Shriners often are easy to spot, especially at special events such as parades, as they walk or ride around wearing their fez hats. They sometimes elicit some ribbing as people mock their choice in head gear. Many people don't understand what their organization is all about.
But almost everyone who has heard of the Shriners associate the name with public service, particularly assistance for children.
Such is the case with Shriners who serve in Southern Utah. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, they and medical personnel will be at the Doctors Volunteer Clinic, 1036 E. Riverside Drive in St. George, to screen children from our region for potential life-enhancing medical procedures at one of the organization's top-notch hospitals.
Shriners Hospitals have been assisting kids with serious medical issues since 1922. With a focus on specialized care, the Shriners have medical professionals determine if a child would benefit from available treatments, and if that is the case, there is no charge for those services. A parent's ability to pay and insurance coverage doesn't factor into the equation.
Over the years, Shriners have built their reputation on caring for children who, in many cases, have nowhere else to go. Shriners provide orthopedic care to correct birth defects, join injuries and diseases of the musculoskeletal system. They provide some of the best burn care. They assist with spinal cord injury rehabilitation and repair cleft lips and palates.
Shriners also support vast amounts of medical research and provide opportunities for physicians who receive their residency education and postgraduate fellowships at their facilities.
Southern Utah families are encouraged to take their children who may need assistance to the Doctors Volunteer Clinic on Saturday. The Shriners may not be able to help everyone, but they can help some. And those children will have the opportunity for an improved quality of life as a result.
Shriners may be known for wearing their fez hats and riding in miniature vehicles at parades, and those activities put smiles on the faces in the crowd. After Saturday, local Shriners hope to put at least a few more smiles on the faces of area kids and their parents. And that is a great public service.
The Spectrum.com & Daily News