3/16 Update: Syria Shriners Facility Closures and Event Rescheduling


Effective immediately, and until further notice (at least for the remainder of this month), all Temple, Unit, Club, Caravan and other sub-group meetings, rehearsals and other activities scheduled for the Pittsburgh Shrine Center are canceled. This includes the meeting of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee scheduled for March 24.

We are frustrated, and share your frustration, but given the current public health concern, the demographics of our membership, and the response from Masonic, governmental, and public health authorities, we have chosen to act with an abundance of caution.

We apologize for the inconvenience this causes you. Please use email, telephone conference calls, virtual meeting software, and any other technology that may aid in conducting your business and communicating with your members.

Yours in the faith,
Donald J. Taylor, Sr.
Illustrious Potentate

Rescheduled Major Events for 2020

SYRIA SHRINERS announces the following rescheduled events, after recent postponements due to public health concerns.

Potentate's Ball rescheduled for Sat. Oct. 24

An Enchanted Evening, the 2020 Potentate's Ball, honoring Illustrious Sir Donald J. Taylor, Sr., and First Lady Eleanor, will enchant you at the Pittsburgh Shrine Center Ballroom, Saturday, October 24.

The same menu, entertainment, and enchantment will light up your evening, Saturday, October 24.

Potentate's Testimonial Banquet rescheduled for Sat. Nov. 21

The Potentate's Testimonial Banquet, honoring Illustrious Sir Donald J. Taylor, Sr., affectionately known as, "The Stag," will invade the Comfort Inn & MainStay Suites at RIDC Park, Saturday, November 21.

Four-time Super Bowl Champion, decorated Vietnam veteran and internationally-acclaimed speaker Rocky Bleier will be on hand to accept "The Gunner," the Noble Robert F. Prince, Jr. Award for Lifetime Achievement.

It's the same great day, with all the same great fun, and the same great speaker, just eight months (to the day) after the originally scheduled date. Your tickets for the March 21 event will be used in November, so don't throw them away!

Pittsburgh Shrine Center Office Policy for the remainder of March, 2020

Pittsburgh Shrine Center Office Policy for the remainder of March, 2020

Your Shrine Center office will be open to answer phone calls, receive mail, pay our obligations, allow our auditors access to our files, and carry on other essential business, but we ask that you not make personal visits to the office until further notice, at least for the remainder of this month.

Our staff will be taking proper precautions, following the guidelines established by the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in practicing social distancing and preparing our workplace for this public health concern.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in this matter.

Robert T. Addleman, Jr., P.P.

Syria Shriners’ Events Update Concerning the Coronavirus

From the Desk of Robert T. Addleman, Jr., P.P. and Recorder


March 13, 2020 - This statement is an effort to provide you with the most up-to-date information regarding upcoming Syria Shriners events and other events scheduled for the Pittsburgh Shrine Center. 

It has come to my attention that rumors are circulating throughout the nobility that are spreading inaccurate information. We were hoping to be able to make one statement concerning these activities, but it has become clear that we must communicate with you now, while certain details are still being determined.

We are fully disclosing the details of all events as we understand them at this time. Accordingly, this email is lengthy. We apologize for that, but want to be fully informed of all developments.

First, all events scheduled for the Shrine Center this weekend 

  • The Legion of Honor Spring Luncheon will be in the Unit Meeting Room, beginning at 11am, Saturday, March 14. 
  • The “Night at the Races” fundraiser will be in the ballroom beginning at 6pm, Saturday, March 14. 
  • The Airys Temple No. 48, Daughters of the Nile open installation will be in the ballroom, beginning at 3pm, Sunday, March 15. 

None of these events will be large gatherings. The luncheon will have fewer than 40 people in attendance. There are 90 advance tickets sold for the “Night at the Races.” The Daughters of the Nile event will have fewer than 60 attendees. Ample opportunity for social distancing will be had at each of these events.

Moving forward, the Stage Band Swing Time dance, scheduled for the Shrine Center ballroom, Friday, March 20 has been canceled.

The Testimonial Banquet, honoring Illustrious Sir Donald J. Taylor, scheduled for the Comfort Inn & MainStay Suites at RIDC Park on Saturday, March 21 is being postponed.

