All El Zaribah Shriners, and myself, wish to thank the city of Payson, and all of our neighbors for extending the warm welcome that we always receive when we join in your Rodeo parade.
At this time, I will put a stop to all of the "rumors" floating around. That the Shriners "did not want to attend" is totally wrong. We have always maintained that we do not pay any entry fee to participate in any parade; and, Payson Rodeo parade is no exception. Therefore, when we were notified to remit a $50 entry fee to support a charitable cause that someone on the organizing committee had taken on; as the Potentate (CEO) of El Zaribah, I posted the word, "If we are being charged to be in the parade, then we will not go!") While we certainly aren't opposed to supporting charitable organizations, we need to make everyone aware that we are a charitable organization as well. The fee is not the issue. The issue was that we were asked to pay, or not participate in your parade.
Shriners travel some distance, at their own expense, bringing their own equipment, mini cars, motorcycles, horses and, yes, even camels, just to bring smiles on people's faces. Staying one to two days, bringing dollars into your community, that is just one reason why we don't pay entry fees. The other is our philanthropy.
Your local Zane Grey Shrine Club in Payson supports many children from your area by donating their time and money to send children to an outreach clinic in Phoenix, and as each child's medical needs are diagnosed, dictates which clinic of Shriner's Hospital they, and one parent or guardian, will travel to. These travel expenses are also paid by Zane Grey Shrine Club and El Zaribah. There is no charge for treatment to the family of the patient child. We support 22 Shriner's hospitals in North America, Canada and Mexico.
Typically, in other parts of the United States, Shrine groups are paid, or donations are made, to participate in civic parades, to help insure the medical needs of children are met in the future.
Thank you for the publicity in your local newspapers, and, once again, thanks for your hospitality.
Thank you for "helping us help them."
John Kinter, Potentate 2003, El Zaribah Shriners