LEWISTON — Kora Shriners elected James ‘Jim’ A. Bennett of Biddeford to serve as potentate, or chief executive officer.

Bennett announced the theme for the year, Miracles & Memories, to more than 250 people at a semi-public event. “We all know the main reason we proudly wear the Fez of a Shriner,” he said. “It is because of the medical miracles that happen every day in our first-class pediatric specialty medical care system. Our hard work and the fun we have is all about supporting the amazing children in our Shriners Children’s system.”

Bennett, a native of Lisbon and a member of Kora since 2001, is widely known as ‘Ginjo’ one of the Kora Klowns.  

Bennett is Biddeford’s city manager and previously served as the city manager/administrator in the Presque Isle, Sabattus, Lewiston, Westbrook, Old Orchard Beach, New Gloucester and Dixfield. He started his public service in 1982 being elected to the Lisbon Board of Selectmen.  

The installation ceremony was held at the historic Kora Shrine Center at 11 Sabattus St. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been the home of Kora Shriners since 1909.

Bennett was joined by his wife, Debbie, originally from Brunswick, their son, Mitchell ‘MoJo’ Bennett, also a member of Kora Shriners and a Kora Klown, and their daughter, Amanda Bennett. 

Joining Bennett on the Kora Leadership Team for 2023 are: Paul Gardner of Gray, Mike Zubiate of Lewiston, Mike Robitaille of Lisbon, Frank Welch of Minot, past Potentate Barry Gates of Turner, past Potentate John Knox of Windham, Barry Irish of Windham, Ryan Sherman of Wales, Ben Weisner of Auburn, Gordon Kimball of Gray, Andy Caron of Topsham and Gene Tanguay of Bethel.

Kora continues its tradition of “having fun and helping kids” with many of its units participating in area parades and festivals. It hosts several community-based events, including the annual Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic being held this year at Lewiston High School, the annual Kora Feztival of Trees and the annual Kora Kares BBQ Competition and Ride In. These events help support the operations of the facility, as well as support of Shriners Hospitals for Children, known as Shriners Children’s.

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