International Service Program Awards
The Order’s “Surge … with Service” program encourages Knights to respond to the needs of their local parish, their communities, their council, their families and young people. The councils whose activities are highlighted here excelled in service this past fraternal year.
The winning programs were chosen from entries judged the best in their respective jurisdictions. Reports of all state council winners were submitted to the Supreme Council office for judging. The grand knights and wives from the first-place councils were invited to the convention as guests of the Order’s Board of Directors.
Second- through fifth-place finishers in each category received recognition from the Supreme Council.
International Church Service Award
|Minnesota State Deputy Ricardo Acevedo and his wife, Catherine; Past State Deputy Eugene Hippe and his wife, Gloria; and Grand Knight and Mrs. Terry G. Meyer of St. Joseph’s of Lino Lakes Council 9905 receive the Supreme Council’s 2009 Church Award.|
St. Joseph’s of Lino Lakes (Minn.)
Knights of Columbus are known everywhere as men you can count on to roll up their sleeves when there’s a worthy project that needs doing.
This year’s winner in the Church category is St. Joseph’s of Lino Lakes (Minn.) Council 9905.
It is a council that lives up to that reputation in its little community about 20 miles north of St. Paul. In the 1960s, St. Joseph’s parish built a new, larger church, and the old one, which had been built in 1897, fell into disrepair during four decades of neglect.
In 2004, Knights of Council 9905 established a “Save Old St. Joe’s Committee,” and began to lay plans for restoration of the old church, but initial estimates put the cost at more than $830,000.
Soon an alternate plan, relying on volunteer labor and donated materials, took shape. Council leaders organized a wide variety of projects, including gutting and replacing interior drywall, putting up a new roof, refurbishing the pews, restoring the stained glass windows, rebuilding window frames, restoring Stations of the Cross, and installing plumbing in the building for the very first time.
The project was completed for less than $150,000, and was the subject of many positive stories in the news media, including the St. Paul Pioneer Press and the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
More than 40 Knights, wives, friends, parishioners and community volunteers joined together in the restoration project for more than three and a half years. Six of the volunteers were inspired to join the Knights of Columbus. The first official celebration in the restored church was a wedding anniversary and renewal of vows by a Knight and his wife who had been married there 50 years earlier. Today, Old St. Joe’s has come back to life, and is being used for small weddings, daily Mass, Eucharistic Adoration and as a teaching tool in RCIA classes.
Convention delegates welcomed State Deputy Ricardo Acevedo and his wife, Catherine, Past State Deputy Eugene Hippe and his wife, Gloria, and St. Joseph’s of Lino Lakes Council 9905 Grand Knight and Mrs. Terry G. Meyer, as they received the Supreme Council’s 2009 Church Activity Award.
International Community Service Award
|Massachusetts State Deputy William F. Donavan and his wife, Ann Marie, and Past Grand Knight and Mrs. Kevin C. McKenna receive the Supreme Council’s 2009 Community Activity Award on behalf of Richard Cardinal Cushing Council 6267 in Pembroke, Mass.|
Grand Knight Kevin C. McKenna
in Richard Cardinal Cushing
The Knights of Columbus has long been closely associated with efforts to support people with intellectual disabilities and special needs. Last year, Grand Knight Kevin C. McKenna and Knights in Richard Cardinal Cushing Council 6267 organized a very special event – a prom – for special needs students in and around Pembroke, Mass.
In the best tradition of the Order, they received assistance from five other local councils, a Fourth Degree assembly and the state council.
Kevin is the proud father of three special needs children, and was moved to propose the project after an incident at a school dance involving his autistic 10-year-old daughter, Tori.
In all, 125 members of the council, as well as many additional volunteers from the community, devoted more than 3,500 hours to organizing the dance. They arranged for free prom dresses and tuxedos for those who could not afford them, and obtained donations of invitations, decorations and gifts for the attendees. A neighboring grand knight served as the DJ, and another Knight volunteered to take photographs of all the prom-goers.
Volunteers from the local high school and the Rotary Club also donated many hours to make the event a success.
Most of the 75 special needs students attend the Cardinal Cushing Center in Hanover, but parents from other area schools called to ask whether their special needs children could attend too, and of course they were warmly welcomed. The event was the subject of wonderful news coverage in the Boston Globe and the Patriot Ledger.