Rocky Bleier contacted us at 12:10pm, Friday, March 13, to inform us that he would be unable to attend “the stag.” The Potentate, Banquet Chair, and other advisors had been weighing options, including suspending the hospitality rooms, and the banquet over the last few days. When Rocky canceled his March 21 appearance, but readily indicated a willingness to appear at a later date, the decision was made to postpone the event.​

We are nearly, but not completely certain that we have a date to reschedule the stag. We expect to be able to make that announcement Monday, March 16, as soon as we are 100% certain of Rocky’s availability. Rocky has indicated his availability on the date we have selected, based on the schedules of the hotel and the Potentate, but wants to confirm that his secretary has not booked an engagement of which he is not yet aware. We had hoped to confirm that information today, but were unable to do so. Hence, we anticipate an announcement on Monday.

The inaccurate information being disseminated by rumor-mongers forces us to make a statement now, however.

In April, the Bunny Bash, scheduled for the Shrine Center ballroom, 
​Saturday, April 4, has been canceled. 

We will attempt to schedule another party for our kids at a later date.

The Quarterly Meeting and Ceremonial, scheduled for the Shrine Center, Monday, April 6, has been postponed. We will announce the rescheduled date as soon as possible.

The Potentate’s Ball, scheduled for the ballroom, Saturday, April 18, will be rescheduled for a later date. Again, as soon as we know when that will be, we will let you know. 

The Swing Time dance, scheduled for the ballroom, Friday, April 24, is still on at this time. We will evaluate that as developments continue.

At this time, we anticipate holding all of our events in May - and later -
as scheduled.

Further developments will determine whether any of those events needs to be rescheduled.

Watch your email, and check our website and Facebook page for additional information moving forward.

We apologize for any inconvenience caused by our schedule changes, but we have decided to act with an abundance of caution as we all deal with this public health matter.

Stay safe, be sure to practice proper hygiene, and follow the recommendations of federal, state, and local public health agencies, and government authorities.

Yours in the faith.


BE BURN AWARE: Shriners Hospitals for Children Kicks Off Annual Burn Prevention Campaign with Burn Awareness Week

(Syria Shrine – Pittsburgh, PA) -- Feb. 2–8, 2020, is Burn Awareness Week.

During this time, Shriners Hospitals for Children® will begin its annual burn awareness and prevention campaign. Since the 1960s, Shriners Hospitals for Children has been a leader in burn care, research and education — and burn injury prevention is a key component in these efforts. 

Burn Awareness Week is Shriners Hospitals for Children’s kickoff of a yearlong educational campaign aimed at burn awareness and prevention. Free educational materials, available via the website beburnaware.org, are designed to be a resource for firefighters, teachers, parents and others concerned with the safety and well-being of children. 

Building on the theme “Be Burn Aware,” our focus is on preventing burn injuries in the home, because most preventable burn injuries occur in residences. Homes are the sites of thousands of burn injuries to children every year, including scalds, fire-related injuries, and even electrical burns. Many of these types of incidents may be prevented by implementing some simple safety precautions. 

The campaign features two child-friendly characters, Boots and Brewster – a caped, cuddly bear and a googly-eyed teapot – who are presented in activity books for children ages 3-7 and 8-12. The entertaining duo leads children through the various rooms of a house, pointing out dangers and how to easily correct or avoid them. The coloring pages, word searches, cartoons and other activities are designed to grab children’s attention and present the information in a memorable, age-appropriate manner. In addition, tip sheets and other materials emphasize prevention of scalds and fire-related and electrical burns.

Shriners Hospitals has also created an animated video, Boots and Brewster: The Burn Awareness Pair, which kids are sure to enjoy. In the video, available on YouTube.com/ShrinersHospitals, Boots and Brewster take viewers on a fun and educational adventure to help them become more burn aware.  

Everyone concerned with keeping children safe is encouraged to participate in the yearlong campaign by visiting beburnaware.org for burn prevention tips and information on how to order the free materials.

About Shriners International 

Shriners International, a fraternity based on fun, fellowship and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief and truth, founded Shriners Hospitals for Children as its official philanthropy in 1922. What began as one hospital is now a world-renowned health care system with locations in three countries. The fraternity, which has nearly 200 chapters in several countries and thousands of clubs around the world, continues to support this unique health care system. For more information, please visit shrinersinternational.org.

