Shriners unveil Silent Messenger statue at Anchorage headquarters
The Al Aska chapter of Shriners International unveiled their very own Silent Messenger statue at a ceremony on June 2.
The statue was carved by Indian, Alaska sculptor Jordan Anderson out of a red cedar tree harvested in Southeast Alaska.
Kimberly Oaks, past high priestess and first lady 2016, had the idea for the Al Aska chapter to install an Alaskan version of the national Shriner Silent Messenger statue. The organization began fundraising in January of 2016.
“Everytime you travel to the Lower ‘48, you go to the hospitals, that’s where you want to take a picture, is right there in front of that statue,” Kimberly Oaks said.
The Silent Messenger statue depicts a photo called Editorial WIthout Words. The photo shows Shriner Al Hortman carrying a young, injured girl. The statue is supposed to symbolize the Shriner mission to help and treat injured children.
Kimberly Oaks’s husband, Past Potentate Dave Oaks, said the Al Aska chapter helps anywhere from 100 to 200 Alaskan children seek medical treatment each year. Dave Oaks said injuries vary from burns and scoliosis to cleft lips and orthopedic issues.
“The Editorial Without Words or the Silent Messenger is emblematic of what we as Shriners do, which is help kids. It’s a testament to just, no questions asked. If a kid needs help we’re going to pick him up and help him. That’s what we do,” Dave Oaks said.
At the unveiling ceremony, community members, Shriners and children were treated to a barbecue, face painting and could watch wood carving by Anderson.