IL State Council Knight of the Year 2020-2021

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Congratulations Wally Niemczyk – IL State Council Knight of the Year

At the 123rd Illinois State Council Knights of Columbus Convention, one Knight was chosen from the 462 councils and 72,000 Knights in the state, as the Illinois State Council Knight of the Year.

“This Knight is truly an example of how we put our faith into action no matter what challenges we face. This past year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, while taking care of his wife with cancer at home, he was able to remain active serving parish, council, and community and leading others to be better Knights of Columbus.

For his council, he has been instrumental in the “Leave No Neighbor Behind” activities. Since the council was not meeting face to face, he personally reached out to all the council members on a regular basis throughout the pandemic. He administered the Vocation Raffle program, arranged for pickup of charitable collections and council dues.

One of his fund-raising ideas was to create advertising placemat featuring local businesses which were used at various church functions. He started it in 2016 and continued in 2020 even in the midst of a pandemic. The program raised over fifteen thousand dollars for various council charities and for the parish.

For his parish he also helped parishioners on a regular basis to check in to provide information. Last year when parishes were closed, he personally delivered palms to over 40 parishioners who were not able to attend church. He most recently sold the remaining wooden crosses the council had made to raise funds for digital signs to be installed in the narthex.

For his community, he has forged relationships with local business owners and found ways to partner on various council projects. He personally delivered $400 worth of food to the Hanover Township Food Pantry from Sam’s Club and Costco. Most notably this year were his efforts to support homeless veterans. He collected money, gift cards and needed personal items on several weekends and delivered two truckloads of merchandise to the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans along with money and gift cards totaling more than five thousand dollars.

All of this done by a Knight in his 70’s, who could have excused himself from all public activities because of his own COVID risk. Because this Knight is so humble, he would not want to accept this recognition, saying rather that the council deserves this credit. But the council will tell you different. This Knight truly exemplifies what it means to follow the mission of Blessed Father Michael J. McGivney and is a shining example of what it means to be a Knight of Columbus. It is my privilege to congratulate Wally Niemczyk from Mary’s Millennium Council #12801 as the Illinois State Council Knight of the Year for 2020-2021.”

Click (here) for Video recording of the Presentation at the State Convention