Annual Awards Session
International Family of the Year
Upon learning that his family had been named the Kentucky State Council family of the year, Donald “Paul” Gilbert of Father Patrick Creed Council 12923 in Campbellsville, Ky., preferred not to be recognized, but added, “I am doing this because I am very proud of my family, my parish and my council.”
Paul joined the Knights in December 2008. He has served as the council recorder and has undertaken numerous volunteer projects, from chairing the council’s coat drive to serving the parish as a catechist. This dedicated father and his family worked to redecorate the parish church, including refinishing and staining the altar.
Along with homeschooling all of their seven children (who range in age from 8 to 21), Paul’s wife Marcia has served as the director of a local pregnancy resource center and regularly speaks publicly about the culture of life. The entire family assists in her efforts and participates in parish and council activities.
Sarah, the oldest daughter, is now Sister Cecilia, a novice with the Sisters of St. Joseph the Worker, and Daniel, the eldest son, is an altar server who is looking to apply to the seminary.
Church Activity Award
Knights from Blessed John Paul II Council 15299 in Suchedniów, Poland, worked with St. Andrew Parish to organize a Way of the Cross procession through the streets of their city during Holy Week 2012. The event attracted about 2,000 participants. As part of the event, Knights took part in a foot-washing ceremony, read the Passion and assigned guards to protect Christ’s tomb, which they had decorated. They also prepared spiritual reflections that were read by local officials. The event culminated with the celebration of Easter Mass.
Community Activity Award (Tie)
In response to the introduction of the Order’s Second Responders Program, the members of Our Lady of Pillar Council 14569 in Morong, Luzon, took on the task of organizing, training, equipping and deploying Knights of Columbus Disaster Response Teams as both first and second responders.
Forty-three volunteers completed 10 days of intensive training that was hosted by the Philippine Red Cross, along with the Philippine Navy, Air Force, National Police and a local fire department.
The organizers of the program said its goal is to provide compassionate and efficient disaster response to save lives, ease suffering and minimize damage during disasters.
When Joplin, Mo., was hit by an EF-5 tornado, one-third of the city was destroyed in only 32 minutes. The response by Joplin’s Father Harter Council 979 was immediate.
Initially, with power and communications severely impacted and one of two local hospitals destroyed, the Knights helped FEMA with triage set-up and assisted search-and-rescue teams. When the only remaining Catholic church held community Masses on the weekend following the tornado, the Knights arranged for tables and chairs and prepared meals for all Mass attendees.
After search-and-rescue operations ended, the Knights assisted with salvage, transportation, shelter for the homeless and visiting relief workers, and the coordination of donated items that came in from across the country.
Council Activity Award
In order to promote active participation and membership retention, St. Charles (Ill.) Council 12497 created a mentoring and orientation program for new members called the “Knights Advocate Program.”
Each new member, called a “Columbian,” is partnered with a mentor, called an “Advocate.” These mentors develop friendships with new members, personally invite them to participate in meetings and council activities and ensure their effective integration into the council.
Within the first six months of recruitment, each new member participates in an orientation. This acquaints each brother Knight with the mission of the Order, the benefits of membership, the history and organizational structure of the council, and council activities. Since it was instituted 18 months ago, the program has helped the council experience a 95 percent success rate in retaining new members.
Family Activity Award
St. Aloysius Council 13142 in Yoder, Ind., donated $3,000 worth of Christmas presents to 100 children who had incarcerated relatives. Knights presented the gifts at a council-sponsored Christmas party.
The council worked with Prison Fellowship, a Virginia-based nonprofit organization, to conduct the program. Each gift contained a personal message from the imprisoned relative to the child.
To undertake the project, the council received support from two local councils that sponsored 10 of the 100 children who received gifts. In addition, the local Fourth Degree assembly contributed $200 to offset the cost of the party.
Culture of Life Activity Award
As part of the international “40 Days for Life” campaign, Archbishop Duke Council 6855 in Richmond, British Columbia, organized two 24-hour prayer vigils in front of a local abortion facility. The council’s pro-life chair couple spearheaded the effort to promote the campaign and to sign up Knights and other parishioners.
On Nov. 6, 2011 and March 25, 2012, Knights prayed in front of the facility in shifts for more than 24 consecutive hours. Ninety council members participated in this project, which helped encourage the pro-life efforts of other parish ministries.
Youth Activity Award
To foster unity in Christ between Middle Eastern and Western Christians, the members of St. Louis Guanella Council 3092 in Chelsea, Mich., sponsored a variety of projects that included: hosting five students and a teacher from Palestine; sponsoring the education of a student at a Holy Land Christian school; supporting Christians in the Holy Land through ongoing gift sales; and conducting a Mass and reception for the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.
Leading General Agents
Kevin G. Pfeifer of Nebraska finished the year at 240 percent of quota with a volume per member of $13,298. His total gross volume was $211,321,000. Ben Baca III of California finished the year at 212 percent of quota with a volume per member of $11,350. His total gross volume was $209,520,000.
Leading Field Agents
John J. Stoeckinger of the Pfeifer Agency in Nebraska met 584 percent of his quota with a volume per member of $35,906 and a total gross volume of $28,043,000. Michael A. McGranahan of the Baca Agency in California met 424 percent of his quota with a volume per member of $21,044 and a total gross volume of $19,066,000.