DL native receives Sam Sar Award
Though he likes to call himself a "worker bee" when it comes to his work for the Detroit Lakes Shrine Color Guard, that doesn't mean Al Krogstad's contributions to the local unit of Fargo's El Zagal Shrine go unnoticed.
Quite the contrary: Earlier this month, at the Oct. 7 stated business meeting of El Zagal, the Temple Potentate, Ron Beck, presented Krogstad with the Sam Sar Award -- the highest award that any Shrine Noble can receive.
"Al has been an active member (of the DL unit) for many years, and has held an office with the Color Guard as treasurer for many years," said Beck, who like Krogstad, is from Detroit Lakes.
"He works behind the scenes and is always there to do what ever it takes. It gave me great pleasure to confer this award to Al, as I am also a member of the DL Color Guard and I consider Al a good friend.
"It is Nobles like Al that make the Shriners the greatest philanthropy on earth."
"I was totally, totally honored to receive this," Krogstad said of the honor. "The Sam Sar is an award that isn't handed out real often."
A member of the DL Shrine Color Guard for the past 14 years, Krogstad has twice been named Shriner of the Year (2001 and 2006); and was also twice honored as Mr. Behind-the-Scenes (2007 and 2010).
He has walked in all of the area parades in which the local Shrine unit has participated, including events in Detroit Lakes, Frazee, Pelican Rapids, Vergas, Perham, Menahga and Lake Park.
"I'm active in most of the Shrine activities," Krogstad said.
As Beck also noted, he served as treasurer of the local Shrine unit for eight years, 2000-08.
Before he became a Shriner, Krogstad was a member of the local Masonic Lodge in Detroit Lakes.
"You have to be a Mason before you can become a Shriner," explained Krogstad, who was raised to the level of master mason in the local Masonic temple 15 years ago -- a prerequisite for becoming a Shriner.
"Some choose to stay with the Masons, and some become Shriners," he added.
Krogstad chose the latter, in part because of the Shriners' commitment to helping kids.
"That's what the organization is all about," he said. "The Shrine Hospitals allow kids with birth defects and other illnesses to go see the best doctors there are available, completely free of charge."
Krogstad has two children of his own, both grown and living fairly close by.
"My daughter is married, with two kids, and lives in Elk River," he said. "My son owns a computer business in Fargo."
Krogstad makes his home near Little Floyd Lake, which is also where his business is based.
"I've been here all my life," he said. "I've lived in this same spot for the past 33 years."
Al's Water Systems offers water conditioning and treatment services such as arsenic removal, iron removal and general water softening, as well as sales, service and rentals of water conditioning units. "I've been in business 26 years," he said.
He first joined the Masons, and then the Shriners, through a friend who was a member and "talked me into it."
"It's a good organization to be a part of," Krogstad added. "I encourage anyone who is interested in becoming a member to contact a Shriner and ask for more information on how to join."
Besides his work with the Shriners, Krogstad also volunteers with the Becker County Dive Rescue Team.
He earned his diver certification at Tri-State Diving, where he also worked as an instructor for several years.
"Between my own business and that (being an instructor), it got to be a little too much," Krogstad added, noting that while he still volunteers with the Dive Rescue Team, he no longer holds the certification to be an instructor.
"I haven't done that in quite a few years," he said. "The only diving I do now is with the Dive Rescue Team."