About Shriners Hospitals for Children

Shriners Hospitals for Children is changing lives every day through innovative pediatric specialty care, world-class research and outstanding medical education. Our health care system provides advanced care for children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate. Shriners Hospitals for Children is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and relies on the generosity of donors. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law. For more information, please visit shrinershospitalsforchildren.org.

Shriners Hospitals for Children – Erie Receives Large Donation from Hypnotism Society

The Hypnotism Society of Pennsylvania was a non-profit organization. Like many organizations it lost membership and decided to shut its doors. They had funds left in their treasury and decided to donate it to the Shriners Hospitals for Children - Erie.

You would think that would be easy, but no, there are rules and procedures to shut down a non–profit organization and donate to another non-profit organization.

A couple of years ago the process started with Robert F. McCabe, Jr., ESQ starting to acquire the government forms needed to accomplish this task.

Just recently, Solicitor & Shrine Center Attorney Alexander H. Lindsay, ESQ had his group complete all the requirements to allow the Hypnotism Society to shut down and donate to Shriners Hospital.

Stan Malak spearheaded the closure of his Hypnotism organization and wanted all types of media attention to cover the check presentation. Trib Total Media was kind enough to share the news:

The Erie Hospital had another function that same day and was not able to attend, but two members from the Erie Hospital Board of Governors were present.

On December 11, 2019 the check was presented in the Syria Shrine Board room. Samuel Santini, Hypnotism Society President, presented a check to Dr. Barry Hootman, Md., Erie B.O.G. member. They were flanked by six smiling faces.

In the picture left to right are Terry Steinheiser, Syria Shrine High Priest & Profit, Alvin Douglas, Jr. B.O.G. Emeritus, Roadrunner Chairman, Samuel Santini Hypnosis President, Dr. Barry Hootman, Md., Erie B.O.G. member, Robert Addleman, Jr, .P.P., Recorder, and David Gardy, P.P. Treasurer.

Stan Malak, Hypnotism Society member, was behind the camera and camera shy.

On December 19, 2019 at the Erie B.O.G. board meeting Syria Shrine board members will present the check in the amount of $17,677.68.  A great donation to Shriners Hospitals for Children - Erie!

-Al Douglas

Syria Gun Club’s Sporting Clay Charity Shoot Hits 2019 Target

In 2015, prolific sporting clays shooter and Syria Gun Club member Jim Nassif approached then-Potentate Bob Herbert with a proposal. Their vision was to pair a love of sporting clays with an event that could generate a charitable funding source earmarked for Shriners Hospital for Children - Erie. Without hesitation, the concept was approved, and the Sporting Clay Charity Shoot was born.


From concept to successful event is typically a long road, but these quick-acting Nobles saw the potential. “We went through Shriners International Headquarters to get it approved,” says Bob Herbert, Past Potentate. “We had to hurry (in our first year). In less than 6 weeks we had the event planned and raised $29,000. Jim and Eddie do a great job with sponsors and event planning.”

Noble Ed Aiello was an early supporter of the event and joined in the planning. “Our thoughts were to try and improve the identity of the Shrine to young people who shoot and use it as a forum to talk about what we do,” Ed said. “We’ve brought in patients and their families to talk about how the hospitals have helped them.”

The venerable planning committee deserving of the credit for the Charity Shoot’s success has consisted of Nobles Andy Young, Jim Nassif and Ed Aiello. Dave Galardini has always been a strong supporter, and Jason Ross joined in 2019.


Noble Jim Nassif describes the event as appealing to the sporting clays shooter. They offer a continental breakfast, 100 rounds of sporting clays, lunch, gun raffles, 50/50, auction items, men’s and ladies’ trophies and special room rates all set in the beautiful backdrop of the Laurel Highlands at Seven Springs.

Syria’s Harige Unit (The Clowns!) also deserve a special recognition for their much-appreciated participation.

