Kena and the South Atlantic Shrine Association
Many of the units and clubs comprising the Kena Shrine participate in the Mid-Atlantic Shrine Associations (MASA) others participate in the South Atlantic Shrine Association (SASA). Some of these units and clubs participate in both MASA and SASA. The participation in one association over another is not really material. What is material is that there is participation. While no accomplishment is generally achieved without cooperation of members of a group it is speculated that much of the impetus that got SASA organized and off the ground is attributable to members of Kena.
In the beginning, 1973, a group of Nobles met in Greensboro, North Carolina, with the idea of forming a new Association. These Nobles represented temples from North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The temples meeting for that first time to form what was to become the SASA were:
Acca Temple Richmond, VA
Hejaz Temple Greenville, SC
Jamil Temple Colombia, SC
Kazim Temple Roanoke, VA
Kehdive Temple Norfolk, VA
Kena Temple Alexandria, VA
Oasis Temple Charlotte, NC
Omar Temple Charleston, SC
Representing Kena at this first meeting were Illustrious William L. (Bill) Peele, Potentate in 1975 and Illustrious Harold F. Elsberg, Potentate in 1976. Illustrious Peele served as Chairman of the first meeting and at this meeting Illustrious Bruce Boyette was tasked to set up the By-Laws of the yet to be formed Associations. The next meeting was held in Charlotte, NC, at Oasis Temple and again Illustrious Peele acted as Chairman. After several more meetings during the year and much discussion and hard work, the By-Laws and Constitution were drawn up for the Association and submitted to Imperial for approval. The Imperial Council approved the By-Laws and voted to grant a Charter to SASA at the Imperial Session in Atlantic City, NJ, in July 1974. Again, Illustrious Peele acted as General Chairman. Illustrious Phillip Gray, Past Potentate of Omar Temple was selected as the first Director General with other Temples assuming chairs for parade, transportation, housing and banquet. At the parade in Atlantic City that year General Motors furnished twenty-two Oldsmobile convertibles for the parade. What a sight that must have been.
Having received approval of the By-Laws and being granted a Charter the SASA held its first official meeting September 21st, 22nd, and 23rd 1974 in Myrtle Beach, SC. The headquarters for SASA was then, as it is now, the Landmark Motor Inn. On September 22nd the President’s Banquet was held and the following officers were elected:
President, Phillip Gray Past Potentate, Omar Temple
1st Vice President, Harry M. Bryant Past Potentate, Oasis Temple
2nd Vice President, Louis E. McAllister Chief Rabban, Acca Temple
3rd Vice President, Ronald K. Terrell Potentate, Hejaz Temple
4th Vice President, Luther M. Cromartie Past Potentate, Sudan Temple
5th Vice President, Robert H. Foxwell Potentate, Kehdive Temple
Secretary – Treasurer, James W. Clamp Jamil Temple
Also present at the first SASA Convention was Past Imperial Potentate Aubrey Graham and Past Imperial Chaplain, Reverend Doctor, Woodrow Wilson Hayzlett. Illustrious Peele had acted as Chairman of the first Convention and at the business session, the representatives elected him the first President of SASA. Reportedly the convention was very successful and there were in fact 5,338 registered attendees. While these numbers are impressing one cannot help but wonder what this size of a crowd must have looked like at the Saturday Parade.
Over the years since its formation in 1974, Kena has continued to serve in leadership positions within SASA both in the SASA governing body and also in a number of leadership positions in the various Unit Organizations. This participation has been extremely important in that without the participation of the Units the Association as a governing organization would cease to exist. Among those from Kena who have served the governing bodies as SASA President in addition to Illustrious Peele were Illustrious Harold F. Elsberg, Illustrious Cecil J. Sills, and Illustrious Daryl A. “Skip” Hamilton. Among those who hold Emeritus Status in SASA is Kena Past Potentate, Illustrious Russell J. Werle who is Secretary Treasurer Emeritus.
Since its formation in 1974 there have been those in Kena that have not favored the idea of Kena becoming a member of SASA. However, regardless of ones position on the matter, there is no denying that members of Kena were key to getting this organization that has grown to become SASA up and running.