June 6 is a special day for all of us at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California. Designated as Shriners International Awareness Day, it is the day we celebrate the founding of the original governing body of the Shriners fraternity in 1876.For more than a century, families in communities big and small have come to know the Shriners as the men in the red fezzes who drive the little cars in parades, dress as clowns to entertain kids of all ages and, of course, support Shriners Hospitals for Children.
It is so fitting that we celebrate our Shriners this week. On Saturday, June 9, Shriners will be leading the parade of participants in our second annual Walk for LOVE™ here at our hospital. Their smiles, enthusiasm and colorful outfits surely will bring smiles to all who join us in this special celebration as the Shriners focus on family fun. It will reinforce our community’s belief in the men who are focused on fun for all ages.
But we know the Shriners as much more. As the name implies, Shriners Hospitals for Children is the official philanthropy of the Shriners — the fraternity of men who founded the hospital system that bears its name. The first Shriners Hospital opened in 1922, and since then Shriners Hospitals for Children has grown into a network of 22 facilities stretching across the United States and into Canada and Mexico. Children in cities and towns across the United States, Canada, Mexico and points abroad have been treated at Shriners Hospitals, regardless of their families’ ability to pay.
Shriners are an integral part of our Northern California hospital story. We extend a great big thank you to the Shriners and their families for all they do to make a positive difference in the lives of children. The Shriners volunteer in our clinic and greet families treated by our medical team. They lead hospital tours to introduce the community to our hospital. They drive patients to and from appointments. They assist with fundraising, and so much more.
The leadership of Shriners International is mindful that June 6 also is honored as D-Day, the day in 1944 when Allied forces landed on the beach in Normandy to begin the invasion of northern France and liberation of northwestern Europe. Shriners International honors the valor and courage of everyone who served on D-Day. Many historic events happen on a single day; and June 6 holds a special meaning for the fraternity.
To Shriners here in Northern California — and around the world — we say thank you, for all that you do!