Culpeper Masons will host the Manassas Kena Shriners at 7 p.m. next Thursday, Feb. 10 in an open house.
The special event, open to the public, is designed to raise awareness of one of the most effective and easily recognizable charities in the world.
Fairfax Lodge No. 43 AF&AM, upstairs at 209 E. Davis St., will open to showcase the group that supports more than two dozen Shriners Hospitals for Children across North America.
The fraternal organization is best known for the toy cars its members drive in parades.
Unfortunately, there will be no toy cars at the Culpeper Open House.
But the Kena Shriners will present a program on what Shriners do and how to become one, said Fred Soutter Jr., president of the Kena Shrine in Manassas as well as secretary of the Fairfax Lodge.
“All Shriners are Masons but not all Masons are Shriners. For a man to be a Shriner, he must first be a Mason,” Soutter said.
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“Members of the Kena Membership Committee come to Fairfax Lodge to present a program to Masons in the hope that some might become interested and join the sanctuary,” he said.
Shriners International is a fellowship based on pleasure, brotherhood and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief and truth, with nearly 200 temples in several countries and thousands of clubs around the world, according to the site. Group website.
Their mission is simple.
The Shriners are committed to being the premier fraternal organization for men of good character; provide quality interactive programs and services to members, their families and friends in the spirit of fun, fellowship and social fellowship; foster self-improvement through leadership, education, the perpetuation of moral values and community involvement; and serve humanity through the resources of his philanthropy, Shriners Hospitals for Children.
“Shriners are known for their compassion for others and for being active participants in local communities,” according to kena.org. “The main thing is that the Shriners help make the world a better place.”
Since 1952, Kena Shriners has been located in Northern Virginia from the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria.
In 1964 the temple moved to Fairfax City, and in 2018 Kena Shriners moved to her new home at 9500 Technology Drive in Manassas.
Kena Shriner’s secretary, Jeff St. Onge, has been a Mason since 2005. The iconic photo of a Shriner carrying a child — and his crutches — inspired the retired Air Force serviceman to join the fraternity.
“No man is taller than when he bends over a child,” St. Onge, a DOD contractor, said in a phone call. “I have so much, my children have grown up, have a good job and a home – why wouldn’t I give?”