Charitable donations highlight Knights’ convention

NORTH CHARLESTON – More than 300 Knights of Columbus and their families attended the 85th annual state convention May 5-7.

The three-day weekend included election of new state officers, an awards breakfast, Mass, a formal banquet, and donations to charities. The event was held at the North Charleston Sheraton.

Bill Zimmerman was the honoree at the festivities.

On Saturday delegates elected new officers, including State Deputy Robert W. Ficco, State Secretary Joseph F. Gubeli, State Treasurer Thomas M. Monahon, State Chaplain Father James Parker, State Advocate Richard A. Gabriel, and State Warden Richard Stacalak. Installation of the new officers will be June 24 in Rock Hill.

A brunch was held for Knights’ wives on Saturday. Guests were asked to bring a child’s suitcase and stuffed animal to donate to Helping and Lending Outreach Support, which provides support for abused and neglected children in partnership with the Charleston County Department of Social Services. Guests also brought nonperishable food items and toiletries that were donated to Helping Hands of Goose Creek, a Christian food pantry and crisis assistance center.

Bishop Robert J. Baker celebrated Mass on Saturday evening, and at the banquet that followed he commended the Knights.

“One of the greatest attributes among the Knights is their connectedness … the Knights look at things from the perspective of being Catholic, universal,” he said.

Outgoing State Deputy Ray Hock presented Bishop Baker with three checks. The first was for $5,000 from the “Pennies From Heaven” campaign and the second was for $1,500 from the collection at this year’s Fourth Degree Exemplification. Both were for the seminarian fund. The final check was for $10,000 for the bishop’s discretionary fund. Bishop Baker said the money would be used for the Capital Campaign.

Donations were also made to Cath-olic Charities, South Carolina Foster Parents Association, the Catholic Committee on Scouting and the Poor Clare Sisters of Greenville, among others.

The convention concluded with an awards breakfast on Sunday morning. The State Charity Award was presented to Ralph Patrillo of Council 8182 in Mauldin, and the State Catholicity Award was given to Ken Sedlachek of Council 13112 in Greenville. The State Youth of the Year Award was presented to Elizabeth Bird from Council 9575 in Spartanburg. The State Knight of the Year Award was given to Jim Scherrenke of Council 8182 in Mauldin, and the State Family of the Year Award was presented to Tom and Fran Franzoni from Council 9475 in Mount Pleasant.

Golden Knight of the Year, the highest honor, was awarded to Joe Braxton from Council 6629 in Summerville. He received the honor for exemplary service to the organization for more than 10 years.