Shriners’ misson shines in young boy’s smile

Published 11:00 pm Monday, September 5, 2011

The sign behind William Leverette told his story.

“A man never stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child.”

But Leverette didn’t leave the telling of his story to the sign at the Crenshaw County Shrine Club’s building in Luverne. He greeted those who came to the Shrine club’s 41st “World Largest Peanut Boil” and offered them a sample of the “world’s best peanuts.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Leverette didn’t have to do that.

Most people who visited the peanut boil already knew how good the goobers are. But Leverette wanted to show his support the Shriners in their endeavor. He wanted to be there to tell anyone who was willing to listen that the World’s Largest Peanut Boil is about more than peanuts. “It’s about caring for others. It’s about giving hope and it’s about changing lives for the better.”

“I can never tell you how thankful my family is for what the Shriners have done for my grandson,” Leverette said. “He was born with a hair lip and cleft palate. We didn’t have the money for the surgeries that he needed. But someone told us about the Shriners and their hospitals and the wonderful work that takes place in those hospitals.

“It only took one phone call from a Shriner and, in an hour, we knew where we were to go and when. In that short time, we had hope for Rylan.”

Because of the caring spirit of the Shriners, when little Rylan was 3 months old, he had corrective surgery on his lip and, at 11 months, he had major palate construction.

More surgeries will be needed for the soon to be 4-year-old, but Rylan’s life has been forever changed for the better because “a man stooped to help a child.”

The “World’s Largest Peanut Boil” is about more than peanuts. William Leverette knows that and so does Rylan’s mom, Amanda McMillan.

“We’ll never be able to repay the Shriners for what they have done for Rylan,” McMillan said. “There’s no way to ever thank them enough. They have changed Rylan life. What a blessing they are to us and so many others that are helped at the Shriners Hospitals.”

The “World Largest Peanut Boil” is an annual fundraiser for the Crenshaw County Shrine Club and the Alcazar Temple. A portion of the funds raised is donated to the Alcazar Temple and supports Shriners Hospitals for Children. The hospitals provide for the education of physicians and other healthcare professionals and conduct research to discover new knowledge that improves the quality of care and quality of life of children and their families.

The local club uses its portion of the funds from the peanut boil for the upkeep of the Shrine club’s building that is the home of the World’s Largest Peanut Boil.

Twenty-five tons of boiled peanuts and a ton of parched goober were sold at the annual Labor Day weekend peanut boil.

Andy Compton, club spokesperson, expressed appreciation to the Shriners for their continued dedication to the project, to the many volunteers and the hundreds who supported their efforts.