From left to right in back are Knights Dennis Kurth, John DeVivo, Ron Brockmeyer and Grand Knight Jim Miller. In front isKaren Arnold.


SPIRIT LAKE – The Iowa Great Lakes Knights of Columbus Council 5043 put charity into action last month when it built a wheelchair ramp for a former organist at St. Mary’s Parish. The ramp, on Hill Avenue near the church, will allow Karen Arnold access to and from her Victorian home.

Using a wheelchair after some recent health issues, Arnold could not get in and out of her home, which has stairs at every entrance. In fact, healthcare officials stated they would not release her home without a commitment to have wheelchair access. She had played the organ at the church for 20 years.

Enter the local Knights of Columbus council. Knight John DeVivo was instrumental in the design and was joined by Dennis Kurth in construction of the ramp. Those crucial to navigating the labor, legal issues and materials to finish the job in about two weeks include Grand Knight Jim Miller and Knights Ron Brockmeyer, Harold Overmann, John Steinkamp, Mike Koenecke, Bob Wegelin, Darrell Mergen, J. T. O’Neill, Ron Crowley, John Longmore, John Sandy and Curt Smith. The family provided financing, decking was supplied at cost from VW Docks of Spirit Lake and sand and gravel was donated by Sam Wedeking.

As Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson stated: “Charity has always been a defining characteristic of the Knight of Columbus because our love of neighbor has always motivated us to protect God’s Gifts.”

Jim Miller, Grand Knight of Iowa Great Lakes Council 5043, said the local effort to help one wheelchair-bound woman is simply a reflection of the global efforts of the Knights with charitable programs including Coats for Kids, Special Olympics, Global Wheelchair Mission, Healing Haiti’s Children, Disaster Relief, Habitat for Humanity, Food for Families, Blood Drives and International Relief.

“What the Knights of Columbus do in our local community often goes unnoticed,” Miller said. “And that’s okay, because God didn’t tell us to wear our religion on our sleeve. Humility is a good thing, and we are happy to reflect the message of God through our local, charitable works.”

The Knights of Columbus Iowa Great Lakes Council works with families, involving all to aid their church, community and one another. Events to watch for are monthly pancake and omelette breakfasts at St. Mary’s Community Room; annual Tootsie Roll Drive for persons with intellectual disabilities; and the children’s Free Throw and Spelling Bee Competitions.

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