Shriners come from all walks of life. We are members of the community who are working or retired, members of the trades, business professionals, business leaders and men who want to just have fun. We are fathers, uncles and sons. We are also brothers. When you become a Shriner, you become part of a brotherhood of men committed to family, engaged in ongoing personal growth, and dedicated to providing care of children and families in need through Shriners Hospitals for Children regardless of their ability to pay.
While our backgrounds and interests may be diverse, what binds us together are shared values and a desire to have fun, do good and build relationships that can last a life time. Is it time for you to learn more about Shriners International? Visit www.beashrinernow.com and find out. You can also go to our Join Nile page for what it will take to join.
Michael J. Riley | Potentate 2023
Just over eight years ago, I was asked to step up and run for the office of Oriental Guide by Illustrious Sir David Brady. He was a good man, and I was eager to serve. My first board meeting, I recall asking myself, what the heck did I get myself into? We were in real financial trouble, and it looked like I would never actually be potentate as both selling the property and closing the doors were real possibilities, though nobody really wanted that. I worked with some great men who made some difficult choices, we gave it our all and saved the Nile by correcting the financial hemorrhaging.
In 2020, it was my turn to finally step up to the big chair. I recall lots of kudos after my first meeting, and I was excited to continue to make improvements and put my polishing touches on all we had accomplished until then. I was the youngest Potentate that the Nile had elected in over 50 years. I worked a full-time job and was very active in my blue lodge, as well as many concordant and appendant bodies. Additionally, I spent 5+ days a week in the office being accessible. All was going well then Covid hit and everything was shut down. My year of glory was transformed into a year of managing the businesses of the Nile as fraternal and social activities were shut down.
Thankfully, the nobility decided that they wanted to give me another opportunity and elected me back into the line. So here I am again, ready to start my year again. My focus this year is three-fold. First that we document & archive as many of the processes as possible, so all future Nile leaders will have a reference to follow. It is not fair to expect each new divan member to recreate the wheel from scratch based on their recollection alone. It is counterproductive, wastes time, and results in either failures or non-reproducible success.
Second, we address the elephant in the room—membership. We can be a footnote in some history books about the group that helped initially found and support the World’s Greatest Philanthropy back in the 1920s. Or a group that owned a Golf Course on Lake Ballinger. Or we can find new members to allow us to be around in another hundred years.
I am proud of my red fez and what it stands for, and I am not ashamed to ask my friends to join, even if they are not currently Masons. That’s right; I can’t ask someone to be a Mason, but I can ask them to be a Shriner. Several lodges in the area are willing to partner with us. We are working to reduce the barriers, but we need every Shriner to solicit prospective members.
Third, we need to grow our value streams. We need to build our revenues and continue to add value to the Building, Grounds, Golf Course, Catering, Restaurant and Haunted House businesses. Some big projects on the horizon include: upgrading the elevator, replacing the irrigation pump, inspecting and replacing the sprinkler system, and replacing the street side reader board.
If we accomplish these three items this year, the Nile will be in a much better position going forward. I have worked hard for the past eight years, not for my year, but so the Nile will be stronger for my contribution.
I am very pleased to be the 2023 Potentate of the Nile Shriners. I hope that you can attend our upcoming fun events, including: the Oriental Band Crab Feed on February 11th, the Roaring 20’s Costume Ball on February 25th, and the Kentucky Derby Themed Ladies Luncheon on May 6th. Thank you for your support and I look forward to another year of Having Fun Helping Kids.
Ill Sir Michael J Riley, 2023 Potentate Elect
At the recent Conference of Grand Masters in Louisville, Kentucky, Imperial Potentate Jeff Sowder, along with Scottish Rite Sovereign Grand Commanders David A. Glattly, 33° (Northern Masonic Jurisdiction), and James D. Cole, 33° (Southern Jurisdiction), announced a formal partnership on the Path Forward for Freemasonry.
As part of that initiative, the three leaders announced BeaFreemason.org, which features a wealth of information including an explanation of Masonic terms, lodge life, symbolism, degrees and family organizations. Launched in mid-February, this first-of-its-kind site introduces Freemasonry to men who are looking to "become the best version" of themselves. The site has a "Get in Touch" button, so prospects (in North America) can fill out a short form that will put them in touch with a Masonic leader in their local area. We hope you share this helpful site with men that you know who are committed to lives of honor, integrity and character.
For more information, go to: beafreemason.org