Today, June 6, is an important day in American history... but you don't need me to tell you that. This year is the 68th anniversary of D-Day, and it's something every patriotic American marks with awe and gratitude.
But, even before D-Day, June 6 had an important significance in American history: it was the day that the Shriners International fraternity formed with its 13 original members in Manhattan, NY. Today marks the 140th annivesary of the fraternity that was originally called "The Ancient and Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine."
Today at Shriners Hospitals for Children, my coworkers and I celebrated this important day by opening our doors to the Shriners who founded this great hospital network, and showed our appreciation for all those men who support us, fund us and lead us. It was a simple affair: we brought a "potluck breakfast" to the hospital - items made in our own kitchens from our hearts of gratitude - and invited the Shriners for a reception so we could shake their hands, give them a hug and thank them in person for the sacrifices they make for this wonderful hospital.
Shriners in the St. Louis metro area - the Moolah Shriners in St. Louis and the Ainad Shriners in Illinois - are only 2 of 21 Shrine chapters that support this hospital in Frontenac (which, yesterday was named by US News and World Report as the 8th best pediatric orthopedic hospital in America). Here in the metro area, and in the 8 states surrounding Missouri, and in fact, throughout the country, thousands of Shriners give their personal time and funds to benefit this hospital.
If you know a Shriner, make a point to call him today and thank him for his service. His personal sacrifices and his generous gifts of love to this philanthropy makes it possible for the physicians and staff of this hospital to give thousands of kids their childhoods back. Shriners bring love to the rescue of children every day, with the millions of hours they volunteer and the millions of miles they drive to bring patients to our hospital.
Love makes the difference at Shriners Hospitals for Children - and it starts with Shriners who founded us. Their love of helping children drives the medical breakthroughs our doctors achieve - from finding the genetic cause of inherited bone diseases, to finding cures to rare bone conditions that had previously been untreatable. Love is what makes our hospital feel like a home and it's what cares for them throughout their entire childhood.
I have worked for Shriners Hospitals for Children for 10 years, and I can say without a doubt that my favorite part of this job is getting to know the men of the fraternity. They are so much more than men who wear silly hats and drive little cars - although that's part of what makes them so special. While these men love to have fun and aren't afraid to look silly in order to entertain children of all ages, they have a mission they take very seriously: they love this hospital and the children we help so much, that I see grown men cry on nearly a daily basis.
Get to know a Shriner. Better yet, join them (www.beashrinernow.com). And if you know a Shriner, be sure to thank him today for being a part of what makes this nation so great.