ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – The head of the Moolah Shriners in St. Louis thinks of his volunteering as just giving back to the organization that gave him so much.
Lenny Martin dreamed of being a Shriner since his grandmother took him to the circus as a little boy.
“As I would walk back to the car as a little kid, I’d see all the Shriners in their hats, and I told my mom at that time, ‘Mom, I’m gonna do that when I grow older,’” he said.
In 2006 his dream came true. Now, 10 years later, he’s the Potentate of the Moolah Shrine.
“It’s a lot of volunteer time, it’s not paid, but it’s about giving back to the kids and that’s exactly why I did it.”
Lenny gets emotional when he talks about the Shriners because he is also a former patient. He was born with a birth defect on his right leg.
“The Shriners, with my parents’ permission, amputated my right leg,” he said. “I was a year and a half old at the time. Ever since then, they took care of me for the next 17 years. Every six months I’d come in for a checkup. Every year I’d come in for a new prosthetic leg, new socks, whatever I needed. Break something, tear something up, all I’d have to do is call the hospital and they’d take care of it. It was a huge burden lifted off my parents shoulders.”
For Lenny, deciding to volunteer at the Shriners was as simple as helping those who first helped him.
“I wouldn’t be who I am, or where I am today without Shriners, plain and simple.”
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