During the Shrine’s 2004 Imperial Council
Session in Denver, Colo., July 4-8, three
Nobles were named recipients of the highly
coveted Imperial Potentate’s Award of Merit,
selected by the Shrine’s 2003-2004 Imperial
Potentate M. Burton Oien for their
exceptional lifetime achievements.
The Imperial Potentate’s Award of Merit
program was created in 1997, and each year,
can be given to up to five deserving Nobles.
The award recognizes outstanding
achievements and selfless and extraordinary
contributions to the Shrine and Shriners
Hospitals. In the Shrine, there is no
Noble Tom Rousseau has been capturing life
in the Shrine on film for more than 30
years. He was born in Dearborn, Mich., on
November 20, 1925. He studied at the New
York Institute of Photography, and after
graduation, he joined the Marine Corps. He
served in the Korean War as a photographer.
His pictures were seen all over the world,
thanks to the Associated Press.
In 1963, after moving to Spokane, Wash.,
Rousseau opened an insurance agency in the
basement of his home. A few years later, he
left the basement and opened his own agency.
Twenty-eight years later, his insurance
business is still a Spokane landmark.
Rousseau began his Masonic career in 1972,
at Oriental #74 Blue Lodge in Spokane. He
joined El Katif Shriners in 1973. He is a
member of the El Katif Clown Unit; President
of the El Katif Camera Club; and Vice
President of the Spokane Valley Shrine Club.
He has served on the Temple Insurance
Committee, Temple newspaper staff and
Potentate’s Staff as Temple photographer.
In 1998, Rousseau was presented with the
DeMolay Legion of Honor Award, and in 2003,
he received the coveted “Jewel of El Katif”
medal. For 22 years, he has been Chairman of
the Imperial Photography Committee. Through
his camera lens, he continues to share some
of the Shrine’s greatest moments.