It’s a purpose-designed event that benefits our mission: to support the SHC-Erie Hospital. A day of sport shooting fun delivers more value to those contributing than a donation alone. Shriners Hospitals for Children is a fully qualified 501(c) 3 charitable organization under IRS regulation. Sponsor’s and participant’s donations ARE tax deductible to the fullest extent provided by the law. “The participant’s money donated is a deduction, plus you’re doing great work for the philanthropy. It’s a win-win in a single day event,” says Bob.


Ed Aiello describes how this event attracts considerable sponsorship dollars, “What we do is contact (Erie) hospital and find out what capital projects they’re working on, this year it’s two new state-of-the-art Skytron surgical operating room tables. We like to tell sponsors what we’re funding instead of simply collecting money for the hospital.“

shriners hospital erie charity shoot

The event’s first year monies went to a C-Arm Ultra Sound Machine. Second year’s monies bought food supplements and wheel chairs. Third year’s monies acquired an EOS Low Radiation Dose Imaging Machine. Fourth year’s monies purchased two new General Anesthesia Machines. 

Selecting a specific capital improvement project to support through the charity shoot has gone over so well with sponsors that in five years this event has raised just under $415,000 for Shriners Hospital for Children - Erie.

This year’s total is $83,400 and, coupled with an ‘Erie Gives Day’ contribution, the 2019 edition looks to net nearly $96,000 to help purchase this incredible equipment. On Erie Gives Day, each dollar donated to Shriners Hospitals for Children will also receive a prorated match from The Erie Community Foundation and its sponsors. The amount changes each year based on the dollars in the Erie Community Foundation's special fund, but typically amounts to 13-15%.

shriners hospital erie charity shoot-4

An immeasurable debt of gratitude is owed to these generous sponsors: Mark Raymond, Dave Galardini/RBC Wealth Management, Mary Maniecki, Jim & Connie Nassif, Al Bove, 3GS Consulting, Miller Wielding, Hanco, Shrine Gun Club, Joe & Polly Connelly, Ed & Joan Aiello, Medpipe, Tony Bucciero, and Robindale Energy.

Syria’s Harige Unit (The Clowns!) also deserve a special recognition for their much-appreciated participation.

At the annual Imperial Session, a Temple Sports Report is given detailing how much money is raised from sporting events sponsored as charitable fundraisers for Shriners Hospitals for Children. This year, 30 Temple events were highlighted that consisted of high school and college All-Star football games, hockey games, golf outings etc. Not one of these events equaled the earnings of our 2017 and 2018 Sporting Clay Shooting events.

Bob knows very well how successful the concept has been, “Not one of those events by another Temple has gone over 100K in this year's Temple Sports Report, and they have not beat what the Syria Gun Club's Charity Sporting Clay Shoot did in five years.”


Noble Andy Young was instrumental in gaining the early support of the Syria Gun Club. He passed away on June 28th, 2019. Andy was an active Mason in Perry Ionic Lodge #796 and a Shriner in Syria Shrine where he served as Shrine Ambassador, Shrine Gun Club past president and secretary. Andy was an active member of the Sporting Clay Shoot and its planning committee.

“Andy Young he was the BEST,” Jim Nassif said, “and a great encourager and supporter of our fundraiser. The Shrine lost a great man!”

“This year, the money will be donated in memory of Andy Young. Andy was one of the chief supporters from the Gun Club, so we’ve decided that when the money goes in it will be a contribution in the memory of Andy,” Ed said.


Planning for 2020’s Sporting Clay Charity Shoot will begin later in 2019, and the Gun Club is requesting your support. Participants can come for lunch only or join in the fun and shoot. Bronze, silver and gold sponsorships are available, and all donations benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children - Erie. Contact Ed Aiello for more information

“We do this for the children,” says Bob Herbert. “The Shriners have 22 pediatric specialty hospitals that help thousands of children each year at absolutely no cost to their families. The hospitals help children who have problems of the bones, joints or muscles, and children with cleft lip and palates or who have been severely burned. Three of the orthopedic hospitals also specialize in treating children with spinal cord injuries. In addition to the medical care provided to children by Shriners Hospitals, most of the hospitals are also actively engaged in research, searching for cures to crippling childhood diseases and better treatments for burn injuries. The operating budget for Shriners Hospitals for Children is approximately $2.2M dollars every day. Every time we treat a child, we are improving that child’s life. We appreciate your support and the support of the kids. It’s all for the children.”