Father J Diamond KofC Council #6292 Logo Knights of Columbus 6292 Title Graphic

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State of the Council Address

Jun 09, 2004 A reprint of GK Dave Todd, Jr.'s State of the Council Speech from the GK Ball this weekend:

Reverend Father, Worth State Deputy-Elect, Madame President, Worthy District Deputy, Members of the State Council, Former District Deputies, Past Grand Knights, my Fellow Officers & Brother Knights, Lovely Ladies, Family, Friends, Brothers & Sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ:

Recently, while listening to one of my CD’s, I heard a song that reminded me of a piece of advice given to me nearly a year ago by the District Deputy and his wife. In their song, Canadian rock group Nickleback sings “These five words am I left: ARE WE HAVING FUN YET?” Well, the answer is YES!!!

This has been an incredible year, one in which we’ve met or exceeded past achievements on nearly all fronts. We’ve repeated numerous activities and events with similar success, while adding new programs with comparable success.

We have continued to come together each month on the third Saturday to pray the Rosary at the abortion facility on Eaton Place. This year, we saw several of our Ladies joining us for the Rosary… something we hope to see more of in the future.

In September, we hosted the Parish Picnic for the Pastor.

Over Columbus Day weekend, we participated in the Fall Festival.

In November, we hosted a Vocational Awareness & Server Appreciation Day for the Altar Servers of St Leo’s, which involved taking the Servers to Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland for a chance to learn about Vocations, attend Mass with seminarians, visit the Grotto of Lourdes and the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Basilica, and then return back to St. Leo’s for dinner and a movie.

We continued with repeated success our Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter Baskets, as well as our Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter Feed-The-Homeless programs.

This year, Herb Zimmerman agreed to take over our Christmas Card Sales. Thanks to his efforts, we were able to eliminate most of our stock that had been accumulating over the past several years.

New to our Council, Steve Smith agreed to take on the responsibility of our Christmas Tree Sales. Despite never having seen it in action, Steve did a great job in leading this program, and our net profit of $9,053 was less than $750 below last year’s profit, this despite an increase of $1,900 in the cost of the trees. We look forward to Steve continuing with this program, and anticipate the innovative ideas he might bring to the overall program.

We sang carols at the INOVA Commonwealth Care Facility in December.

We hosted Christmas, New Year, and St Patrick Day parties for the Council, and a Valentine Day Dinner-Dance for the parish.

We hosted a Third Degree in January, and the State Quarterly Meeting in March.

We participated in the annual March for Life downtown, collecting $24,387.50, bringing us to a grand total of $163,432 that we have collected from marchers and have given to Nellie Gray and the National Right to Life since we began this program in 1994. This year saw the enlistment of three women to assist us: Jamie Coniglio returned, while Elaine Pepin & Li Plumstead joined us for the first time.

April’s KOVAR drive was another huge success, and while we did not meet our goal of $26,000, we did come in with an impressive $23,732, the second largest collection in the state.

We once again hosted our annual pig roast last weekend, and this year saw approximately 125 people in attendance… what a way to celebrate all the years of hard work Pat LaCour has put into this program!

This year has seen major strides in our efforts to establish a Pro-Life Memorial. Working with a committee established last year, we settled on a design and a location, and we were able to obtain the Pastors approval for both. We custom ordered the statue, which now sits in a warehouse in Ohio, waiting final preparation and installation. Our fundraising is well under way, with bricks being purchased by members of our Council and the parish rather quickly. We look forward to dedicating the memorial sometime this fall. So much effort has gone into this project, and I would have to thank ALL who have had a hand in planning it, from the very first moments and designs some 7-years ago, to those who are actively planning the final stages today. It is great to know the project’s end is in sight and that it will hopefully be dedicated this year, and I thank all who have assisted and will assist with it.

Among our new programs, last July, we hosted what will hopefully be the first of many get-togethers between seminarians from the Diocese of Arlington and the Archdiocese of Washington. The “Potomac Challenge” provided the two groups the opportunity to come together in a spirit of charity and fraternity. After a rousing game of softball, which was won by the Arlington seminarians, the men joined together to pray Evening Prayer before partaking in a picnic dinner provided by our Council. The event was so well received that in January, a second challenge took place, this time at Paul VI High School and involving other groups of seminarians from the region.

In August, several members of Fr Diamond Council assisted with the transportation of Bishops, Archbishops, and Cardinals attending the Supreme Convention. Those who helped this program were granted the opportunity to meet and speak with members of the hierarchy in a way many are not privileged to, and those who did so enjoyed this occasion.

Also in August, several members of the Council were called upon to assist with the Permanent Deacons’ Dinner here at St Leo’s. Bishop Loverde celebrated Mass and then dined with the Deacons from the Diocese.

