Posted by Wes Brooks on Nov 26, 2019
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L-R: Steven Utroska, Jennifer Martin, and Wes Brooks, Lachel Story, and Steven Utroska
Steven Utroska presided over today’s meeting. Freddy Walters provided the invocation and Joey Johnson led the club in the Pledge of Allegiance. Mark Killingsworth was our greeter today.
Steven reminded members that the bingo tickets are now live on the website. You can purchase an individual, a couple or a table ticket. Plans are to have physical tickets available soon.
Steven asked members to participate in our Meals on Wheel Community Service project by signing up to deliver meals on Thursday. He also asked for a show of hands of people interested in participating in the Salvation Army’s bell-ringing project this year. Our club is assigned December 21 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. We’ll work in two-hour shifts in front of Corner Market in Midtown.
Our club will meet next week but will not meet the week of Christmas or the week of New Years. Mike McPhail, our Sergeant at Arms thanked everyone who participated in today’s meeting.
Steven then invited Dr. Lachel Story and her sponsor Wes Brooks to come forward. Dr. Story was then installed as our club’s newest member. She is originally from Magee but moved to Hattiesburg about 18 years ago. She became a nurse in 1995 and jointed the USM faculty in 2004. She is now the Executive Associate Dean in the School of Nursing. She is married with two boys.
Steven then introduced our speaker today, Jennifer Martin. In March of 2018, Jennifer joined Shriners Hospitals for Children – Shreveport, the world’s first Shriners Hospital. Shriners is a pediatric specialty hospital treating children with orthopedic issues, cleft lip and palate, and more, regardless of the family's ability to pay.
Jennifer noted that all Shriners are Masons. The Shriners’ mission is to create a program for the betterment of humanity. They decided to do that by starting a hospital. The Shreveport facility opened in 1885 with 60 beds. Its primary purpose at the time was to treat children suffering from Polio. That building was demolished and replaced by a new facility in 1985.
Shriners Hospital can now accept insurance payments. Shriners pays the deductibles and any co-pays associated with a claim.
That facility has treated 1,000 Mississippians this year. There are currently 4 current Forrest County patients and 10 current Lamar County patients. In 2018 the hospital treated 18,000 patients and they are on target to treat 19,000 this year. It serves a 6-state area. The average stay for a patient is 3 days.
If you would like to create a fundraising social media footprint, Jennifer suggests you use Using this portal allows a person to donate to any one of the 22 Shriner’s Children’s Hospital.
For more information, you can contact Jennifer by calling her cell at 318-678-9935 or by email at