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news News Monday, July 22, 2019 Monday, July 22, 2019 12:19 PM - Monday, July 22, 2019 12:19 PM

Former patient becomes a Shriner

Burned as a child, a grateful man "pays it forward"

Former patient becomes a Shriner

On May 4 of this year, Troy Simonton became a member of the Murat Shrine Temple, one of 40 Shriners sworn in that day. There are many reasons men become Shriners, from the fraternal friendships to the opportunity for community service. Troy had a particularly personal reason for joining: He was once a patient at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Cincinnati.

Troy and his wife, Missy, recently traveled from their home state of Illinois to visit the hospital and express thanks for the care he received. “I wanted Missy to see what I have always talked about,” he explained.

“It became my second home,” Troy recalled of the Cincinnati Shriners Hospital, where he spent much of his childhood after a house fire when he was only 14 months old. He sustained burns to his left side, including a partial loss of fingers, in the accident. His initial stay at the hospital was four months.

Troy remembers at least five surgeries over the years, the last when he was 17. He endured grafts and scar releases, as well as extensive physical therapy to regain use of his hand, arm and leg. Much of the time Troy was at the hospital by himself, as his parents had their hands full with his five siblings back home in Hoopeston, Illinois. Still, his memories of the experience are positive.

“Troy’s talked about joining for years. I finally said, ‘Just do it!’” Missy said of the decision to become a Shriner. “He’s been so happy, we decided we had to visit.”

Troy at Cincinnati Shriners Hospital