The Tennessee Knights of Columbus honored individual Knights, families and councils for their contributions in the last year to the Church, their parishes and communities during the annual state convention held April 27-29 at Franklin Marriott Cool Springs.
Three of the top awards presented were: Tennessee Knight of the Year William Boland of St. Francis of Assisi Council 16088 in Fairfield Glade; Tennessee Family of the Year Gary and Juanita Buda of St. Alphonsus Council 10641 in Covington; and Lifetime Achievement Award to Alberto C. Go of St. Stephen Council 9282 in Hermitage.
Boland was honored for his many activities in the council, parish and community. With the council he built two four-feet-by-eight-feet display boards to showcase the council’s awards and honors, constructed easels to support Holy Family Icons while on display at St. Francis of Assisi, worked two shifts at Council 8152’s annual Oktoberfest, serves monthly at the Bread of Life food pantry ministry, worked four shifts on the council’s annual Tootsie Roll Drive, helped five brother Knights with home improvement projects; volunteers with Special Olympics and helps with the annual Christmas party for Hilltoppers clients.
Boland is active in Habitat for Humanity, the Crab Orchard Food Pantry, and initiated a drive at his parish to collect warm clothing and blankets for the needy. He also uses his woodworking and carpentry skills to do projects at his parish.
Gary and Juanita Buda, the Family of the Year, are both retired from the U.S. Navy, Gary as a lieutenant commander in Naval Intelligence and Juanita as a captain in the Navy Nurses Corps. They have three grown sons.
Gary is a Past Grand Knight of his council and a Past Faithful Navigator of his Fourth Degree assembly. Gary and Juanita both serve as lectors and Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Eucharist at St. Alphonsus in Covington. In addition to these duties, Gary heads the parish’s lawn maintenance program, ensuring someone is always scheduled to mow the lawn, and supervises the maintenance and upkeep of all lawn equipment.
Juanita, in addition to being the Chief Nurse of Operations for the Veterans Administration Hospital in Memphis, is a master seamstress who made several seasonal liturgical banners and other cloths essential to celebrating Mass. She also made several complete sets of vestments for the priests and donated a set to be auctioned at the Diocese of Memphis’ annual Seminarians’ Dinner that raised $2,000 for the Seminarian Fund. She routinely mends clothing and vestments for their parish priest and other priests in the diocese, including a set of vestments for Memphis Bishop Martin Holley.
The Budas both assist with the religious education program at St. Alphonsus, with Juanita teaching Confirmation classes.
Gary Buda coordinates operations at the concession stands for the Brighton, Tennessee, Special Olympics, and cooks each month for the council’s business meetings, and oversees the council’s Lenten and other dinners.
Alberto Go, the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, is a Fourth Degree Knight who has been in the Knights of Columbus for 32 years.
He is a charter member of Council 9282 at St. Stephen Catholic Community in Hermitage, and has served as Grand Knight, Fourth Degree Faithful Navigator, and a District Deputy. He has served the State Council as the Membership Director, Retention Director, Council Consultant, and Family Consultant. His family has been a recipient of the State Family of the Year.
Go, a native of the Phillippines, is a graduate of Mapua Institute of Technology in Manila, with a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He spent 32 years in the aerospace industry before retiring in 2002. He has spent the last 17 years of his retirement working in a variety of positions at Lowe’s, presently working as a parttime customer service associate.
Go has also had a number of other civic and educational affiliations and positions, mostly leadership, including Nashville Red Cross, National Conference of Christians and Jews, Philippine American Association of Middle Tennessee, Father Ryan High School Marching Band Boosters, Nashville Board of Education, and is a former Junior Achievement Advisor.
Go is a Cursillisto and he serves his parish as a Minister of Hospitality and an Extraordinary Minister of the Holy Eucharist. He currently serves on the St. Joseph Parish Council. He has been very involved in a number of parish committees including being a member of the newcomer committee, the bereavement committee, group leader of the Filipino American Families Prayer Group, coordinator of the International Ministry at both St. Stephen and St. Joseph parishes.
Several councils also were honored with program awards. The Church Activity of the Year award was presented to Holy Ghost Council 16523 in Knoxville for its efforts in support of the Silver Rose pilgrimage sponsored by the Knights of Columbus each year. Each year, a Silver Rose is handed from council to council as it makes its way across North America to Mexico City to bring attention to Our Lady of Guadalupe and her appearance to St. Juan Diego.
While in Knoxville, Council 16523 arranged for the Silver Rose to spend a day with the Handmaids of the Precious Blood Sisters, a community of cloistered nuns in the Diocese of Knoxville who perpetually pray in adoration for the protection and sanctification of priests across the world.
After the visit to the Handmaids, the Silver Rose was carried to Holy Ghost Church in Knoxville for a special Mass and Rosary, attended by 300 people.
The Community Activity of the Year Award was presented to the Timothy J. Coyle Council 9317 at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Memphis who participated in the National Day of Service with Catholic Relief Services, Helping Hands, and the parishioners of St. Francis in preparing more than 20,000 meals for the impoverished people of Burkina Faso in West Africa.
The Council Activity of the Year Award was presented to Council 15196 at Church of the Holy Spirit in Memphis which developed a professional mentoring program young Knights, including resume development and networking. Council 15196 is hoping to spread the program to other councils.
The Culture of Life Activity Award was presented to Council 9282 at St. Stephen Catholic Community in Hermitage for participating in the “Stand for Life” event at the church in commemoration of the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade court decision that legalized abortion.
More than 20 Knights were among the more than 50 parishioners who stood along the road in front of the church holding pro-Life signs and waving at passers-by.
The Family Activity of the Year Award was presented to Council 12012 at St. Henry and St. Matthew parishes in Nashville for its “Sweethearts” program.
The program pairs Knights with widows of deceased Knights to visit them, invite them to functions, help with yard work or household repairs, run errands and let them know they are being thought of by the council.
The Vocations Activity of the Year Award was presented to Holy Family Council 6099 in Chattanooga, for its support and encouragement for Catholic college students at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, including two who have applied to become seminarians.
The Youth Activity Award was presented to Council 7447 at St. Catherine Church in Columbia for its efforts to coordinate with the Maury County Fair Board, fair vendors, the Maury County School System, and the King Daughters School to provide a free day at the Maury County Fair for children with special needs.
More than 600 children from Maury and surrounding counties attended the fair for the event. The council provided meals for the children, recruited some chaperones and staff, and donated more than 1,000 bottles of water to hydrate the children.
The top award councils can receive from the Tennessee State Council in recognition of providing a full program of activities is the Bishops’ Award, given in honor of the state’s three bishops, Martin Holley of Memphis, J. Mark Spalding of Nashville and Richard Stika of Knoxville.
Councils receiving the Bishops’ Award were: Council 4563 at St. Rose of Lima Church in Murfreesboro; Holy Family Council 6099 in Chattanooga; Council 7447 at St. Catherine Church in Columbia; Council 7449 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Germantown; Council 8576 at St. Jude Church in Chattanooga; Council 9132 at Our Lady of the Lake Church in Hendersonville; and Council 16088 at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Fairfield Glade.