By Alicia Lacy

The Cove Herald

They're not just the guys in the go-karts wearing the red hats with the tassel in parades.

Though recognized by their go-karts and red fezzes, the Shriners have two purposes: promote the cause and raise funds, Cove Oasis Shriners President Marty Rodriguez said.

For their last Red Fez of the year, the Cove Oasis Shriners will attempt to raise enough to bring their total contribution to the Shriners Children Hospital to $15,000 for this year.

Friday and Saturday members of the Copperas Cove shrine club will be posted in front of Walmart with their red fezzes and buckets to receive donations that will be given to the hospital.

"We have seen an increase in the last Red Fezzess in the last two years," Rodriguez said. "We've seen a weekend raise maybe $2,000 to $3,000."

"We believe with this particular Fez we can break the $4,000 mark," he added.

Rodriguez said if the club meets their $4,000 goal this weekend, the club's total contribution for the year will be approximately $15,000.

"Those funds go directly to the hospital," he said.

Since the club's inception in Copperas Cove in 1972, nearly $300,000 has been donated to the hospital.

Rodriguez said the shriners fulfill the two purposes by promoting the cause through their circus and their exposure at parades and raise funds through their Red Fezzes throughout the year.

There are 22 Shriners Hospitals with one in Canada and one in Mexico.

Texas is home to the Houston Shriners Children's Hospital that focuses on pediatric specialty care and orthopaedics and the Galveston Shriners Children's Hospital that focuses on pediatric specialty care, burns and cleft lip and palate.

The first hospital opened in September 1922 in Shreveport, La.

According to the Shriners Web site, hospitals provide care for thousands of children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palates free of charge, including lodging and transportation costs.

"Admission is based solely on a child's medical needs. A family's income or insurance status is not criteria for a child's acceptance as a patient," the Web site states.

Contact Alicia Lacy at or (254) 501-7476.

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