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Melha Shriners Elect Glenn Surprenant as 108th Potentate

SPRINGFIELD — The Melha Shriners, a philanthropic organization based on fun, fellowship, and Masonic principles, announced the official election and installation of their potentate (president) and his Divan (executive board). At its annual meeting, the Melha Shriners presented the potentate’s fez to Glenn Surprenant, the 108th top-ranking Shriner in Western Mass. as the organization enters its 120th year.

A lifelong resident of Western Mass., Surprenant graduated from Classical High School and later pursued his passion for laboratory sciences. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from American International College in 1976, he became a registered medical technologist in Laboratory Sciences and is currently the director of Radiology at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. 

In 1976, Surprenant married Diane Ruggeri, an assistant nurse manager, Labor & Delivery for Baystate Medical Center. After many years of observing other members of his family join the Masonic fraternity and then the Shrine, Surprenant was raised a Master Mason in the Indian Orchard Lodge in February 2006 and joined the Melha Shriners in March 2006. He has been an active member and past president of the Hadji Unit in 2014. During parades, he can be seen driving one of the brightly colored Jeepsters.

Surprenant’s journey toward becoming the head Shriner in Western Mass. began in 2014 when he was appointed to the Divan line. The fellowship he espouses is seen throughout the Shrine and Shriners Hospitals for Children – Springfield, as his cousin, Al “Poppy” Surprenant, is a member of the clown unit; his brothers, Joseph and Gary Surprenant, are both board of governors members at the hospital; and his son, Andrew, is president of the Melha Oriental Band Unit.

The First Lady’s project, titled “Nursing Education: Making a Difference for the Kids,” will raise funds to provide items not normally allocated in a hospital budget; these educational items will assist the nurses in the transition to acute pediatric rehabilitation care. Said First Lady Diane, “I’d like to add more educational items that will help the staff to do even greater things than they are doing now. My hope is that my project will provide additional tools and the necessary training to expand the high-quality care the children receive here in Springfield.”

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