Ellis, Wood advance in leadership with Alcazar Shriners

Published 11:00 am Monday, March 27, 2023

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Opp residents James E. (Eddie) Ellis and Kenneth (Kenny) H. Wood recently advanced in Shrine leadership roles in Alcazar Shriners in Montgomery.

James E. Ellis

The Alcazar Shriners in Montgomery is the local Shrine Center affiliated with Shriners International.

Eddie Ellis was installed as Potentate (comparable to President) for the 2023 year. As such, he is responsible for the operation and maintenance of Alcazar Shrine Center as well as overseeing all fundraisers and financial operations. Eddie has always had an active life. He is retired from the United States Navy and General Motors Acceptance Corporation. He has been a Master Mason for over 50 years and is currently a member of Opp Lodge No. 605, F. & A. M. of Alabama. In addition to his work with the local Masonic Lodge, he has been active in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry for many years.

In the Shriners, Eddie has been active for many years as well. He was first elected to the Divan (line of leadership) as Oriental Guide in 2018. He then advanced through the chairs as High Priest and Prophet, Assistant Rabban, and Chief Rabban, and was elected as Potentate by his fellow Nobles in December of 2022.

Kenneth H. Wood

Eddie and his wife, Janice, enjoy traveling and making new friends. They divide their time between living in Opp and their second home in Franklin, Tennessee. Janice, as First Lady of Alcazar Shrine Center, oversees the activities of the Shrine ladies, who actively support the Shriners in their work. Both of them say that they are proud to be a part of an organization that does so much to help children.

Kenny Wood was installed as Assistant Rabban (comparable to 2nd Vice-President). Should the Potentate and Chief Rabban be unable to perform their duties, then their responsibilities fall upon him. Kenny’s family owned and operated Wood Tire Service in Opp for many years. He has been a Master Mason in Opp Lodge No. 605 for over 40 years and served as Worshipful Master of the Lodge twice. He has served the Shriners for many years as well. He was elected to the Divan as Oriental Guide in 2020 and then advanced through the chairs of High Priest and Prophet and now Assistant Rabban. He is expected to advance through the remainder of the chairs and serve as Potentate for the 2025 calendar year. Kenny and his wife, Jayne, live near the Ino Community in Coffee County.

Shriners International is a non-profit organization headquartered in Tampa, Florida. Its roots began from an idea developed among several prominent Masons at the Knickerbocker Cottage, a Manhattan, New York eatery in 1870.

These Masons envisioned a fraternity made up of Master Masons to enjoy food, fun, and fellowship. In 1922, the Shriners realized they needed an official philanthropy to support, and the Shriners Children’s Hospitals were born.

Today, Shriners Hospitals operate a network of hospitals and clinics throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. These hospitals treat children with crippling orthopedic conditions, spinal injuries or deformities, severe burns, and cleft palates. No eligible child is turned away due to their families’ inability to pay, and no Masonic connection is required to eligibility. The hospitals and clinics treat children from every walk of life, creed, and color. They do accept insurance payment if the family has coverage, but no child’s family is billed for services. The daily operating budget exceeds two million dollars. In addition to the treatment offered, the hospitals conduct cutting-edge research, and some of them are teaching hospitals for other healthcare professionals.

In addition to operating the hospitals and clinics, Shriners believe in fun and fellowship. Many of them participate in parades riding go-karts, three-wheelers, or motorcycles. Some Shriners were dressed as a clown entertaining the children. Taking care of children is the Shriners’ main mission, but they also like to have fun while doing it.

Those who know of a child with an orthopedic problem, spinal injury or deformity, severe burn, or cleft palate can contact Alcazar Shriners at 334-279-9174.