Well, Nobles here it is, already the middle of February and it seems like installation was yesterday. Since
then we have been to Hillah for their installation, had Divan and Unit head/Club training with a great dinner. We
traveled to Prineville for the East/West football team selection, where we had a nice visit with the nobles and
ladies of Central Oregon. The teams were selected and the E/W Committee is already planning for the big game in
August, which will be played at 5pm. Hopefully we can skip the thunderstorm this year.
Next we headed to our northern jurisdiction to visit our counterpart at Nile Shrine Center for his Potentate’s Ball. We
had four of our counterparts in attendance and we all had a great time. The next morning we all got up and hustled
back to Al Kader for the “Big Game” party where we watched the home team lose on a crazy call. I had a quiet weekend, because
Lady Kathy had laryngitis and came down with Whooping Cough. I always knew she was a big kid. The next weekend the Divan
took a breather to get ready for our next events. This past Saturday, we celebrated Mardi Gras with a great party at the
Center and ate Cajun & Creole food provided by Dave Dalton and his team. Nice Job. For entertainment, the Howlin
Hobbit & the Accidental Rhino provided great jazz music for the evening. We had guests show up in awesome masks and
costumes. For those of you who missed this event, you still have the opportunity to attend one of the next 8 socials this year.
Well we are one the road again this weekend, heading to Seattle for winter PNSA for some membership training and other useful
information for Al Kader.
Next weekend is the reception for the DeMolay Grand Master at Al Kader. Please support our DeMolay young men. They are our
future Masons and Shriners.
Speaking of membership, Al Kader reached Gold status in 2014, and everyone is working hard to repeat that achievement in 2015. Remember
the challenge to replace yourself with a new noble this year. The secret to recruiting a new noble is “JUST ASK.” New members are in
your neighborhood, car shows, grocery store, and your own Blue Lodge.
March 21st Is the Potentate’s Ball. Make your reservations early, as there are only 250 places available. All reservations must be in by
March 13th. No reservations will be taken after that date.
March 28th is the annual Easter egg hunt at Al Kader. Bring your kids and grandkids for a fun afternoon.
We have had great success in participation so far this year. Let’s keep the momentum going. Attend a meeting and/or a social. Better yet,
bring another noble with you or invite your non-Shrine friends. They might just want to join us.
For all of you picnic goers, we are returning to Oaks Park this year. The Unit Heads and Divan reps will be bringing you the details during
their visits this month.
Lastly, please provide the office staff with your current E-mail address and, when you look at the E-mail blasts, please open the file, so we
can know how effective this tool is. You increased usage by 60% last month, Great job everyone!
Nobles and Ladies, the only thing I can say is “WOW!” Kathy and I want to thank each and every one of you
for your support at our Installation. While standing in front of over 200 guests I can say that it was the
most overwhelming and humbling experience of my life. The ceremony was wonderful and the party lasted
until 10:30. The younger Nobles and their ladies loved the dancing. The kids even came downstairs and joined us.
I enjoyed every minute of the night.
I want to give special thanks to our youth groups. The DeMolay, Jobs Daughters, and the Rainbow Girls. We won’t
soon forget all that you did for us. The Ladies loved the presentation of flowers by the young men of DeMolay.
I appreciated our lovely escorts, the Rainbow Girls. I want to especially thank Morgan for personally escorting
Lady Kathy and I. What can I say to the Jobs Daughters for performing the closing cross for us? That truly
touched my and Lady Kathy’s hearts. A special thanks to our three signers for spending six hours of practice
to make sure it was perfect. You all have our love and gratitude.
This is what “Bridging the Generations” is all about, involving the youth, our younger Nobles and their Ladies
along with our well established Nobles and Ladies.
My plan is to continually change things around and have socials that will appeal to all generations. We’re going
to change things up a bit in February by holding a Mardi Gras social. We’re bringing in some really cool street
performers from Seattle. One is called The Howlin Hobbit and the sounds like Louis Armstrong and plays a
ukulele. Sound like fun? Get your Mardi Gras costume ready and join us.
