From staff reports
The Tennessee Knights of Columbus paid tribute to the efforts of councils, Knights, and their families to support their parishes and their communities during the annual state convention held April 29-May 1 at the Marriott Cool Springs in Franklin.
And a Knight from the Diocese of Knoxville received a top statewide honor.
Charles “Chuck” Nelson of Queen of Heaven Council 4572 at St. Thérèse of Lisieux Church in Cleveland was honored as the 2016 Knight of the Year.
As council director for 4572, Mr. Nelson chaired two annual barbecues, helped to set up and cook at the council’s annual golf tournament, and participated in the Knights Parking Valet events,
which raised $35,000 for council charities.
Nelson also helped build a ramp for a brother Knight whose wife suffered from ALS, pressure-washed a brother Knight’s driveway, and helped trim trees after storm damage.
He’s a regular cook at parish events, helped replace all the light fixtures in Breen Hall at the parish, and repaired the ceiling in the parish life center.
Jay Jacobs, a parishioner at St. Edward Church in Nashville and a member of Council 9586 at the parish, received the Lifetime Achievement Award that is given to a Knight who has made the greatest impact on the order in Tennessee during his years as a Knight.
Mr. Jacobs became a Catholic in October 1965 and shortly thereafter joined Council 4972 in Donelson, where he and his wife, Mary, led the council bingo games, when they were legal.
He also was involved with the planning and promotion of fundraising efforts to support the MR Foundation, which provides financial support to agencies around the state that support people with intellectual disabilities. He helped organize the annual Tootsie Roll drives sponsored by the Knights and three country music concerts, all to support the Foundation.
Mr. Jacobs also served on the board of Special Housing Services Inc. of Nashville, overseeing the operations of two group homes and a duplex for adults with intellectual disabilities.
He has served in various offices at the council, district, and state levels, and as a Knight insurance agent.
In his parish, he has served on the parish council and as longtime head usher. He has been president of the Purdue Alumni of Middle Tennessee and the Nashville Electric League, and vice president of the Nashville Chapter of Mended Hearts.
The David and Jeanette Waters family of St. Stephen Church in Hermitage and Council 9282 at the parish was honored as the 2016 Family of the Year. As the Tennessee winner, the Waters family will be eligible for the Supreme Council’s International Family of the Year Award.
The Waters family, including their children, two in college, one serving in the U.S. Army National Guard, and one living at home, are active in the parish and the council, helping to prepare and serve meals, including setting up a smoker for the annual council yard sale, and making pancakes with Santa for the parish.
In the community, the Waters family volunteers by working with kindergarten children and serving in their parent-teacher organization of their children’s school.
Four councils received the Bishops Award, the highest honor presented by the State Council, recognizing councils that met requirements in the areas of pro-life, vocations, church, family and youth activities as well as work with the physically and intellectually disabled. Those winning were: Council 7449 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Germantown, Council 9132 at Our Lady of the Lake Church in Hendersonville, Council 9282 at St. Stephen Church in Hermitage, and Council 15393 at St. Brigid Church in Memphis.
Activity award winners include:
■ Council Award to Council 3537 at Immaculate Conception Church in Clarksville for collecting toys and clothing for families referred by the Montgomery County Recovery and Veterans Court, which helps individuals and families that have struggled with drug and alcohol abuse. The donated items were distributed at the annual Christmas party sponsored by the council.
■ Culture of Life Award to Council 9168 at St. Luke Church in Smyrna for raising money to buy an ultrasound machine for a mobile unit operated by Portico, a pro-life group in Rutherford County.
■ Family Award to Council 12633 at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Lenoir City for supporting and hosting the entire weekend of talks during the parish’s marriage preparation classes.
■ Vocation Award to Council 8781 at St. John Neumann Church in Farragut for hosting its 25th annual Clergy Appreciation Dinner for 91 priests, deacons and religious sisters.
■ Youth Award to Council 7449 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Germantown for sponsoring a kickball game for the senior youth of the parish and Special Olympians in the area. The game was followed by a meal for up to 75 people.
■ Church Award to Council 12012 at St. Henry Church in Nashville for its efforts to honor retiring pastor Father Michael Johnston by buying a new flag for the parish school, presenting the old flag in an engraved mantle showcase to Father Johnston, and sponsoring a $500 scholarship for an eighth-grade girl and boy to continue their Catholic education.
■ Community Award to Council 9132 at Our Lady of the Lake Church in Hendersonville for council members’ work on a Habitat for Humanity home for a single mother of two in Sumner County.
The state officers were all re-elected for a second year: State Deputy Stephen Comm of Council 9282 at St. Stephen in Hermitage; State Secretary Tracy Staller of Council 12961 at Holy Family Church in Seymour; State Treasurer Michael McCusker of Council 9317 at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Cordova; State Advocate Fred Laufenberg of Council 16088 at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Fairfield Glade; and State Warden William Markiewicz of Council 4572 at St. Thérèse of Lisieux Church in Cleveland.
Supreme Director Paul Lambert and his wife, Julie, of South Dakota represented the Supreme Council at the state convention.
Mr. Lambert urged the Tennessee Knights of Columbus to continue to support the initiatives of Supreme Knight Carl Anderson to support the domestic Church. Mr. Lambert also addressed the need for continued growth, according to Mr. Comm, “because we’re aging as an order, it’s very important that we replace ourselves so the order remains strong and vibrant into the future.” ■