Ill. John S. Pennington, Sr. – Imperial Potentate’s Award of Merit – 2019 Recipient

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The Imperial Potentate has the distinct honor of awarding several exceptional nobles with the highest honor that our fraternity can give to a Shriner, the Award of Merit. Recipients are acknowledged for their individual achievements and selfless and extraordinary contributions to the heritage, culture or mission of Shriners International or Freemasonry; to the mission of Shriners Hospitals for Children; and for the good of his local community.

There are many dedicated, hard-working, and remarkable members of this fraternity who deserve to be recognized, which makes choosing only four recipients a challenging task. The nobles I am acknowledging today have accomplished so much in their lives, not only as Shriners, but also in their careers, families and as members of their communities. They have displayed a deep commitment to their fraternity and philanthropy; I am proud to be able to honor them here today. The next noble I would like to honor with the Award of Merit has been an active and dedicated parent, involved in community service throughout his life.


He was born in the great city of Nashville, Tennessee, and currently resides in Las Vegas. He attended the University of Tennessee on a football scholarship. This noble also attended a mechanical engineering trade school and joined a plumbers and pipefitters apprentice program that included blue printing, drafting, refrigeration and other trade skills.


He worked at Reynolds Electrical and Engineering Company (REECo) and Bechtel Construction Company at the Nevada Test Site for 34 years before his retirement in 2004. He spent nine years as superintendent over all constructions crews. He was recognized as Employee of the Year, and has received many other safety and achievement awards during his long career. He was raised a Master Mason at the Hendersonville Lodge #359 in Hendersonville, Tennessee, on September 16, 1967. In 2001, he became a member of Sandy Valley Lodge #57 in Sandy Valley, Nevada, where he served as Worshipful Master in 2009 and 2014. From 2009 to 2010, he served as Grand Trustee for the Grand Lodge of the State of Nevada. In 1970, this man joined the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. That same year, he joined Al Menah Shriners in Nashville. In
1971, he affiliated with Kerak Shriners in Reno, Nevada.

This noble has been a chartered member of Zelzah Shriners in Las Vegas since 1975, where he served as Potentate in 2003. He was elected Recorder in 2004 and 2005, and Treasurer in 2017. At Zelzah, he is unit captain of the marching patrol, and a member of the motor patrol and peace officers unit.

This noble has had consecutive attendance at Imperial Session as an Iowa or Colorado Corporation representative for 19 years, and was named an emeritus member of the Colorado Corporation in 2014.

His other Masonic memberships include the York Rite of Freemasonry and Royal Order of Scotland.

In 2002, he was listed in the Distinguished Women and Men of Southern Nevada publication for his tireless work to make his community a better place. And, in 2012-2013, he was featured in Vegas Inc. Magazine as volunteer of the year.

This noble has been married to his wife, Dana, for 39 years. They have four children: Cae, John Jr., Johnna and Julie, seven grandchildren and five great grandchildren. He has been a committed parent and grandparent, involved in their lives and the community. Some of his service has included: Deacon at the First Baptist Church in Nashville, Brownie and Girl Scout leader,
Little League manager and coach, Pop Warner football coach, Rainbow Girl Daddy, Boys and Girls Club advisor, Special Olympics coach, Volunteer for Shop with a Cop.


This noble’s hobbies include golfing, hunting, fishing, riding motorcycles, traveling, exercising and oil painting.

Please join me in congratulating Illustrious Sir John S. Pennington Sr., Zelzah Shriners!

Award of Merit – 2019 Imperial Session

*Award and presentation was giving by Imperial Illustrious Sir Jim Cain