SHARON SHRINERS located in Tyler, TX; was established in 1963 and is dedicated to carrying on the legacy that our predecessors began. Fun and fellowship are still the two key elements in keeping the legacy alive. However, along with our commitment to the fraternal order, we are equally committed to the philanthropy. We raise thousands of dollars every year in support of Shriners Hospitals for Children and our local Transportation Unit. We believe in helping as many children as possible. Sharon Shriners are from all over East Texas. Our jurisdiction includes the following counties: Anderson, Angelina, Cherokee, Gregg, Harrison, Henderson, Marion, Nacogdoches, Panola, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby, Smith, Upshur, and Wood.
Simply put, Shriners International is a fraternity.
It all started in Manhattan back in 1870, when some members of Freemasonry, which is widely considered to be the world's oldest fraternity, were hanging out at their favorite restaurant. The guys felt like their band of brothers needed a little spicing up. They thought Masonry, which traces its roots to stonemasons and craftsmen of the Middle Ages, was a tad too focused on ritual. These guys wanted a fraternity that stressed fun and fellowship. Leave it to an analytical mind - Walter M. Fleming, M.D. - and an artistic type - Billy Florence, an actor - to take that thought and run with it. Florence conceptualized the idea for the organization after attending an Arabian- Nights themed party while touring Europe. Fleming added the structure to Florence's proposed pomp-andcircumstance, drafting the fraternity's name, initiation rites, rituals and rules. Together, the men designed the new fraternity's emblem, devised a salutation and determined the red fez with a black tassel would be the group's official headgear. And local Shriners chapters, it was decided, would be called "temples."
The new organization would be called the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (AAONMS). It was later renamed Shriners International. The first Temple, Mecca Shriners, was formed in New York City in 1872. Word of the new group spread fairly quickly, thanks to a
pretty good public relations campaign - even without the Internet or cell phones. As membership grew rapidly, a governing body known as the Imperial Council, AAONMS, was formed. Temples were established in Canada, Mexico and Panama. More recently, temples have been established in Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Germany and Brazil, and more interest is developing throughout the world. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of Shriners who belong to nearly 200 temples and thousands of sponsored clubs located throughout the world.