Knights hold annual state convention, announce award winners

GREENVILLE — Over 300 Knights and their families from throughout the Palmetto state met at the Greenville Hilton May 1-2 for the 78th annual convention of the South Carolina State Council. Seventy-six delegates from 53 councils were in attendance.

Guest speaker at the Palmetto State Dinner was Supreme Director Thomas H. Shaughnessy from New Haven, Conn. He brought greetings from the Supreme Knight, who asked “that the Knights use the occasion of the state convention to renew their faith in God, in our order, and in ourselves.”

The state council also made special grants to some organizations that support people with mental retardation and physical disabilities. Among those accepting grants were Professor Charles White, director of the Outdoor Laboratory at Clemson University (Camp Hope), $3,000; David Goodell, regional director of Pee Dee Regional Center in Florence, $2,500 grant; Ann Poole, principal of the Washington Center in Greenville, $5,000 grant; William Kessling, president and CEO of the state Special Olympics, $5,000 grant; Deborah Morris, executive director of the Program for Exceptional People (PEP) in Hilton Head, $10,000 grant.

Morris told the delegates and their families that they were using their grant to lease a van so that they could provide transportation to and from jobs for those that are handicapped and employable. Without this independent living initiative that the van provides, Morris said many if not all of the adults with mental retardation and/or disabilities would not have the opportunities that others take for granted.

The highlight of the gathering was the awards breakfast on May 2, with individuals and councils receiving plaques and special recognition:

Knight of the Year – Joseph F. Kopack, Council 724, Columbia

Family of the Year – Joseph and Elizabeth Higgins, Council 5026, Beaufort

Golden Knight of the Year – Anthony Baiocco, Council 6629, Summerville

Personal recognition awards went to:

Charity – John Dispeniza, Council 724, Columbia

Catholicity – James Hanrahan, Council 6629, Summerville

Service program awards for the best programs in the state went to:

Community Activity – Council 9184, Taylors

Church Activity – Council 6629, Summerville

Council Activity – Council 6726, Hanahan/Goose Creek

Family Activity – Council 1668, Greenville

Youth Activity – Council 6629, Summerville

Scrapbook Awards – Council 6847, East Columbia; Council 6629, Summerville

Pulliam Awards – Council 6726, Hanahan/Goose Creek

Stuckey Pen Awards:

Jerome Barnes, Council 11471, Moncks Corner; Michael

Parkinson, Council 6726, Hanahan/Goose Creek

Convention Attendance Award – Council 6726, Hanahan/Goose Creek

Best Council Award – Council 7531, Conway

The South Carolina State Council Knights of Columbus was organized by the Supreme Council Knights of Columbus Board of Directors in 1921, and now has 53 councils with a membership of 6,200.

Photo: (Left to right) Richard Gabriel, Grand Knight Council 6726, Hanahan/Goose Creek, holds Pulliam Award Plaque Division III. Michael Parkinson displays the Pulliam Scrapbook. Noreen Urko holds the winning Scrapbook Division III.