For the first time in its 119-year history, a Dawson Creek member has been appointed the head of the Gizeh Shriners of British Columbia and Yukon.
The honour was bestowed upon Darren Chruikshanks Saturday night January 23 when he was elected Potentate (chairman of the board) and installed into that high office.
The title Illustrious Sir has been added to his Shriner name.
Chruikshanks said he was honoured to be elevated to the chairman in the esteemed organization.
“The whole purpose of Shriners is that we're here for kids,” said Chruikshanks. “We are here to support and transport and assist children who suffer from a variety of different medical situations.”
Shriners are world-renowned for their specialization with childhood burns and orthopedics, but we also are specialists in cleft lip, spinal cord injury and now sports medicine for children.
“We support a system of 22 Shrine hospitals. From British Columbia, we send children to our Canadian hospital in Montreal and US hospitals in Spokane and Portland,” said Chruikshanks.
Normally during his year as chairman of the board, Chruikshanks would be traveling around B.C. and the Yukon to meet with members to discuss how the group can grow their fundraising so they can help more children, but with the Covid restrictions in place, for now he will be utilizing virtual meetings and having plenty of phone calls to keep the wheels rolling.
“We pay for the whole process of their medical treatment. This has been going on since 1922,” he said. “The interesting thing about it is all they have to do is pick up a phone and talk to a local Shriner or go online to bcshriners.com and you can connect with our system and we take it from there.
My theme this year is “Together we can” and I truly believe that if society pulls its resources together, we can do anything.
Being born and raised in the Dawson Creek area, Chruikshanks has been active in many different aspects of the Dawson Creek community, as a manager of local oilfield related companies, past director and president of the Dawson Creek & District Hospital Foundation, Past director of the Dawson Creek Chamber of Commerce and a past member of the South Peace Oilman’s Association.
Darren became a Shriner in 2013. He quickly dedicated himself to the Mission of the Shriners to serve the children of British Columbia and Yukon by providing introduction plus transportation to innovative pediatric specialty care, world-class research and outstanding medical education through the Canadian and North American resources of Shriners Hospitals for Children. Darren said, “As a kid I remember going to the Shrine Circus and seeing all those men in funny hats (called a fez) and wanting to be one when I grew up. Well now I am that guy proudly wearing the well-known fez and I love it!”