In September, we hosted a Blue Mass to honor members of the Police and Fire Departments and of the military, as well as paramedics, for putting their lives on the line for us. While we did not have a great turnout, those who did attend were impressed and grateful for our efforts, and we hope to see this program continued.

In October, we hosted a Hawaiian Luau. Two pigs were spit roasted, and there was plenty of food for all. We even had the entertainment of several hula dancers. All who attended enjoyed themselves, and the net profit of over $700 went toward the Pro-Life Memorial.

In March, we hosted a Fish Bake with tremendous success… a project well appreciated by parishioners, and one I anticipate will be repeated.

We took the initial steps in reactivating our Squire Circle, as well as initiate a Squire Rose Circle. While there is still work to be done on this, we have eight youths from the parish ready to push forward with this program, and at least one adult willing to lead the charge.

When one of our brother Knights was sent to Iraq, we came together in an effort to support some of our troops. Thru the efforts of our council, books were collected, and several supplies including flea collars and powdered Tang were purchased. All were boxed up and sent to Sam Stafford, who responded with a very kind and touching “Thank You” to us!

There are many people who deserve thanks for this year’s successes. First and foremost would be all those members who came out to support our various activities and events, as well as their family members who joined us.

More specifically would be our various event coordinators. Individuals such as John & Pat Brophy who headed up our Blood Drive. Tim & Erin Cooke for their efforts with the Crab Feast, as well as Tim’s leadership with the KOVAR drive. Tim Tilson who led the way with Parish Picnic and headed up the Scholarship Committee. Tim Hogan who headed up our stand at the Fall Festival, coordinated our Valentine Dinner-Dance, and served as Chairman of our Nominating Committee. George and Thelma Billy who planned our Hawaiian Luau and organized our Feed The Homeless program. Bill Ward who led the troops in caroling and the fish-bake. Mike Plumstead who coordinated our efforts at the March for Life. Bill Jayne & Bill Ward who collected needed goods for Sam Stafford and our troops in Iraq.

Our various Chairmen did quite a bit to help out. Ed Cuccias helping to coordinate our Church Activities, John Eldred assisting with Council Activities, Nick Lellock looked after Family Activities, and Pat Leffas headed up our Youth Activities.

Then comes our Officers. We struggled this year as four of our Officers resigned their posts for varying reasons. Nonetheless, we owe our gratitude to Larry Gottschalk for his service as Financial Secretary, Pete Smith as Warden, and Scott Smullen and Ben Stack as Outside Guards. Additional thanks must be expressed to those four gentlemen who stepped forward to take on new responsibilities mid-year. We thank Paul Cooke for accepting Supreme’s appointment as our Financial Secretary. Greg Skorupski added to his responsibilities as our Charity Committee Chairman the duties of Warden. And Bill Weich and Jac Cerney added to their respective jobs as Newsletter Editor and Community Chairman the duties of Outside Guards.

For those who served all year, I say thank you! Trustees Marion Kuhlman, Larry Novack, and Tim Cooke; Inside Guard Mike Plumstead; Lecturer Mike Purtill; Advocate Herb Zimmerman; Recorder Dan Purtill; Treasurer Al Leightley; and Chaplain Fr Jerry Wooton. Most importantly, I appreciated the assistance of each of my Chair Officers. I’ve already mentioned our two Wardens. Chancellor Dave Miller also served as our Membership Director, always looking for a way to recruit a new member. As the top recruiter of the Council this year, he has been an inspiration to us all to help grow the Order, and I thank him for both his efforts, and for his friendship. And Deputy Grand Knight Greg Hartley! This is a man who has done a great job helping me this year. At the beginning of the year, he took charge of the calendar and our programs, and has done a spectacular job with them. There is no one I would rather see take charge of the Council as Grand Knight for the upcoming year, and I know that I’m handing over the responsibilities of this office and of the Council to a truly capable gentleman.

I would be remiss if I did not recognize two other groups of individuals, without whom this year would not have been successful. At the end of nearly every meeting, I recognized the first of these groups, calling each one by name. Rather than doing that, I’d simply ask that all of my predecessors please stand and be recognized by the title they have earned: Past Grand Knight! These gentlemen were always quick to applaud our successes, as well as point out our shortcomings. They have been an invaluable resource to the Council and to me, and I appreciate their continuing efforts.

I’ve saved the best for last. Without the support of this group, most of us would not be able to participate in our activities. They are the inspiration for many of us, and we love them dearly. I ask that all Ladies please stand to be recognized, and ask that all Brother Knights join me in applauding their efforts and support.

