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Few things are more heart-wrenching than a sick or injured child. Those involved in caring for such children will get some much-needed help from a new $33 million hospital built by the Shriners in the Avenues area of Salt Lake City.

The shining new facility is a monument to the Shriners organization, whose members donate money, gather donations from businesses and individuals and volunteer their time to make the hospital available to all needy children, regardless of their ability to pay.The hospital specializes in treating crippling diseases of children, and it is able to send its young patients home with, on average, 80 percent of a healthy child's abilities.

These are children who would otherwise be bedridden or wheelchair-bound for life. For them to walk and move about independently is a medical marvel - and that's the Shriners' other specialty.

The new hospital replaces the old Shriners Hospital, which served Utah and surrounding states for 45 years. The new building has more space, better equipment and comfortable surroundings. But its real assets are its staff and volunteers and the dedication of the Shriners themselves.

The facility is a welcome addition to the Salt Lake area, and its residents should be grateful for those noisy parade marchers in the funny hats for making such a wonderful service possible.