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Larson earns Shriners’ Sam Sar Award

Though he’s a Lake Park native, Steve Larson has called Detroit Lakes his home for more than 30 years now.

In 2008, the father of two was asked to join the Mount Tabor Masonic Lodge in Detroit Lakes, and later that same year, became a member of the El Zagal Shrine Temple in Fargo and its active local unit, the Detroit Lakes Shrine Color Guard.

“Once I saw what they were about, I got excited about being a part of it,” he says. “I really appreciate the rich history of both the Masons and Shriners.”

Even though Larson’s tenure with the organization has been relatively short, his volunteer work has made enough of an impact for him to be one of the latest recipients of the Sam Sar Award — “the highest award that a potentate can give to a member of the temple,” Larson said.

“I was really honored when I was notified (in January),” he said. “The potentate can give these awards as he sees fit, but they’re very rare.”

Larson was honored for his work on the Shrine’s gaming committee, where he has served as gaming manager for the past four years, as well as participating in parades, providing hospitality for visiting Shrine units when they come to Detroit Lakes…”and of course, the circus,” he said.

“Walking in the parades and being involved with the circus really makes (the work) worthwhile,” Larson added, “because you can see the faces of the kids.

“I’ve really got a soft spot for kids. Part of our mission is to help kids who need prosthetic limbs, through the Shriners Hospital in Minneapolis.”

Taking a tour of that hospital, “to see how a child’s life is completely turned around … it changes you forever,” he added.

Before he joined the Masons, and consequently, the Shriners, Larson was “heavily involved” with the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Detroit Lakes. “I even held state office for four years,” he added.

After graduating from Lake Park High School, Larson worked at a local farm for a while, before purchasing a small distributorship that sold advertising specialties. After doing that for 13 years, Larson decided to sell the business and get his realtor’s license.

“I’d always had an interest in real estate,” he said. “So I went to school to get my license, and I’ve loved every minute of it since.”

He has been a realtor in Detroit Lakes since 2000, and became the owner of Coldwell Banker three years ago.

“Before that, I was with Action Realty,” he said. Currently, Coldwell Banker employs a total of 15 realtors.

“It keeps me really busy,” he said. But that doesn’t stop him from being a proud father. Larson’s daughters, Sadie and Brittni, attended Detroit Lakes schools from preschool through graduation.

“I have one daughter graduating from college this year (Brittni), and one from high school (Sadie),” he said.

And Larson continues to be heavily involved with both the Masons and Shriners.

“I was just appointed the director general for the Midstates Shrine Association,” he said — an organization that includes Minnesota, North and South Dakota, as well as parts of Wisconsin and Canada.

“I’ll be organizing the Shrine convention in Fargo in 2015,” Larson added.

In addition, he’ll continue to be an active member of the Shrine Color Guard, which “presents the colors at area parades, circuses, and any function we’re asked to by El Zagal.”

The El Zagal Shrine Temple currently has a membership of about 1,200, while the Color Guard is “a very active group within the temple,” with about 100 nobles who live in the Detroit Lakes area.

Though his volunteer work with the Shriners adds many hours to an already packed schedule, Larson says he wouldn’t change a thing.

“I absolutely love it,” he added.

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454