To the editor:
The Indianapolis area is in for some excitement soon, as 15,000 Shriners International members and their families fill up area hotels, event spaces and businesses for the international fraternity’s annual Imperial Session. This is the 139th year for this international convention. This is an important event for a worthy organization, and it is an honor for the community to host it.
The session is a time for the Shriners to conduct their annual meeting, name their new executive leader — the Imperial Potentate — and celebrate with contests, parties and a parade. It is projected to fill 2,700 Indianapolis hotel rooms and bring in $6.1 million in revenue for local businesses.
Shriners International is a fraternity focused on tradition, fun and philanthropy. You may know of the Shriners because of their festive attire and the parades and circuses they put on, or you may be familiar with their philanthropy: Shriners Hospitals for Children. This is a nonprofit network of 22 facilities treating children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate, regardless of their families’ ability to pay. In 2012, more than 1,530 children from Indiana received treatment from the health care system.
As a community, we have much to thank the Shriners for. The Shriners built the Murat Shrine because they saw a need for a grand theater in the city and for a while provided a home for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. The Indianapolis Zoo received its first animal – a camel – from the Shriners, and the Murat Shriners were responsible for the first Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade.
The Shriners will be in town from June 30 through July 4. Please join me in welcoming members of this worthwhile organization.
John and Margaret Cinotto
Shriners International Imperial Potentate-Elect and First Lady-Elect