By Jinifer Rae
The Johnson County Shrine Club received a generous donation of just over $4,000 when the Watauga Hunters Club closed recently.
The money was donated to give back to the community. Johnson County Shrine Club President Rob Wilson said, “That really helped the kids.”
The Johnson County Shrine Club is a local chapter supporting the pediatric population by providing transportation needed for hospital visits. Although connected with the Mason Temple in Kingsport, the Shrine Club has 25 volunteers who do much for Johnson County.
“We are known as the Johnson County Roadrunners,” Wilson said. “We transport kids as far away as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Cincinnati, Ohio. All at no cost to the kids,” said Wilson. He continues: “all the money we received from the Watauga Hunters Club went to maintenance and gas to get the kids where they need to go. None of the volunteers gets paid. The Shriners hospital does it for free. Everything is donations. It is all from the heart. We want to help the kids in need.”
The fraternity sells papers twice a year for the Shriners hospital as a fundraiser.
Other events to collect donations include hotdog sales at rallies and street collections. Residents will see
the fraternity brothers
wearing the recognizable Shriner red hat with a big smile collecting money near downtown Mountain City. All the donations are greatly appreciated. Wilson said, “We really appreciate Johnson County’s support. They do great.”
Shiners International was founded in philanthropy. According to their website, “Founded as the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, the organization has grown and evolved over the decades. In 1870, thirteen men came together as Masons to have fellowship and fun. That small group has grown into an international organization known for establishing a globally recognized pediatric healthcare system. In the late 1900s to early 2000s, the fraternity was referred to as Shriners of North America, given that chapters were in the U.S. and Canada. In 2010, a resolution was passed to replace the name with Shriners International, reflecting the fraternity’s worldwide presence.”
A proposal was made in 1919 to establish a hospital that offered medical care to children at no cost. In 1922 Shriners International opened its first hospital. Today
the healthcare system
consists of 22 hospitals in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. In addition, the hospitals, clinics, outpatient centers, and telehealth sites offer children medical services regardless of their ability to pay.
For more information, see Johnson County Tennessee Shrine Club on FaceBook.