Orlando Gil of the Harlan council 3900 invited me to answer this question. here is my response:
Why am I a Knight of Columbus?
Duc in Altum!
Simply put because of Russ Hensing and Richard Dole. In 1984 I moved as a recently married man from Nebraska to Iowa Falls Iowa for work. We were alone in the community and I was looking to make connections. Russ and Richard showed up at my apartment with evidence of an organization of men helping others while enjoying each other. I was hooked – and still am 30 years later.
Over the next few years I benefited from Russ’ gentle guidance and mentoring always seeking to keep me involved or to pay attention to some facet of council life. I was not always the eager disciple but he was the patient & persistent mentor. The key is that Russ never let me become “The Guy” who was ignored – so I flourished. My own father dropped out years ago because no one did that for him – and he’s not come back. And I don’t forget that new Knights need that from me.
So at first my Knight’s involvement was very much the product of experienced Knights continually drawing me in. As I matured and moved again, my involvement with the Knights changed to leadership – again due to invitation by others who recognized potential grace within me which I was not yet eager to embrace or bring to full life. It is here that I learned leadership is service to all.
In time the key programs of the Knights also focused my involvement usually with some element of a young man’s enthusiasm of “why can’t we try that here!” and I found myself doing what my mentors had done in gently tugging other men to come and follow and participate and even to lead. My involvement was also building up and feeding my faith life. More and more Mary, her Rosary and Jesus in the Eucharist are key to me.
As my wife and I brought children – older children by adoption – into our family we pulled them along with us in our ever increasing Knight’s activity around the State of Iowa. Whether it was folding programs or serving mass, memories of KC times are among the strongest my children speak about with much fondness.
Through the years I’ve come to know many men who’ve inspired me (and my family) in various ways. More names than I can mention here but all remembered. These men have graciously consented to be my friends and my companions on this life journey.
Over time I’ve come to see the Knights and my involvement as essential elements of an active faith life with elements of boldness echoing my youthful “why not?” So I have recently embarked on pulling together a priestly team (even by proxy) for the SOIowa plane pull and prompting a resolution for our State Knights to do more in assisting pregnancy centers with the best ultrasounds, advice and moral support.
This past week I was given deeper insight into a familiar Gospel story about fishing, casting the nets again and pulling back so many fish. The insight: Duc in Altum – put out into the deep; Christ’s command to Peter to stop playing it safe along the shore and go out into the deeper water.
For me the Knights have been the boat in which I have haltingly put out into the deep in leading my family to follow Christ more perfectly. My hope is eternal life with God for my family, my friends and myself. My involvement with the Knights has given me ample opportunities to give back, to make a difference, to be courageous and to do for others in need with greater love.
So why am I a Knight? Because caring men asked me, mentored me and supported me. I am a Knight because I wanted to do something meaningful with my time to help others, because I want the very best for my family not now but eternally and because it’s been a joy sharing this journey with so many Brother Knights. I am a Knight because we are in this boat together as we put out into the deep trusting God has more bounty in store for us if we but trust in him and act with courage.