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Area Shrine All Star Game Participants Honored

By Staff | Apr 3, 2012

EMMETSBURG?HONOREES - Andrew Garrelts, left, will play for the North Squad in the 2012 Shrine All Star Game, while classmates Aleysha Schutz, right, and Katie Kassel, not pictured, will return as members of the Cheerleading Squads at the game. Emmetsburg Head Football Coach Mike Dunlap is pictured in the center. -- Dan Voigt photo

SPENCER – The message to several young men and women who will be participating in the 2012 Iowa Shrine All Star Game this July is simple.

“To play in the Shrine All Star Game is the experience of a lifetime. But, you’ll also leave as better people when you see what you’re doing this for.”

With those words from Coach Don Anderson, six young men and a cheerleader were charged with becoming ambassadors for the Shriners of Iowa in their ongoing efforts to aid children through their network of Shriners’ Hospitals.

A banquet to honor the area players and cheerleaders selected for the 2012 Iowa Shrine All Star Game was held Wednesday night in Spencer and allowed the players to meet each other, along with Coach Anderson of North Iowa-Buffalo Center, who will Coach the North Squad in the 2012 Classic. The game is set for Saturday, July 21, at Iowa State University in Ames.

From the local area, Andrew Garrelts of Emmetsburg and Mitch Bonnstetter of West Bend-Mallard will be playing on the North Squad, along with Dakota Odermann of Armstrong-Ringsted, Michael Erpelding of Algona and Andrew Broocks of Spirit Lake. In addition, Aleysha Schutz and Katie Kassel, both of Emmetsburg, will be making return trips to cheer on the All Star Cheerleading squads for the game.

WBM?HONOREE - Mitch Bonnstetter, right, was joined by his Coach, Pete Kapustynski, and Kody Elbert, who has benefitted from treatments at one of the Shriners’ Children’s Hospitals. -- Dan Voigt photo

A special guest at Wednesday’s banquet was Kody Elbert of West Bend, who has undergone treatment at the Minneapolis Shriner’s Hospital.

Kody’s message to the players was to the point – “Someday, I will play football just like you big boys,” his way of thanking the players for their efforts.

The annual fundraising game features two squads of 46 players, all seniors, who are nominated by their high school coaches and selected by the Coaches, who are appointed by the Iowa Football Coaches Association. Cheerleading squads are selected through auditions.

“You were selected by our coaches based on your academics, your community service, your activities in your church and also on your athletic abilities,”?explained Jerry Hoffman, Manager of the Iowa Shrine Game. “The purpose of this game is to raise funds to help with the operations of our network of Shriners’ Hospitals and Burn Centers across the country. But, it is also our hope that someday, you will feel comfortable enough to go out and when you see a child in need of the assistance that a Shriners Hospital could provide, that you’ll go up to that child’s parents and tell them you know some people who might be able to help their child – the Shriners.”

The four Shrine Temples in Iowa; Abu-Bekr of Sioux City, Za-Ga-Zig of Des Moines, Kaaba in Davenport and El-Kahir in Cedar Rapids, sponsor the game annually to support Shriners’ Hospitals in Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Chicago, St, Louis and a Burn Center in Galveston, Texas.

The Shrine Hospitals require $1.2-2 million per day to operate, but most importantly, no fees are charged to patients, up to the age of 18.