Our model for care was imagined and established by the Shriners, the fraternal organization for which the hospital is named.
Shriners are determined to give all children access to specialized pediatric care. The Shriners opened their first hospital in 1922. At the time, polio was reaching epidemic proportions and only families of means had ready access to doctors, leaving thousands of children at risk.
In 1870 a group of Freemasons gathered frequently at a restaurant called the Knickerbocker Cottage on Sixth Avenue in New York City. They were described as a fun-loving group of men who met regularly. Among them were Walter M. Fleming, M.D. and William J. “Billy” Florence, an actor. The group talked about starting a new fraternity for Masons – one that is centered on fun and fellowship. Fleming and Florence took this idea seriously enough to do something about it.
William Florence had been traveling in France, and was invited to a party given by an Arabian diplomat. The exotic style, flavors and music of the Arabian-themed party inspired him to come up with a theme idea for the new fraternity. Walter Fleming, a devoted fraternity Mason, built on Florence’s ideas and used his knowledge of fraternal ritual to transform the Arabian theme into the Ancient Arabic Order of the Mystic Shrine.
Tunis Shriners No. 179
Tunis Shriners No. 179 was founded in 1975, by a noble and honorable group of Masons dedicated to the idea that Masonry could be enjoyable and fun. Devoted to ideals of benevolence and charity, like other such Shrines across North America and even the world, they set out to meet the challenges of creating such a dream affectionately known as a Shrine. And so the story goes on even now after more than 40 years, to discover that the Tunis Shriners No. 179 has met with level heads and with meek hearts all of the challenges encountered along the journey.
Still today they carry the torch as a light and beacon for others to follow in their footsteps, imitate their example, and heed the call, especially for those children who truly need their assistance and love.