The children came, some with appointments, some without, to find out if and how the Shriners could help them and their families.

If you saw some gentlemen hanging out in front of the Ramsey County Courthouse Wednesday between  9 a.m. and 1 p.m. wearing fezzes, those were members of Kem Temple and they were waiting to escort children, and their parents, inside for a very special screening.

It was the first time this screening clinic had been held in Devils Lake, as far as anyone could remember, but Shriner Bruce Krabseth from Williston, says they hope to continue similar clinics in other smaller communities around the region.

“Working with this Lake Region District Health Unit has been great, they have been very welcoming,” he said. In the past they had worked with the big hospitals in larger cities, but this worked out even better for them, according to Krabseth.

The children came, some with appointments, some without, to find out if and how the Shriners could help them and their families.

A representative from the Shriners Hospital for Children in the Twin Cities was there, too. Erin Jurkovich, Professional Relations Director, provided literature and information for the families who were questioning if the Shriners could help them.

Krabseth said they help all children no matter what their family’s ability to pay.  He said the families pay what they can afford to pay and the Shriners, well, they cover the rest. All year ‘round they have fundraisers, sell raffle tickets, host pancake breakfasts and so on, to raise money to support this help for kids and their folks.

The Shriners Hospitals for Children – Twin Cities is a part of a 22-hospital system dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing pediatric specialty care, conducting innovative research and offering teaching programs for medical professionals.

This has been happening since 1923 when the first Shrine Hospital was built in hopes of treating the polio epidemic.

Now they treat children with bone, muscle and joint conditions of many kinds, including anthrogyposis (stiff joints); cerebral palsy, clubfoot;  conditions of the legs, feet, arms and hands; hip disorders; juvenile rheumatoid arthritis; limb deficiency and prosthetics; limb length difference; metabolic bone disease like rickets or osteogenesis imperfecta; neuromuscular disorders like muscular distrophy; scoliosis and spine conditions; spina bifida or myelodysplasia and sports injuries like stable fractures.

They added cleft lip and palate care in 2013.

They have hospitals across the US, Canada and Mexico.

The hospitals are a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network and accept a growing list of private insurance plans and Medicaid. Insurance coverage is not required to receive care.

They also provide camps and activities to support the social and emotional development of the children they serve.

Allen McKay is the administrator of the Lake Region District Health Unit, public health, that serves a four-county area of Ramsey, Benson, Pierce and Eddy counties. They provide several programs for preventative health including immunizations and WIC.

McKay was glad to partner with the Shriners in this effort and said the clinic saw eight children.

He said Public Health provided the place, screening rooms and support staff to assist with the clinic. Nurses Annette Groves and Rhonda Schell were both on hand to lend a hand.

“It was a positive thing for this community,” McKay said.