Long-time Shriners -- Baker and Malan -- to serve as grand marshals in May 10 parade

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Saline County Shrine Club announced Monday, May 5, that they will honor two long-time members of the Shrine -- Ralph Malan and Samuel W. Baker -- as grand marshals in the Shrine Parade Saturday, May 10.

"They've been long-time members of the Shrine," said John Rieves, local chapter vice president. "They have given a lot of their time to the organization and helping the children."

"We want to honor them for their time and naming them grand marshals was our way of doing it," Rieves said.

"I think that's a wonderful idea and a very fitting tribute," said Marshall Mayor Connie Latimer.

Members of the local parade unit spoke with the Shrine's director of parade about honoring these two individuals as grand marshals and "he thought it would be a good idea," Rieves said.

Malan said he joined the organization in 1978 and has been a member here for all those years.

Malan has been commander several times and a master mason for two years.

He has been loyal patron of the Eastern Star 21 times, worshipful master of Blue Lodge -- Trilumina No. 205 -- and district deputy grand master nine times.

"I have done quite a bit," Malan said.

He said his favorite part of being in the organization is the "fellowship with the brothers."

Malan was shocked that the club decided to recognize him with this honor.

"It's the first time I have ever done anything like that, I don't know what to think," he said.

Baker said he joined the Shriners "a long time ago -- over 50 years ago and I'm 94 now."

Baker said there are numerous highlights of being a member of the organization.

"I've had the opportunity to visit several of the Shriners' children's hospitals," he said. "The hospitals help children and provide them with the medical treatment they need. I'm proud to be a Shriner. We support the hospitals through donations and our sporting events."

Baker was secretary and treasurer of the Kern County Shrine Club, several times, in Bakersfield, Calif. In 1980-1981, Baker was the captain of the Hharis Marching Unit.

"We marched in 13 parades that year in California, Denver, Colo., and Canada," he said. "We were busy that year."

Baker said he has dedicated so much time to the Shrine organization "because of the charity work we do for the hospitals and children. Everything we do is for the children. We have to help our children."

Baker is still a member of the Kern County Shrine Club, but since he lives in Marshall with his daughter, he regularly attends the meetings of Saline County Shrine Club.

Latimer said she knows both of the men who will be honored and their dedication and years of service to the Shriners organization and helping children in need.

Rieves invites everyone to come and watch the parade and help the club honor these two men.

The parade begins at 11 a.m. with line-up in the Marshall Plaza parking lot.

The parade route begins at Miami Avenue and turns east on Arrow Street, north on Jefferson Avenue, then west on North Street to Salt Pond Avenue, where it will disband shortly after leaving the square.

Latimer said she is truly excited about the parade making a second stop in Marshall in two years.

"The Shriners is such a worthwhile organization," she said. "We are just tickled to death and hope they do this for us every year."

Contact Rachel Harper at marshallcity@socket.net

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