By Dan Russo
DUBUQUE — Laity and clergy that embody the Knights of Columbus’ founding principals of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism received awards during two banquets at the organization’s 2017 Iowa State Convention in Dubuque.
On April 7-8 in the Grand River Center the honorees were recognized in front of a crowd of over 500, including Archbishop Michael Jackels of Dubuque and the current leader of Iowa’s approximately 32,000 Knights, State Deputy Jon C. Aldrich.
Several of the award winners hailed from the Archdiocese of Dubuque such as Travis King, Iowa Knight of the Year for 2016-17.
“It’s a very humbling experience,” said King, a member of St. Columbkille Parish in Dubuque. “I couldn’t have done it without my wife and brother Knights of Columbus.”
King is a member of the Knights Council 15813, which is affiliated with his parish. A husband and father, King has been involved in the Catholic fraternal service organization for many years. Recently, he played a key role in a project organized by the Knights to refurbish a prayer garden at his parish school. He is routinely involved in many of his council’s charitable efforts, which often include working at breakfasts held to raise money for various causes and providing assistance at liturgies each week. King was quick to acknowledge those whose support allows him to dedicate so much of himself to his parish and community.
“Where there’s service, there’s sacrifice from somebody else,” he said. Deacon Bill Biver, also a member of Council 15813, was named Iowa Deacon of the Year.
“It came as a total surprise for me,” said the deacon, who serves both St. Columbkille and St. Joseph the Worker Parishes in Dubuque. “It’s an honor to receive it.”
Ordained in 1986, Deacon Biver is dedicated to both his duties in parish life and to his ministry with the Jail and Prison Ministry of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Dubuque.
Deacon Biver attended the banquet April 7 with his wife, Susan. Reflecting on his award, he alluded to a letter of St. Paul: “For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work.” (Philippians 2:13)
Father Gabriel Anderson, pastor of St. Columbkille and St. Joseph the Worker Parishes, was honored as Chaplain of the Year for the Archdiocese of Dubuque for his work with Council 15813.
That council also received recognition as the fastest growing branch of the Knights in Iowa.
Several other clergy and lay Catholics from around Iowa were honored at the convention:
• 2017 Diocesan Chaplain of the Year – Davenport: Father Ross Epping, Bettendorf
• 2017 Diocesan Chaplain of the Year – Des Moines: Father Andrew Windschitl
• 2017 Diocesan Chaplain of the Year – Sioux City: Father Terry Roder, Alton
• 2017 Deacon of the Year: Deacon Bill Biver, Dubuque
• 2017 Youth of the Year: Maggie Steinkamp, Wall Lake
• 2017 Youth of the Year: Bethany Jacoby, Grinnell
• 2017 Family of the Year: Ben and Amy Schafer, Cedar Falls
• 2017 Grand Knight of the Year: Joe Lickteig, Pella
PHOTO: (l to r) Archbishop Michael Jackels poses with Knights of Columbus, including Mark Hoeger, 2014-15 State Knight of the Year; Al Schroeder, grand knight of Council 15813 and recipient of a 2016-17 award for largest percent increase in membership; Mike DeMoully, Outstanding District Deputy Award and now Third Degree representative elect, part of 14-member State Executive Committee, which will start its term in July; Travis King, 2016-17 State Knight of the Year; Deacon Bill Biver, 2016-17 State Deacon of the Year; Steve Hesprich, State Knight of the Year 2013-14 and current Third Degree representative. (Photo contributed by Steve Hesprich)