Experience as a Shriner in Twin Cities has Been Life-Changing
For Gene Reece, being a Shriner has been life-changing for many reasons but two stand out: the brotherhood and the mission.
What makes Shriners Children’s so special is “the care that is provided regardless of a family’s ability to pay,” Gene said. “I also feel, as a Shriner, that our endeavors of transporting children and their families from their homes to our locations for treatment sets us apart from any other healthcare organization. Finally, our staff [is special] – in the many years I have been connected to this organization, I have never come across a staff member who was not involved and committed to our mission of providing the most amazing care anywhere.”
Gene joined Beja Shrine in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in 1996 as a legacy Shriner. He was encouraged to join by his uncle and cousin. In 2014, Gene became a member of the Board of Governors for Shriners Children’s Twin Cities, serving as the Chairman from 2021-2022.
As Shriners International celebrates 150 years, Gene is extremely excited to have the honor of wearing the red fez and be part of a brotherhood of men dedicated to the mission of Shriners Children’s. He is also extremely proud of the ladies who stand side by side with him and other Shriners to support the fraternity and its philanthropy.
Gene learned the impact of his fez firsthand while having breakfast at Shriners Children’s Twin Cities before a board meeting.
“A young patient and her family were sitting across the room from me. At the time, I was not wearing my fez. I smiled and waved at her and she simply ignored my interaction and actually turned away,” Gene recalled. “As I finished breakfast, I put my fez on to go to my meeting. The young girl looked at me, her eyes became wide open and a large smile came to her face. She began waving to me. I waved back with a smile and traveled on. From that day forward, I make it my duty to always wear my fez in our facilities, as she demonstrated to me just how much Shriners and the "red fez" means to her and other patients.”
Sharing the message of Shriners International and Shriners Children’s is Gene’s passion. He speaks fondly of the opportunities he has had to spread the message to hundreds of individuals and many different service organizations, as well as the time spent at countless community events.
“As a member of the Shriners International fraternity and Shriners Children’s Twin Cities Board of Governors, I could not be more proud to work to change the lives of children and stand side by side with some of the best people I have ever met.”
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