SPARTANBURG—Men, women and families who live out their faith in dynamic ways were honored at the 95th annual State Convention of the South Carolina State Council of the Knights of Columbus.
More than 200 Knights and their wives attended the event, which was held April 22-24 at the Marriott in downtown Spartanburg. The weekend included everything from a golf tournament to a formal dinner, with Mass celebrated at the hotel by Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone on April 23.
The annual convention also included election of officers and meetings dealing with various business aspects of the organization. Several people who attended the weekend, however, said the real evidence of what the Knights do for their parishes and communities was seen at the Michael W. Telesco Awards Breakfast on April 24.
Councils from around the state were honored for service projects, pro-life work and raising funds for the Columbus HOPE Foundation, a non-profit organization run by the Knights in South Carolina. HOPE focuses on increasing the self-reliance and dignity of people with mental and physical disabilities.
Ron Stanley of Council 9575 in Spartanburg was named Golden Knight of the Year. This award is given each year to a Knight who has shown outstanding service and commitment for 10 years or more. He and his wife Linda attend Jesus Our Risen Savior Church in Spartanburg and have one daughter.
Stanley said he joined the Knights more than 20 years ago when his daughter was born because he wanted to be part of something that would show her an example of faith and traditional values.
In the past, he has served as Grand Knight for Council 9575 and also was the Knights’ state membership director.
Stanley has been involved in a wide range of projects with his council, including the annual “Keep Christ in Christmas” campaign, which for the past 14 years has featured one of their floats in the annual Spartanburg Christmas parade.
He is especially proud of serving as chairman for SpartOberfest, an Oktoberfest-themed event launched at Jesus Our Risen Savior in 2015. The weekend drew hundreds of people to the church property on the west side of Spartanburg to enjoy crafts, German food, live music and other events. Stanley said proceeds went to the parish building campaign and local charities. SpartOberfest also won the Church Service Program Award for the year.
“Receiving the Golden Knight Award for the work I’ve done is very humbling,” Stanley said. “It reflects 10 years of effort and shows the impact you can have on your council and in your community. I’m proud of being a Knight because it gives me a chance to put my Catholic faith into practice.”
Bruce Hutchison of Council 10066 in Lancaster was named Knight of the Year. This award is given annually to a man who has shown outstanding service in the past year. Hutchison and his wife Patti attend St. Catherine of Siena Church in Lancaster. The couple has three children and four grandchildren.
Hutchison joined the Knights of Columbus four years ago because of what he calls a “nudge from Jesus.”
“People may laugh when I say that, but that’s really what it was,” he said. “I had always been active in the church before, but I really feel that the urge to become part of this came from God.”
Hutchison said being a member of a small council at a small parish is a special experience because of the dedication of the people he works with on a daily basis.
“I never expected to be honored,” he said. “I’m just trying to do what needs to be done for the Church. I’m thankful for the opportunity the Knights give for us all to come together.”
Other awards include: Family of the Year to Michael and Cynthia Gresko of Greenwood, State Youth of the Year to Teresa Hanley of Goose Creek, and the State Catholicity Award to Joan Marie Cushing of Murrells Inlet.
Also, the Special State Deputy Award went to Allen Zimmerman and the late Barbara Zimmerman of Conway for the work they did assisting victims of the devastating October floods.
Top photo: Miscellany/Christina Lee Knauss: Sharon Davis, left, wife of Knights of Columbus State Deputy Frank Davis, congratulates Joan Marie Cushing of St. Michael Church in Garden City for winning the State Catholicity Award presented by the South Carolina State Council of the Knights of Columbus.