by: Jacque Jovic
SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – As you drive by the Shriners Hospital for Children in Shreveport, you’re greeted by a beautiful bronze statue that captures the essence of what happens there, children receiving the support and care they need.
The story behind the statue started at an amusement park in Evansville, Indiana. It was June 11, 1970 at an outing for Shriners patients. Bobby Jo Wright was a Shriners patient who was there enjoying the fun.
“Shriner Al Hortman saw that I was having a hard time getting around the park on my crutches so he picked me up and was carrying me from ride to ride,” Wright recalled.
A newspaper photographer snapped a photo of them which appeared in the Sunday paper. The Shriners and Shriner’s hospital fell in love with the photo and began using in their logo, which eventually became the iconic statue.
“It still seems unreal because it was just one of those in the moment type things,” Wright shared. “It wasn’t staged or anything.
During the 100th anniversary celebration in Shreveport, the Shriners recognized Wright for being a hospital ambassador for more than half of that time.
“I think it’s amazing to be able to be here to be celebrating the 100th anniversary and to in a small way be a part of the total history of Shriner’s Children’s,” said Wright. “It’s more than a hospital. It’s a family. Once your a patient, you’re a Shriners kid for life.”