Hella Shriner – Jeff Haven Reflects on the Meaning of Being a Shriner
June 6 is Shriners International Awareness Day, a day to celebrate the fun, fellowship and stewardship that comes with being part of the Shriners organization.
The Shriners International fraternity has been part of Jeff Haven’s life for generations. Haven, incoming Chairman of the Board for Shriners Children’s Texas, said his father and both of his grandfathers were Shriners. In fact, he has fond memories of making frequent trips to his father’s Shrine chapter as a child to eat and talk with other members.
“As a child growing up, I remember we would stop at the Scottish Rite Cathedral in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He said the Shrine was in the building and that is where and why we stopped to eat, because he was a Shriner,” Haven said. Because of these memories, Haven knew without a doubt that he wanted to become a Shriner himself.
“After one conversation, I was intrigued to find out more, so I petitioned the lodge and became a member in 2001,” Haven said. “In 2004, I became a Shriner at Hella temple near Dallas, Texas.”
Haven wants to see his family legacy continue, and hopes that his grandson will choose to be a Shriner as well. The chance to be part of a group that not only gives back on a large scale but also through small, face-to-face interactions is an important honor for Haven, and he hopes that he plays a small part in improving lives.
“I enjoy seeing the smiles of young children at parades when the clowns or other Shriners clubs interact with the crowd. It just puts a smile on my face when I see the big grins on the children,” he said. “The hope is that I have made a small difference in a child’s life for the better. We also have fun in doing so!”
Haven loves using his photographic talent to give back to the organization. He often takes photos at Shrine events to share with other members and the community.
This year, Shriners International will celebrate 150 years, and Shriners Hospitals for Children will celebrate 100 years. To Haven, being a Shriner means that he’s part of a fraternity that has stood the test of time, all while working to improve the lives of others.
“It’s not about ourselves, but what we can do for others to improve their lives for the better. It’s what we do as Shriners. I love being a Shriner because I am part of something bigger than just myself,” he said.
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