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#KnightsInAction: Indiana Knights

10/24/2018

By Andrew Fowler

'The Duty to Help'

Hurricane Michael

Indiana Knights travel to Florida to help with Hurricane Michael cleanup.

Jeff Lacey was not affected by Hurricane Michael. Nor was he impacted by hurricanes that hit Texas, Louisiana and the Carolinas in the past several years. But he and other Knights from Indiana traveled to the areas to help victims.

“The Knights of Columbus were there,” Lacey, a member said, referring to relief efforts following other storms. “We’re always there.”

Lacey, a member of the Msgr. William J. Kreis Council 1231 in Lawerenceburg, Ind., along with fellow Indiana Knights Bill McDonald, Indiana State Council warden, and Bob Voegeli of Father Bernard Voges Council 8487 in Osgood, Ind., were providing supplies and clean-up assistance to parishes in Marianna, Blountstown, Quincy and Panama City, including St. Dominic’s Catholic Church.

“When we saw the hurricane was going to strike, we started reaching out to our Knights down here to see what we could do to help,” McDonald said. “If I have the ability, I have the duty to help my brother Knights in charity.”

The Knights of Columbus has raised more than $1 million in disaster relief in the aftermath of hurricanes Florence and Michael through the Knights of Columbus Disaster Relief Fund. One hundred percent of the donations are appropriated to assisting victims in a variety of ways, including purchasing supplies, clean-up and distribution of gifts cards to families without cash on hand.

Bob Voegeli and his wife, Sharon, traveled down from Milan, Indiana, over 700 miles to reach Panama City, but they struggled en route. Voegeli owned a tractor with a loader, and offered it to St. Dominic’s Catholic Church to move debris. During the trip, he and his wife coped with a flat tire and then a broken brake line. They searched for places to fix their car troubles, but it took hours. Eventually, the problems were fixed and they continued on.

“God had a sense of humor,” said Voegeli. “They expected us to come down. We said we would do it so, downhill, you know, we’re going south anyway. So what the heck.”

He and Sharon expect to stay at St. Dominic’s for the next week or two. In that time, they will be living in a camper provided by the parish and Voegeli will help clear debris.

“We’re not rich, but we’re not hurting for food or housing,” Voegeli said. “God has given us a lot. So you know, why not help people that need it.”

As a token of their appreciation, Donald Kahrer, Fla. State Deputy and other state officers presented the Indiana Knights an icon of Our Lady of Kazan, protector of Russia.

“It’s just overwhelming that people would take the time and effort to reach out for people that they don’t even know, a different state, a different cause,” said Kahrer. “It’s just overwhelming the unity and fraternity that exists.”

For McDonald, as for most Knights, being a Knight is not simply a membership, but a lifestyle and the core of their being.

“You are a Knight. You wake up as a Knight and go to bed as a Knight. You’re not a Knight for two hours a day or six hours a day, you are a Knight 24 hours a day,” said McDonald. “You live your faith in charity. Our Lord wanted us to take care of our fellow man and that’s what Knights, we should be doing. That’s our faith in action.”

Andrew Fowler, Andrew.fowler@kofc.org