SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Shriners Children’s Hospital in Shreveport celebrated 100 years Friday since the cornerstone was laid at the corner of King’s Highway and Samford Avenue, becoming the first hospital in the Shriner’s Children’s system.
That iconic ceremony on May 12, 1922, was steeped in Masonic tradition, brought about through substantial efforts on behalf of the El Karubah Shriners to secure Shreveport as the first location in an ambitious and unprecedented healthcare initiative by the Shriners fraternity.
Today, Shriner’s Children System serves six states in the southern U.S. and the Republic of Panama, providing innovative pediatric specialty care, research, and educational programs for medical professionals.
The system has provided care for pediatric patients like Elaina Jenkins, who was there Thursday getting a wheelchair evaluation.
“Because my left side is weaker and I keep tripping on long distances and then my leg will give out,” the 11-year-old said. “They’re gonna make a wheelchair that’s just right for me.”
From burn care to craniofacial conditions, orthopedics, spine care, and sports medicine, thousands of children like Elaina have been helped at Shriner’s hospital all over the country.
“It makes me feel like I can do more things than I could before.”
All care and services are provided regardless of the families’ ability to pay or insurance status.
“Just a wealth of pride, for me to be a part of this and to have the honor to be able to serve here because we’ve been taking care of children now here for 100 years,” Board of Governors Chairman Steve Caskey said Thursday. “The fraternity is 150 years old. It took us about 50 years to get on our feet and after that, we said we’ve got to do something good with our time and our money.”
One hundred years later, they have improved their health care tools to provide the most efficient and effective service to their patients.
“It’s important for us to know our history so that we can look toward the future and do more,” said Grandmaster of the Grand Lodge for Free and Accepted Masons, Jay McCallum.
“That’s our call to action as free and accepted Masons, as Shriners in this state, and that’s what I want to help all of us to do. Working together, we can continue to accomplish great things for our children, for your children. They need it.”