Shriners like to have fun with a purpose, and one of their purposes is to provide top-quality health care for children.
Gary Unger of the Tangier Shrine Center in Omaha visited the Nebraska City Rotary Club on Wednesday, April 17, to discuss the center’s history and its future plans.
Negotiations are currently underway in Omaha to see about bringing a Shriners Hospital for Children to the area, said Unger, who added the closest Shriners Hospital is currently in the Twin Cities.
He estimated that the new facility would be operational in about 18 months.
Unger said that southeast Nebraska provides about 19 percent of the patients for the Twin Cities hospital.
Unger said the Shrine Club decided to focus on children’s medical needs in 1920. The group opened its first children’s hospital in Shreveport, La., in 1922.
Today, 22 Shriners Hospitals are found across the country.
The Shriners Hospitals began as orthopedic specialty facilities, said Unger, adding burn care in 1964. By the 1980s, the group added cleft palate repair as a medical specialty, and it is also conducting some of the leading spinal cord injury research and treament, said Unger.
The Nebraska City Rotary Club meets at noon Wednesday at the Eagles Club, 600 1st Corso. Guests pay $9 for lunch.