All Shriners are local volunteers that enjoy having fun and helping kids. In their local organizations, you’ll find men from all walks of life. Shriners can trace their roots back to 1872 as an organization deeply rooted in family, faith, fun and helping others. Alzafar Shriners can trace their humble beginnings back to the early 20’s in the San Antonio area. Shriners International formed their philanthropic arm in 1922 with the building of the first Shriners Hospitals for Children in Shreveport, Louisiana. That very philanthropy has grown into an extraordinary health care system with 22 facilities in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Two of which are right here in the state of Texas with their orthopedic hospital in Houston and their burn hospital in Galveston.
Throughout Shriners Hospitals for Children, you will find children with orthopedic, cleft palate, burn and spinal cord injuries. Shriners’ 22 hospitals have helped more than a million children no matter their family’s ability to pay. Because of local Shriners just like Alzafar, Shriners International is able to handle a daily cost of care at $2 million dollars and an annual operating budget of more than $865 million dollars. In order to provide this level of care, you’ll often times find Shriners out in town raising money. In the parade there are representatives of the many local Alzafar Shrine Clubs and Units that spend countless hours annually, raising money for their philanthropy and having fun.
HONOR GUARD, (Flags, Marching):
· Honor Guard Unit was formed to pay honor to the various flags of our country and state.
· The unit competes annually through a drill competition with other Shriners throughout the state of Texas and the United States.
POTENTATE AND DIVAN, (Officers of the Shrine):
· 5-year line from Oriental Guide to Potentate. All positions are elected positions with a term of 1 year in each. This is also true for the recorder and the treasurer.
· Potentate (CEO 2019)- Eric Dewalt
· Chief Rabban- Marty Bartlett
· Assistant Rabban- Travis Elmendorf
· High Priest and Prophet- Robert Norman
· Oriental Guide- Rick Reyes III
· Recorder- Tom Leverett
· Treasurer- Stuart H. Simms
ANTIQUE CARRIAGE, (Antique and Convertible Vehicles):
This Unit membership is made up of Nobles who have a love for all automobiles with a special emphasis on antique, classic, and convertible modes of transportation. For parade purposes, they provide beautifully restored classics as transportation for the elected officers of the Shrine. They add to the fraternal spirit and enjoyment of Alzafar.
HIGHLANDER BAND, (Bag Pipes, Marching):
One of Alzafar’s most unique activities was organized in 1977 to entertain those who enjoy the sound of Scottish music. Each member wears traditional Scottish regalia, including tartan kilts. Their music is truly a joy to behold.
HOSPITAL CORPS, (Trailer, Large Fez):
This float represents the real story and purpose of Shrinedom. These dedicated Nobles really exhibit the true meaning of what it means to be a Shriner as they function under the philanthropic arm of our organization, for the Children’s Hospitals. These men have helped the Orthopedic Hospital in Houston, Texas and the Burn Hospital in Galveston, Texas and hundreds of children from the local area and deep into Mexico. Our gratitude to these men is boundless.
ORIENTAL BAND, (Trailer, Musicians):
This unit was established in 1977. The Oriental Band has received numerous awards and decorations for their efforts in music. Anytime you’re at a parade and you hear the awesome sounds coming from their float, you’ll know without a doubt that its our Oriental Band.
PROVOST GUARD, (Trucks and Trailer):
This unit was organized in 1951, as a police unit. The purpose of this unit was to police the activities of the Alzafar Shrine and all their events. Most of the members are active in or retired from law enforcement. The main function today is as a Security Patrol Unit.
RED ROADSTERS, (Red, Small ’32 Fords):
The Red Roadsters unit was formed in 1983. They are half-scale models of the red 1932 Ford Roadsters running up to 10 horsepower motors. They are a fun-loving group of men that love helping children, driving in parades, and competing against other Roadster units across the state and nation.
GOLF UNIT, (Golf Cart):
The Golf Unit was formed in 1970. They represent Alzafar in all golf competitions throughout the United States, and Texas. They have brought home many first-place trophies for our organization. What they are known best for is their top notch annual golf tournament in which they raise money for our hospitals.
MINI-WHEELS, (Black, Small Model-T’s):
These are miniature replicas of the 1910 Ford Model T, “Tin Lizzie”. As is the case with all of the Alzafar motorized units, this group participates in all Shrine Competitions. The Mini-Wheels parade moto is: “Make noise, engage the crowd, have a ball”. Thus, providing the theory that “Grown-ups” do not actually have to grow up!
SHOTGUN UNIT, (Jeeps):
This unit was organized in 2007. The purpose of this unit is to represent the Alzafar Shrine in several shotguns shooting competitions including trap, skeet, sporting clays, and other forms of the sport. The Shotgun Unit has won several awards at the state and national level.
BURNING SUN, (Blue, Small Go-Karts):
This excitingly fast unit was established in 1976. They are a performing unit of the Alzafar Shrine. Composed of Nobles who are still young at heart, you may find them whipping around corners and cutting donuts in and about every parade.
DIRECTOR STAFF & CALLIOPE, (Fire Truck & Calliope):
The fire engine is a 1927 REO, and was actually a City of San Antonio Pumper engine in the 1930’s. The Director Staff’s duties include preparing New Nobles who see to join the Shrine for their journey into our organization. Often times you may find our elected officers of the Shrine riding on the fire engine in the parade. The Calliope is a musical instrument consisting of a set of high pitched whistles which are active by a keyboard and are reminiscent of the circus.
CHAPARRALS, (Black, Drift Cycles):
The Chaparrals are another one of our competing groups at the Shrine. Their vehicles were designed and manufactured by the members for show and entertainment.
HILLBILLY Unit, (Old Truck):
The Hillbilly Unit is yet another unit in our local Shrine. Their goal is to raise money for the Children’s Hospitals and to have fun doing it.
ROUSTABOUTS, (Trailer, Large Elephant, “DUMBO”):
The purpose of the Alzafar Circus Roustabouts Club is to maintain an active and sufficient work force to build, modify and maintain all the properties required to produce the Shrine Circus, and to promote good fellowship among the members. The elephant is the symbol of the Shrine Circus and was built by the members of the Roustabout Unit.
MOTOR PATROL, (Motorcycles):
The Motor Patrol Unit of the Alzafar Shrine is a group of Shriners’ that enjoy riding motorcycles. The Unit is primarily made up of Harley Davidsons and Honda Gold Wings. The Motor Patrol has placed in numerous competitions at the state and national level.
NEMNUF, (Walking, Riding):
You may have noticed clowns from time to time throughout the entire parade. They are San Antonio’s own Alzafar Shrine Clowns. NEMNUF is actually FUN MEN spelled backwards. Formed in 1956, they are the only unit within the body of the Shrine that is allowed direct interaction with the Children in the hospital. As with all units within the Shrine, it is a volunteer unit and consists of many local business professionals in the local San Antonio and Surrounding areas.
KERR KLOWNS, (Walking, Riding):
The Kerr Klowns are from Kerrville, Texas. Their principal goals is also to bring joy to the children in hospitals and those in need of a smile.