FUN & FELLOWSHIP
Fez Friday, Melha Shrine
All Shriners are Masons
This is Eric Morabito, “The Walking Man,” checking back in on Fez Friday. Over the past few years, I have started a collection of Shriner fezzes. I currently have fezzes from 43 different Shrine Centers and I am always looking for more. There are over 200 Shrine Centers worldwide and I try to visit as many as I can when I travel. To date, I have been to 65 Shrine Centers, 12 Shriner hospitals, and the Shriners International HQ in Tampa. When I retire, I plan is to donate my collection to the Cyprus Shrine Center.
Let’s begin this series with the Melha Shrine of Springfield, MA. Melha #78 was chartered on June 14, 1898. There are a little over 900 members who are active in a wide variety of Clubs and Units within the Shrine. Melha supports the Shriners Hospitals located in Springfield and Boston. They recently relocated and the new Shrine Center is in Agawam, MA.
Melha has had a special place with me since I did my first Walk. I contacted the Springfield Hospital before I set out and asked if I could get a tour of the facility when I arrived. They in turn contacted members of Melha to set this up. When I reached Springfield, after walking over 180 miles and camping out along the way, I was met by Nobles Frank Watson and Charlie Gervickas who escorted me the final half-mile (uphill, of course). When I reached the hospital I was greeted by applause from 25 members of Melha. They also had me as a guest of honor at the Shrine Circus which happened to be taking place that weekend. Since that time, members of Melha have greeted me each year when I arrive and they have shown me the true meaning of our Masonic Values of Friendship and Brotherly Love.