Kevin says that the Special Needs Prom is “the most enjoyable time [he has] ever had as a member of the Knights of Columbus,” and not only did he help organize a 2009 prom at his home council (which was twice as big as last year), he also helped Tewkesbury Council organize one of its own.
Convention delegates welcomed State Deputy William F. Donovan and his wife, Ann Marie, and Past Grand Knight and Mrs. Kevin C. McKenna as they received the Supreme Council’s 2009 Community Award on behalf of Richard Cardinal Cushing Council 6267.
International Council Service Award
|Virginia State Deputy Patrick F. O’Donnell and his wife, Pat; Past State Deputy Kelly J. Mortensen and his wife, Kathy; and Past Grand Knight and Mrs. Andrew M. Altman of Our Lady of Hope Council 12791 in Potomac Falls, Va., receive the Supreme Council’s 2009 Council Award.|
Our Lady of Hope Council 12791,
Potomac Falls, Virginia
When the Venerable Michael McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882, one of the most important parts of his vision was to encourage the Catholic men of his parish to join hands to help one another, especially in times of need.
Last year, the Knights of Our Lady of Hope Council 12791 in Potomac Falls, Va., took that vision to heart when several of their members fell victim to the recent economic hard times.
The council created a “McGivney Vision Program,” designed to provide both spiritual and financial support to members in need of help because of job loss, family health issues or other significant events adversely affecting their quality of life. The program also provides business networking and career support.
When annual dues statements were sent out, members were encouraged to donate additional money to the program, and so far they’ve raised $10,000 to help brothers in need.
The networking component of the program has been especially useful. Knights put their resumés on file, and everyone with information on job openings sends it along to the Grand Knight, who posts the information. The council also networks with four other area councils in their district, as well as trade groups and an extended network of employers.
So far, six brother Knights have found new jobs through the program and several others are making active use of the network in their searches.
Convention delegates welcomed Virginia State Deputy Patrick F. O’Donnell and his wife, Pat, Past State Deputy Kelly J. Mortensen and his wife, Kathy, and Past Grand Knight and Mrs. Andrew M. Altman as they received the Supreme Council’s 2009 Council Award.
International Family Service Award
|British Columbia State Deputy Michael Yeo and his wife, Glynis; Past State Deputy Brian D. O’Hara and his wife, Joanne; and Past Grand Knight and Mrs. Paul A. Theberge of Archbishop Johnson Council 6767 in Abbotsford, B.C., receive the Supreme Council’s 2009 Family Award.|
Council 6767 in
There are many organizations that help the less fortunate at Christmas time, but Archbishop Johnson Council 6767 in Abbotsford, B.C., has created a program that is truly special.
They begin work on it at the start of each New Year, raising money for the Adopt a Family Christmas Hamper Fund all year long. After asking for suggestions from the parish, St. Vincent DePaul and the Abbotsford Christmas Bureau, they select 40 families for “adoption.”
Last year, 27 of the 40 were single mothers and their children, including some who had been recently widowed. Each family receives everything needed for a proper Christmas dinner, including a turkey and fresh vegetables, plus one more expensive gift and two smaller ones for each child.
Shortly before Christmas 20 volunteer drivers and helpers fan out across the community to deliver the hampers containing the gifts and food to each family.
In part because of the personal, one-on-one nature of this charitable program, each year’s effort produces special moments. Last year, among the recipients were a single mother and her four children.
The youngest child was scheduled for his fourth heart operation on the Tuesday before Christmas, and would be spending the holiday in the hospital. The Knights arranged for his family to get their hamper a little bit early so that they could celebrate Christmas before his operation.
Convention delegates welcomed British Columbia State Deputy Michael Yeo and his wife, Glynis, Past State Deputy Brian D. O’Hara and his wife, Joanne, and Past Grand Knight and Mrs. Paul A. Theberge as they received the Supreme Council’s 2009 Family Award.
International Pro-Life Service Award
|Pennsylvania State Deputy Wayne S. Freet and his wife, Deborah, and Past Deputy Grand Knight and Mrs. Donald J. Rauscher receive the Supreme Council’s 2009 Pro-Life Award on behalf of Grand Knight James H. Snitger and Manordale Valley Council 4226 in Murrysville, Pa.|
Manordale Valley Council 4226
Our Rosebud Program
This year, we have added a category to our international service program awards: the best Pro-Life activity.
