The dream of Kena for Northern Virginia began many years ago with a committee appointed by the Alexandria Shrine Club. Noble Harry H. Newton served as Chairman and the work began on Monday, October 4, 1948.
Ten years later a group of fifty Nobles of Kena met on September 18, 1958 to organize a unit to be known as the Kena Stewards. Illustrious Potentate George R. Weaver governed Kena at the time. Noble Hyman Brenner had been running a program all by himself furnishing Kena with the stewardship needed to meet the program in operation.
Kena’s newest unit, the Stewards, held its first meeting at the Kena farm on Wednesday evening, April 30, 1958, and elected Hyman Brenner, Chief and George Harvey, Assistant Chief; Leonard Cannon, Secretary; and Bill Van Der Veur, Treasurer. Other charter members of the unit were:
James Saunders Allie P. Levister
Paul Marshall William Crist
William L. Fulk Charles Neely
Edward J. Wallin Paul Boyd
Clyde M. Glickler John Slater
Solomon Katz Thomas S. Nutwell, Jr.
Clyde Scott Frank F. Dietrich
It was during a meeting of the Kena Stewards on January 14, 1959 that a motion was made by Noble Charles Neely that the charter membership to the Unit be closed May 1, 1959. The motion carried. The minutes were approved February 18, 1959, with Noble Leonard Cannon serving as Secretary.
Noble Carroll Whitlock set up the original books for the Unit and aided in drafting the first by-laws. Our first Chief Feeder for the year 1959, was naturally our founding father, Illustrious Hymann Brenner P.P.
It was on July 15, 1959 that our wives organized a group called “Sisters of the Skillet” (SOS) the Stewards could never have done the good work without them. The members that have served as Chief Stewards through the years are:
Hymann Brenner ------- 1958 - 1960
George Harvey ------- 1961 - 1963
Elmer Stobeck ------- 1964
Edward Reis ------- 1965 – 1967
John G. McIlwee ------- 1968 – 1969
Ralph Watson ------- 1970
James J. Lizon-Charles A. Higgins ------- 1971
Burnley L. “Sticks” Rudiger ------- 1972 1973
John E. Albertson ------- 1974
Burnley L. “Sticks” Rudiger ------- 1975
Edward R. Bevis ------- 1976
Noble Leonard Cannon served as first secretary in the first part of 1969 and Edward J. Wallin served the balance of 1959 up to 1967. Charles D. Hale served as secretary in 1968 – 1969 and Edward J. Wallin served in the years 1970 up to the present time. Bill Van Der Veur served as first treasurer from 1958 through 1961. Max Karb served in 1962; Leo Winterling 1963 to 1964; Stuart Bingham 1965 to 1967; Virgil L. Hicks 1968 to 1970; Charles A. Higgins 1971 to 1972. Stuart Bingham served again in 1973 and Orville O. Stringfellow served from 1974 to 1976.
The social and official functions of Kena, which the Stewards are responsible were many from the very beginning and required all hands present in order to keep up with the pace. There were concession stands to operate at rodeos and fire works stands to man. The Sisters of the Skillet were right along beside to help at all times. Proper planning for the Potentate’s Balls, Divan meetings and special luncheons and breakfasts served, spring and fall ceremonies, parades to attend and serve hot chocolate and donuts, Halloween and New Year’s Eve dances, family picnics, oyster roasts where the Kena Stewards can roll with them all and came up smiling every time.