By Barb Arland-Fye
Several of this year’s Iowa Knights of Columbus Award recipients are from the Diocese of Davenport. Recently, The Catholic Messenger profiled Knight of the Year Jim Puck of Our Lady of the River Parish in LeClaire, chosen from among more than 31,000 Knights in Iowa. This week, we recognize Family of the Year, Michael and Sarah Buchheit of St. Mary Parish in Pella; Youth of the Year, Raychael Garringer; and Chaplain of the Year, Father Joseph Roost, both of St. Mary Parish in Williamsburg. Awards were presented in May.
Family of the Year
Mike and Sarah Buchheit nurture and educate their children — Nathan, Zach and Ciara — in the Catholic faith and share their time, talent and faith with others full-time. That’s why they were honored as Family of the Year, said Knights of Columbus State Program Director Terry Herrman.
A charter member of St. Mary’s Council 12334 in Pella, Mike has served as Grand Knight and now as trustee. He and his family have participated in the Persons with Intellectual Disabilities annual fundraiser (Tootsie Roll Drive), youth soccer, spelling bee activities and Lenten fish fries. While serving as Grand Knight, Mike helped organize a “Squires Circle” in his parish; his sons became charter members.
Mike serves on the church building committee of his parish while Sarah has served on the parish council. She also helped organize small groups of family volunteers who reach out to parish members and their needs. Each year, the family participates in the annual Tulip Time Food Stand, which raises money to support church and community projects. Mike also serves as a member of a Christian service organization, A Call to Serve of Iowa.
“In the battle of time over family life we often struggle to find examples of Catholic values and lived commitment to people and issues outside of ourselves. This family provides just such an example for the rest of us,” Hermann said.
Receiving the award was a “very humbling experience,” Sarah said. “Mike and I have said there are so many families in our parish who are even more deserving than we are.”
Mike, who works for the Pella Corp., “is always good about getting our kids involved and doing volunteer work,” she added.
Youth of the Year
While Raychael Garringer’s days seem filled with school, volunteerism and other activities, she is committed to her faith, said Grand Knight Daniel Lillis of Bishop Davis Council 2818. That’s why he nominated her for Youth of the Year.
“Along with helping during Bible School and singing in the choir, she has aided our council at pancake breakfasts and stood alongside her father (Chip) during Roses for Life and Tootsie Roll drives,” Lillis said in his nomination letter.
She has earned three Girl Scout Catholic religious medals and is endeavoring to earn a fourth. Raychael also tutors other students, volunteers for several community organizations and is a public speaker on topics such as veterans’ programs, Lillis said.
She is a sterling example of commitment to faith “at an age when many youth become less visible in the church community,” he continued.
“We are really proud of her,” said Raychael’s mother, Raygena. “It’s always nice when someone else can look at your child’s achievements and see that she’s contributing to society. She’s always been involved in helping.”
Raychael, 18, said she feels especially honored to receive the award because of the number of active youth in the Williamsburg parish.
Her dad Chip, a past Grand Knight, has been involved in the KCs for as long as she can remember, when she couldn’t even pronounce the organization’s name. She has fond memories of helping her dad at pancake breakfasts and making pancakes with interesting shapes. She’s helped with Tootsie Roll Drives and Roses for Life. She still assists as an altar server. Church is an important part of her life.
“A lot of my friends from school are there. It’s a place I can go to see my friends and worship God,” says Raychael, who will attend the University of Northern Iowa this fall.
Chaplain of the Year, Davenport Diocese
Father Joseph Roost, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Williamsburg, has been involved with the Knights of Columbus for many years. He has served as a chaplain throughout his ministry at St. Mary’s and before that as chaplain for the council at Immaculate Conception Parish in Colfax. He and others in Colfax restarted a KC council there.
In Williamsburg, “Father is very generous in letting the Knights use the hall for fundraising events. Without that hall, we wouldn’t be able to do as much for charity,” says Bill McNulty, a district deputy for the KCs. Fr. Roost assists the KCs in many other ways, too, including with the Marian Hour of Prayer and a recruitment effort to bring new members into the council. His ability to help parishioners understand the Gospel message in contemporary life also is greatly appreciated, McNulty said.
“I’m appreciative of the honor,” Fr. Roost said He praised the Williamsburg council for the good work it does. “They have a great Right to Life crew here. They have multiple projects that are Gospel-oriented and social projects that are good for the community.”