The first winner in this new category is a council that has put together an especially noteworthy program to help mothers who decide to have their baby instead of an abortion care for their infant children.
Recognizing that an estimated one-third of the million-plus abortions performed every year in the United States are done because the mother is afraid she won’t be able to meet her baby’s needs, Manordale Valley Council 4226 in Murrysville, Pa., launched “Our Rosebud Program” back in 2004 and it is now in its fifth year.
In cooperation with “Welcome Little Ones” of Southwestern Pennsylvania, the program pairs a young mother or couple with a sponsoring couple from the council. They provide emotional support throughout the pregnancy and for a full year after the child is born. They identify unmet needs, such as baby furniture and clothing, as well as ongoing needs like diapers, baby wipes, bath products and laundry detergent that are provided throughout the year.
As with so many other successful Knights of Columbus volunteer programs, Council 4226 involves many from Mother of Sorrows Parish and the community to support and sustain the program.
The parish religious education program and elementary school conduct diaper and clothing drives, providing an added bonus: In the process, the children of the parish learn firsthand about the gift of human life and the value of caring for others.
The council sponsors four little “Rosebuds” each year, and to date 17 mothers and 18 babies have benefitted from the program, including a 15- year-old mother from a dysfunctional family who had twins. With the help of the “Our Rosebud Program,” she has since gone on to graduate with honors from high school and is now in college.
Convention delegates welcomed Pennsylvania State Deputy Wayne S. Freet and his wife, Deborah, and Past Deputy Grand Knight and Mrs. Donald J. Rauscher as they received the Supreme Council’s 2009 Pro- Life Award on behalf of Grand Knight James H. Snitger and Manordale Valley Council 4226.
|Left - Visayas Deputy Dionisio R. Esteban Jr. and his wife, Fe, and Grand Knight and Mrs. Fabian C. Regis accept Supreme Council’s 2009 Youth Award (tie) on behalf of Mandaue Fatima Council 7101 in Mandaue, Philippines.|
|Right - Territorial Deputy Andrzej Gut-Mustowy and his wife, Bożena, and Deputy Grand Knight and Mrs. Roman Kaput of Pope John Paul II Council 14023 in Starachowice, Poland, accept the 2009 Supreme Council’s Youth Award (tie).|
Mandaue Fatima Council 7101
Mandaue City, Visayas
Pope John Paul II Council 14023 Starachowice, Poland
This year, there was a tie for the first place Youth Activities Award.
Mandaue Fatima Council 7101 in Mandaue City in the Philippines, organized and ran a program providing spiritual formation for children ages 6 to 12, providing basic catechism and instruction on how to pray the rosary for several hours each Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
In May 2009, more than 40 Knights and family members, together with 53 Squires and “Squirettes,” provided these classes to more than 2,500 children who were divided into several age groups. They used age-appropriate pictures and artwork to help keep all of the children interested and engaged, and talked about their personal stories of faith and dedication to the Church as well.
Knights also provided nutritious snacks for the children, who often come from poor families. In all, the Knights of Fatima Council donated more 1,400 hours of their time to the project.
The Knights of one of our newest councils, in our newest jurisdiction, Pope John Paul II Council 14023 in Starachowice, Poland, worried about a trend among teenagers and even younger children of skipping school and becoming involved with drugs and alcohol. They decided that they could help many of these children develop a better outlook on their futures, and help create a positive image of the Knights of Columbus, by popularizing the game of chess for young people.
Chess is a rules-based game that develops a variety of skills that are useful throughout one’s life: self-discipline and the ability to think, concentrate and imagine alternative strategies for winning. Children who play the game handle failure differently — they bounce back and try again, rather than giving up in despair.
The council members taught 124 youngsters to play, organized 19 chess tournaments, and sent participants to events held by other area clubs. They also raised more than $15,000 to pay the program’s expenses and for other charity work.
The Supreme Council’s 2009 Youth Award was presented to representatives for both winners. Convention delegates welcomed Visayas Deputy Dionisio R. Esteban, Jr. and his wife, Fe, and Grand Knight and Mrs. Fabian C. Regis, who accepted the award on behalf of Council 7101.
Poland Territorial Deputy Andrzej Gut-Mostowy and his wife, Bożena, and Deputy Grand Knight and Mrs. Roman Kaput received the award on behalf of Council 14023