Boston Board of Governors Chairman Reflects on a Legacy of Caring for Children
Dean M. Whalen, Esq. has been a Shriner since 2006, when he joined the Springfield Melha Shrine Center.
When former Shriners Children’s Boston patient Dan Caro gave a presentation to the Melha Shrine Center, sharing his incredible journey as a burn survivor, Whalen was inspired to join the Boston Board of Governors. “After I heard Dan’s story and learned that he became a Shriner himself to give back to the philanthropy that helped him thrive after his burn injury, I knew I wanted to become more involved at the hospital level. Once I visited the hospital and saw for myself the great work being done, I was eager to contribute,” Mr. Whalen said. Mr. Whalen became a member of the Boston Board of Governors in 2012.
Mr. Whalen first became familiar with Shriners Children’s through families he met who received care at the Springfield location. They were grateful for the care they experienced. The praise that both the fraternity and hospital system received motivated him to discover how he could be a part of the mission that focused on changing families’ lives for the better.
As Chairman of the Boston Board of Governors, Mr. Whalen is committed to guiding Shriners Children’s Boston as it carries on its mission to treat children in need of burn care, cleft lip and palate procedures, and reconstructive and laser plastic surgery.
According to Dean Whalen, Shriners Children's is special because of its ability to provide wrap-around care that cannot be received anywhere else. He admires the dedication and specialized care of our compassionate staff members at all Shriners Children’s locations.
In addition to his devotion to Shriners Children’s over many years, Mr. Whalen is passionate in his efforts to contribute to his community. He is a member of Mount Holyoke Lodge of Masons, and has coached football and basketball through the South Hadley Recreation Department. Mr. Whalen is on the Board of Trustees for Trinity Health of New England. He won the 2019 Alumni Association Humanitarian Award from Saint Anselm College as well as Mercy Medical Center’s Caritas Award for his philanthropic efforts.
The Chairman’s work does not end there. Along with his brother Dan, Mr. Whalen has helped organize Rock the House, a musical fundraising event that benefits the Boston and Springfield Shriners Children’s locations. In six years, this event has raised over $80,000 for the hospitals.
As the 150th anniversary of Shriners International is celebrated, Mr. Whalen reflects on his experiences and remembers the influence Shriners Children’s has on the lives of their patients. During a Shriners International ceremonial in a dark room, a grateful Dan Caro began playing the drums as a spotlight beamed down on him. Dan had become a jazz musician in New Orleans despite losing all of his fingers and thumbs. He is proof that the work Shriners Children's does is crucial to bettering the lives of its patients. During this ceremony, Caro gave a moving speech about what it means to him to be a Shriner.
The ability of the Shriners Children's mission to carry on for over a hundred years “is because of the dedicated Shriners and their ladies who support the hospitals,” said Mr. Whalen. He credits the fraternity for their contributions and is proud they have helped so many children. He knows the fraternity must continue to work hard to keep these efforts going. “For the past century Shriners Children’s and its dedicated staff have provided care to the most vulnerable children in the world, simply because it is the right thing to do,” he shared. “We will continue to be here in the decades to come for the children who need us the most.”
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