Now that the installation is over it’s time to get to work. This week the Divan is traveling to Hillah for
their installation. That should be a good time. We come back home for Club/Unit Head, and Divan training on January
16th & 17th. Next we head for the East/ West Game meeting in Prineville on the 24th. The following weekend on the
31st is the OB Crab Feed and the Divan will be in Seattle for Nile’s Potentates Ball. The next day February 1st is
THE BIG GAME PARTY at 2:00pm. We’ll be traveling from Seattle to join the party.
On February 14th, bring your sweetheart and join us for Mardi Gras. Come in costume or come casual and enjoy Cajun
cooking with some fun music.
February 21-24th, the Divan will again be traveling to Seattle; this time for winter PNSA. We hope to bring some good
information back for the nobility.
I mentioned at the installation that we were going to have a membership contest this year. You will find the contest
rules as you read further in the Oasis. I challenge everyone to participate and reap the rewards. I would love to see
everyone become a winner, because then Al Kader also wins.
If you find this issue of the Oasis looking a little different, it’s because we have a new editor. I would like to
introduce you to Noble Patrick Sheehan. He has accepted the position and all correspondence for the Oasis needs to be
sent to him. I know we all wish him well in his new position. Good luck Patrick.
I also announced that we would be returning to Oaks Park for our annual picnic. Look for picnic details in the March Oasis.
Al Kader’s new year has begun and we are all busy preparing for a great time. I challenged everyone to get involved in
service of Al Kader in my first article. I will continue to urge each Noble to serve Al Kader at the level at which he
can serve best. Remember, it takes all of us to make this great organization work.
Finally, I want to remind the Nobility that our next stated meeting is March 9th. I would like to see everyone there
First and foremost, I would like to take this time to thank
the Nobility for trusting me to be your Potentate for the ensuing year. It is a great honor
and responsibility; and I will do my best to live up to your expectations.
You elected me to be your leader in 2015 and it has
been my philosophy that I am here to “serve the
Nobility”. Service is the most important commitment we
make; and it is service that is the building block on
which our fraternity was founded. It is my goal to inspire
the membership to serve Al Kader with greater energy
and enthusiasm this year. Service is also an important
part of leadership and I plan to serve Al Kader to the
best of my ability for this year. I learned early in my
Masonic and Shrine journey that with membership
comes responsibility. Responsibility to help others, to
assist in projects and to lend our talents to the running of the
Temple. There is an old saying that if you want something
done, find the busiest person you know and he will get it done; however, it seems like the
same people get used over and over again, sometimes burning them out. Look around
you and at yourself. If you are not this person, we need your time and talents. If you look
hard, you can always find some time to give of yourself. I am asking each and every one
of you to make this a year of service to Al Kader. Service is about making choices. Which
choice are you going to make?
We belong to a great fraternity and support the greatest philanthropy in the world,
Shriners Hospitals for Children. To continue supporting our philanthropy, we need to
commit our energies to all of the fundraising activities, the parades, Units & Clubs and
especially membership. It is incumbent on all of us to help with membership by replacing
ourselves each year with at least one new member. I have appointed a new membership
chairman for 2015, Noble Carl Thompson. He, along with the rest of Al Kader, will
aggressively pursue our membership goals this year. We will make many pilgrimages to
the Masonic Lodges this year and I ask each of you to speak in your Lodge about the
great things we do as Shriners.
I am also instituting an incentive contest for membership this year. One Noble and his
Lady will win a trip to the national East/West All Star Football Game in St. Petersburg,
Florida; as well as other incentives. All details of the contest will be made available in
Training is another area we will working on in January. Al Kader is holding a training
class on January 16th and 17th for ALL Club Presidents, Unit Heads, Divan members
and their Ladies. We will have a get-together on Friday night at 6:30 and training on
Saturday beginning promptly at 8:00 AM and ending around 4:00 PM. The Ladies are not
only invited, but are highly encouraged to attend. Nobles & Ladies, who live outside of
the Portland area, will be offered a complimentary night’s stay at La Quinta Inn. This will
be an informative training session, and we plan on having a little fun too.