And now, we come to the part that many of us are looking forward to: AWARDS and other recognitions.

We begin with our Knight of the Year. This Brother Knight has been a member of the Order and of our Council for many years, although it has only been recently that he has become actively involved. He regularly attends meetings and participates in numerous Council activities. In fact, he is one of the most dependable Knights I have ever had the pleasure to encounter. His willingness and upbeat approach to all our activities has been an inspiration to the rest of us. He epitomizes the ideals of Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism in a very modest and humble fashion. He has served as Chairman of our Charity Committee, thru which he has devoted many hours to our annual Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter Basket programs. He has provided excellent leadership, a sense of unity and fraternity, and charity towards all involved, both those participating in preparation and delivery, as well as those receiving the baskets. And when our Council was recently faced with an open Office, he selflessly stepped forward and not only volunteered to fill the Office for the rest of this year, but even agreed to remain in that position for the year to come. He attends Mass daily, and serves as an Usher at Sunday Mass. He is truly an inspiration to us all, and a fine example of Knighthood. I think all of you will agree with me that there is no finer individual to be named Knight of the Year than this evening’s MC, Brother Greg Skorupski!

Next is our Family of the Year. This Brother Knight and his wife are very active in the parish, where they serve as Eucharistic Ministers, and are actively involved in the parish’s Right-To-Life Committee and the St Vincent de Paul Society. He regularly participates in the Council’s monthly Rosary at the abortion facility. This year, both braved the cold and helped collect from marchers at January’s March for Life. They are hard workers and willing team players, and supportive not only of each other but towards other Knights and their families. Additionally, they served the Council this year as the Pro-Life Couple, and he is spearheading the fundraising for our Council’s Right-to-Life Memorial. This year’s Family of the Year is Mike and Li Plumstead!

Regrettably, Mike and Li could not be here this evening. Their plaque will be presented to Mike Tuesday at the Council Meeting.

Each year, the Grand Knight is given the opportunity to recognize a Brother Knight who has been an invaluable asset to him. While I could not have performed my responsibilities without the support of any of my Officers or the Council’s members, there has been one individual who has been there for me almost without fail. He has been my right-hand man, making sure to coordinate with our Activity Chairmen and event coordinators their responsibilities. He has been someone who I could bounce ideas off; he never feared telling me when I made a mistake. He has been someone that I could trust, and I am happy to consider him a true friend. Finally, I know that he will do a great job next year in serving as this Council’s Grand Knight. This year’s Grand Knight’s Award goes to my Deputy Grand Knight, Greg Hartley!

There are several individuals that are a great influences in my life, and to whom I owe a debt of gratitude.

First is my Lady and my fiancé, Stella. Although she has been a part of my life for a relatively short time, she has been an inspiration for me to strive to be a better gentleman, and I thank her for both her friendship and her love.

Next comes a wonderful couple. The man who stands before you this evening is the result of the love and care they have for each other, and the product of their guidance. Everything that I am I owe to them. And although I do not say it enough, I truly do love them!

For Dad, I have a special presentation. But there’s a story behind this. During our first year in the DC area, Pope John Paul II visited Washington, DC. Members of the Knights of Columbus were called upon to serve as Marshals downtown, and Dad volunteered his efforts. For his service, he was given a certificate denoting a Papal Blessing. The only problem is, his 8-year-old son saw HIS name on the certificate, and was impressed by the fancy writing. Thinking it was his own, this young lad proceeded to sign the certificate… several times. Well, Dad, I am truly sorry for doing so, and have finally found a way to make it up to you. I would like to present you with a replica of the certificate I destroyed nearly 25 years ago, and in doing so, thank you for all you have given me: my life, my name, and my membership in this great Order. You have been an inspiration, and I have always striven to make you proud of me. Know that one of the proudest titles I bear is that of your son! THANK YOU, and I LOVE YOU!!!

Again, I saved the best for last… or ALMOST last! For Mom, I don’t have any special stories, other than to say that you have always been there for me, and I am truly grateful. However, my gratitude goes beyond just my love for you. Typically you are also recognized for your efforts as the President of the Columbiettes. I also have the opportunity to recognize you for the three years you have served as President of the Ladies of Virginia, and congratulate you as your final term expires. You have dedicated so much time and effort not only to the Knights and the Ladies auxiliaries, but also to my upbringing, and I want you to know that you have done a great job in raising me. Know that I appreciate all you have given me: my life, my Faith, and my love for my family. As with Dad, my strongest desire has been to make you proud of me. Know that I have always been proud to call you Mom, and I always will be! THANK YOU, and I LOVE YOU!!!

Finally, I thank God for all He has given me: Life, Faith, Family, Friends, and so much more!

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