his excitement over the current success of the club. “I had no doubt that this club would be a potential success once I realized how many Nobles were willing to rise to the challenge.” he said. “We have nowhere to go now but up.”

With a true understanding for the mission of the Shriners, The Club has recently had one of its charter Nobles, Dante Pagilagan, sponsor a child from the Philippines in need of urgent, specialized medical assistance. After a quite difficult entry into the U.S., this young boy, Jed Zubiri, accompanied by his mother, has completed the first part of his orthopedic surgery at the Los Angeles Shriners Hospital, and is now recuperating at Noble Dante’s home. If he is cleared by his surgeon in the latter part of March, he will be returning to the Philippines with a new lease on life. Due to the complexity of his orthopedic issues, he will need to undergo additional surgery in three to four years, which is slated for completion at the Shriners Hospital. For Noble Pagilagan, this is just the beginning. “After becoming a Shriner in 2001, I wasn’t quite sure what my purpose was for being a member other than paying my dues.” Said Noble Pagilagan. “Seeing the whole process with Jed made me realize why I am a Shriner. Noble Dante, as well as Jed and his mother were nothing short of amazed at how the system works. “It’s incredible; there’s no politics involved like a normal hospital, said Noble Pagilagan. “There isn’t the worry of where the money is going to come from.”

The club has also been proactive in encouraging Blue Lodge members, families and friends to take a tour of the Shriners Hospital to see the results of the countless contributions each and every Noble makes. In addition, the club has established a website (http://acaciashrineclub.org) which has been designed to facilitate easy communication among it’s members, as well as keep other Nobles of the Shrine community informed of the club’s activities.

In order to never lose sight of their Blue Lodge Brothers, the Acacia Shrine Club is currently in the process of forming a third degree team under the guidance of Noble Rene Espiritu, in hopes of making each Third Degree a meaningful and memorable event for the newly raised brother or brothers.

During the recent Laughlin ceremonial, in their new, shiny gold jackets, the club made their presence known by assisting with the receiving of novices, as well as quietly participating in countless other ways. For Acacia’s third Vice-president, Felix Aure, it was his first visit to the Laughin Ceremonial. “As I looked around while I was there, I realized that I was probably one of the youngest guys there; I definitely saw a need for additional younger Nobles to keep the strength of the Shrine going.” said Aure. “Irregardless of anyone’s age, I was amazed at the outpouring of friendship and hospitality of the Nobles from various temples, most of whom I had never met before, but afterwards felt as though I had known them for a long time.”

Under the chairmanship of Noble Ernie Marzo and Noble Rio Santonil, the club has also taken on the challenge of assisting Al Malaikah by garnering sponsorship for the Imperial First Lady’s’ luncheon souvenir handout for the July gathering of the 2007 Imperial Council.

As an added celebration to the club’s genesis, one of its charter members, Noble Elito Santarina has been recently re-elected to the Carson City Council. We couldn’t ask for a better example of a good man who is striving to make things better for everyone else.

Without a doubt, whenever there is help needed, whether it be at the Shrine or in the Blue Lodge, you may just simply have to look over your shoulder to see an Acacia Shrine Club Member standing by ready to assist.

 

Fraternally,
Byron L. Burkhardt
1st Vice President (2007)
Acacia Shrine Club

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