Kathy and I plan on hosting one social a month through June. Some will be formal and some will be
just for a fun time. We plan on hosting one social for the entire family. That’s right, the kids
will be invited. Our desire is to bring responsible fun and good fellowship for our members, families
and friends in 2015.
Shriners, Masons, concordant bodies and our youth groups are comprised of many generations. For 2015,
let’s continue "Bridging Generations, Helping Children”.
We want everyone to have a good time!
Tom was born in Gary, Indiana in 1949. The family stayed in Indiana until he was twelve; when in 1961, the
family moved to California. Tom attended junior high school in Southern California and graduated from Leuzinger
High School in 1968. Tom later attended Mt.
San Jacinto College and Riverside City College.
In the fall of 1968, Tom joined the Navy and was trained in San Diego as a hospital
corpsman, specializing in eye, ear, nose and throat surgery. In 1970, Tom received orders
to Camp Leujuene, NC to train as a field medical corpsman. He managed to stay in the
States and later was sent to optical school in Williamsburg, VA, where he became a
licensed optician. After graduating from optical school, he received orders to 29 Palms,
CA where served the last 5 years of his 10-year enlistment. During ten years in the Navy,
he spent eight years stationed with the Marine Corps as part of the Fleet Marine Force.
Tom spent 20 years as an executive for several optical companies; acting as a troubleshooter, a trainer, and Regional
Manager. He wrote the training manual for the ABO (American Board of Optics) licensing certification that is still
used by many companies to date. He was also presdent
of two companies prior to working for Spirit Mountain Casino as Manager and CEO of Playworld. Tom retired in 2012 and
has been active full time with Al Kader since his retirement.
Tom was raised to Master Mason in 1976 at Oasis of Mara Lodge #732 F&AM in 29 Palms, California. He became a
member of Sheridan Masonic Lodge #64 in 1997. Since then, he has served as Senior Deacon, Secretary, Treasurer, and
Master of the Lodge three (3) times. He has served two (2) years as District Deputy, as well as serving on the Public
Education and the Grievance & Appeals committee’s for the Grand Lodge of Oregon. Tom has been a Shrine Mason since
2006. Tom has served as Captain of Motor Escort, is a member of Yamhill County Shrine Club, Polk County Shrine Club and
Shurtah. Tom was a member of the director staff prior to being appointed by IS Ard Pratt as both the Executive Aide and the
Director on the Divan in 2009.
Tom served two years as chairman of the children’s Christmas party, chaired the raffle car committee for two years and was
responsible for upgrading the raffle car to the AC Cobra. He was instrumental in getting the Oktoberfest fund raiser off the
ground and served as chairman of this committee for two years; as well as negotiating the purchase of the Oktoberfest
trailer. Tom has worked with a great team of Nobles and Divan members to bring the Haunted House to Al Kader. While
working on fund raising, Tom chaired the Long Range Planning Committee for three years
Tom and his wonderful wife, Lady Kathy, have been friends since 1968 and married in 1971. They met working on a
home coming float after he graduated from high school. While being close friends in the beginning, they began dating after
Kathy graduated in 1969. After dating for two years, they were actually married twice in 1971. The first time was in a chapel
in Balboa Park near the Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego, in a quiet ceremony on March 22,
1971. The chapel was so small there was only room for the two of them and God, which was
perfect. The second wedding was in Gardena, California on May 7, 1971 with family and friends.
They have one son, Marc, who is also a Master Mason and Shriner, and one daughter, Heather.
They have four granddaughters and two grandsons.
Tom’s company moved him and his family to Keizer, Oregon in 1992. After their children married
and had homes of their own, Tom and Kathy moved from Keizer to be closer to work at Spirit
Mountain Casino and settled down in Willamina, Oregon in 1997, where they now call home.
Because of Tom’s time in the service and his corporate positions,
the Bland’s moved 22 times over the last 42 years and have lived
on both coasts. Tom and Kathy have enjoyed many adventures
together over the years, but none have compared to the current
journey of moving up the Divan or the humbling honor of becoming the 2015 Potentate at Al Kader.