Shrine Queen Ashley Horn says

Alex Paul

With a little help a young person can turn misfortune into a royal opportunity.

East Shrine Queen Ashley Horn said she hopes her time spent at the recent football game and gala will inspire other youngsters with physical impairments to overcome them and to see there is a good life awaiting them.

As a small child, Horn received treatment for problems with her legs from the Shrine Hospital in California. That medical assistance allowed the youngster to grow into a beautiful young lady with no hints of physical impairments. The recent SHHS graduate enjoyed many years of athletic competition that would not have been a possibility without the aid of those early treatments, all paid for by the Shriners.

“I had a very good time,” Queen Ashley said. She splint her royal adventure with Shelbi Keffer of Klamath Falls, the West team queen. “We became very good friends quickly. She’s more outgoing than I am and we hit it off.”

The young ladies were treated exceptionally well by all, Queen Ashley said, perhaps even a little too well.

“Everyone, the chaperones, the players, the towns people, all treated us so nicely. It was almost too much,” Queen Ashley said.

The queens were on hand at all Shrine week events, from the days the first player arrived in Portland to visitations to the Shrine hospital.

After three days orientation in Portland, the players and the queens traveled to LaGrande, where the athletes prepared for the game. (Sweet Home was well represented by Rick Howe who had an outstanding game for the East team.)

“We had our pictures taken with the team and we had lots of meals,” Queen Ashley said. “We were very well fed.”

As part of her busy summer schedule, Queen Ashley returned to Sweet Home for Sunday of Jamboree weekend and then journeyed back to LaGrande on Monday to begin a hectic schedule.

Monday evening included a banquet where all of the players were recognized.

Tuesday through Thursday, Queen Ashley was taken on a tour of Eastern Oregon by her chaperones, Jean and Merle Kroker of Lebanon.

“They are terrific,” Queen Ashley said. “I had never really seen much of Eastern Oregon and they took me everyone. Wallowa Lake is so beautiful. We rode the tram to the top of the mountain and that was fun.”

She said the adventure gave her a new appreciation for the beauty and variety of the state.

She was also touched by being able to see the Oregon Trail at Baker City.

Back in LaGrande, Queen Ashley helped greet parents and player family members on Friday and at a barbecue that evening.

“We had lots and lots of barbecues,” she said with a laugh.

Both queens gave pre-game speeches. Queen Ashley talked about the value of her treatments and how they allowed her to lead a normal life.

“We rode in the same convertible into the stadium for the game,” she said. “It was so much fun.”

Queen Ashley’s parents Bill and Tracy Horn and grandparents also shared in the special time with her.

“We were given so much attention,” she said. “The queens are so special to everyone there. Everyone wants to talk to you from morning until night. By the end of the week, I was worn out but it was terrific. We made so many new friends.”

As her hectic summer schedule begins to wind down, Queen Ashley will soon head to Portland State University where she will major in finance.

“My dad bought me a map of Portland the other day,” Queen Ashley said. “I’m excited about it.”

Queen Ashley is the only Shrine queen to hail from Sweet Home in its more than 50 year history and one of just a handful from the mid-valley region.

“I felt very special,” she said. “I hope word gets out to others that there are opportunities like this. It’s a wonderful experience.”