The Shrine Circus of the Ballut Abyad of Albuquerque, was a huge success. Weather was good and the 60,000 tickets given out to children, both in English and Spanish was well received by the community of Albuquerque and surrounding areas.
Over 100 Shriners and wives, and youth came and offered their special gifts of service, creating an efficient and we'll run project. The Circus finished up Sunday, Valentine's Day, with a great day and huge crowds. Where else can kids, even injured and medically kids needing positive therapy, get to ride a camel or an elephant? Talk about smiles and memories for a life time!
Watching our Shrine kids, some with artificial limbs, some wheelchairs as they got the 'best box seats in the house' was a joy. When I saw how many kids rode the elephants and the camel, it brought back memories from 5 decades ago, when I was a child.
This Shrine Circus is a gift to the community. A gift of family entertainment and a gift of love to kids. I cannot tell you how many little gifts of joy, of Shrine clowns, of youth and aged alike were given by Shriners to bring smiles to the faces of young children. Plus the gift is to the City of Albuquerque, because it brings peaceful joy and clean entertainment to a community that so much needs peaceful and non violent events. With a massive rage of robberies, car hijackings, and seemingly unprecedented crime in NE heights areas, the thousands of people who participated in the Shrine Circus were absolutely safe and full of peace and joy. Shriners got 30,000 people together over a 3 day period with no violence, no vandalism, no theft...just smiles and joy. Perhaps the Mayor, the Sheriff and Police of Albuquerque, should learn something from the Shriners. They can't seem to stop the crime wave, but the Shriners did! Security and care was exceptional, but hardly noticed it was so well done.
To the State of New Mexico, the Bernalillo County Officials and Local city leaders, you should consider how much the Shriners are contributing back to this town. Shriners provide medical care for 92,000 kids per year in our 22 hospitals nation wide. We provide this at no charge. Shriners were helping kids, before "for profit" hospitals decided that it was cool. While most hospitals consider kids "economic units", Shriner Hospitals, as non profits, consider them children needing love and care. We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars back into every community where a Shrine Temple is active. It saddened me to hear that the Shriners in Albuquerque had to pay an increased fee of $40,000 for the Tingley Colosseum , for the joy of putting the 2016 Circus there, with our volunteer labor and our massive contributions back to families, kids and citizens of this county. Shriners don't take the money back to some far away city for profit, we spend it all, or give it all back to New Mexico. The thousands of Shriners in New Mexico give, not take from communities. Perhaps communities need to remember, that we are saving kids lives, and doing it all at our expense, as our gifts. We have thousands of citizens in New Mexico who tell us that a grandchild, nephew, brother or sister has been helped by Shriners, at no cost. Remember this when you think of the Shriners. We give much more than anyone can imagine, give and then give more. As a community, tell your elected officials to know, that if the Shriners were not here, there would be a huge loss and vacuum in our city and state. Support Shriners, support our efforts to help kids. Let's not load the Shriners down with exorbitant fees or rents and make it inhospitable to them.
In Phoenix Arizona, the Mayor, School Principals, Governor, the firemen, police and major business leaders all get behind the Shriners, because they recognize and appreciate what we are doing. How about New Mexico, our politicians and leaders need to get back into the game. We will all
benefit from the contributions and investment that Shriners bring to this area. Remember, the good health of our kids, is our future!