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Traditionally the immediate Past Potentate is not seen much the year after his service to the nobility is finished. I always thought it was to allow our new leadership to have the spotlight. Most Past Illustrious Sirs are very cognizant to not make it seem as if he is always looking over the shoulder of the next man in charge. I am quickly learning that the disappearing act just after being the Potentate may actually be out of exhaustion. Between taking care of a family, taking care of work, and taking care of the Shrine it can be pretty overwhelming. It is tough enough having one major event the year a Potentate has the helm, but I have been blessed with three… Imperial in Indy, moving to a new home, and the Sportsman’s Raffle. Thankfully I am surrounded by people who are dedicated to making Mizpah great. Like the Beatles said, “I’ll get by with a little help from my friends.”

The Imperial Session in Indianapolis is approaching fast and Ron Harruff and the office staff are working hard to keep on top of the numerous loose ends that need to be tied up before July. We are learning quickly that having Imperial so close adds to the work load. I have said for years that I want the Nobles of Mizpah to have the opportunity to experience what being a Shriner is all about. We will have to wait thirteen more years for the largest gathering of Shriners to return to Indiana so please take advantage of how close Imperial is this year. If you were unable to take advantage of the housing in Indianapolis I would invite you to ride the bus down to participate in the Parade. Judy Klemm and Karen Kippert will need a head count for the bus by May 15th to ensure there is enough space for everyone. The bus will leave Fort Wayne on the morning of July 1st and then return home that night after the parade. We are doing everything we can to stay on top of this exciting event. Please keep yourself informed on the many ways you can participate in the Imperial Session by visiting the Mizpah website at www. mizpahshrine.com.

I would like to congratulate Jim Lobsiger and the entire Building Committee for a job well done. I do not envy the responsibility they have taken on. I know that the task they have accepted can be thankless. I have been in the Divan for over four years and have never attended a meeting that the building has not been discussed. All the hard work is finally paying off. We are in the finished with the final planning stages of the building of our new home. The permits have been pulled. The drawings are done. The work begins May 6th. We are moving. The Nobility has had years to prepare and the time is now. I hope every Shriner understands that our new home ensures that we will be able to support the Shrine Hospitals for Children for the next 100 years.

How do you build a major fundraiser from the ground up? Ask Dave Elliott and the entire Sportsman’s Raffle committee and they will tell you. From last fall to early spring these men have labored to create what I personally believe will be next uniting force in Mizpah. We know we do a circus better than anybody. The question has always been, ”Can we do another fundraiser just as well?” On Saturday September 7th we are going to prove we can. Through the cooperation of many units we are set to launch an event that will prove we are more than just a circus. This fall we are going to start a tradition of excellence that will continue for years to come. You will not want to miss out on this event. Please check out www.shrine-sportsman.com to find out how your club or unit can participate.

And now I need your help. As you know the Nobles of Mizpah will gather to enjoy the Mizpah Mardi Gras on May 18th. In conjunction with this festive event we are holding a Silent Auction to benefit the Mizpah Transportation Fund. I am asking the members of our great fraternity to step forward and donate goods and services to be auctioned throughout the night. This auction will serve as a way to help support our mission and have fun while doing it. Please consider giving a little to help a lot. You can contact the Mizpah Shrine Office with any questions on how you can play a part.

Your Humble Servant,
Mike Hardiek, Potentate
Mizpah Shrine Center