Knights of Columbus Bishop Fenwick Assembly 100, which includes many members of Knights of Columbus Council 14360, hosted its Inaugural Patriot Dinner on Armed Forces Day, May 20, 2017. The fundraiser dinner, which benefited Homes for the Brave in Bridgeport, took place at the Knights Hall (next to St. Ann Club), at 16 Hendricks Ave in Norwalk.
Since opening its doors in 2002, ABRI/Homes for the Brave has provided housing, vocational training and job placement, mental health and addiction services, and life skills coaching to help individuals, especially Veterans, leave homelessness behind. To date, the organization has worked with more than 900 individuals.
It was the goal of Assembly 100 Faithful Navigator George Ribellino to conduct a fundraiser once a year for a specific Veterans Organization. “One of my goals when I took over as the Faithful Navigator of the Assembly in September of 2016 was to assist an organization that works for and helps our veterans, said Ribellino. Assembly Member Al Latte was in charge of the catering part of the dinner. Ribellino went on the say “I am so appreciative of Brother Al for leading the Sir Knights in the kitchen in preparing a fabulous meal. I am thankful for him and the Brother Knights who helped set up, prepare, serve and clean up.”
The Patriot Dinner was something that Ribellino and Past Faithful Navigator Ed McGettigan, Jr spoke about doing last year. McGettigan passed away suddenly last July and Ribellino wanted to make this idea become a reality in his honor. “I really have to thank Brothers Dave McCarthy and Al Latte for helping make this dream become a reality. Once the plans came together the other Brother Knights were excited to help and everything wound up coming to together” Ribellino said.
Every year the Patriot Dinner will benefit a local veteran’s organization. For the Inaugural Patriot Dinner, Homes for the Brave was chosen. The special guest speaker was veteran and former Homes for the Brave resident Eugene Chesney. Chesney spoke about how Homes for the Brave helped make a difference in his life and get him back on track. Chesney went on to say, “The most amazing part of last night for me was my conversation with the older K of C veteran gentleman that sat alongside with his wife to the left of me. When we both shared how difficult it was when our units returned from a deployment that due to no choice of our own, we could not take part in. “An instant bond was formed” and at that moment I knew I could get it up there and speak from the heart. It showed me that the pride of the American Vet is not separated by generations but bridges the gap of age and previous experience. I knew i had just met more of my extended family. Thank you for the opportunity to heal even more so. “
The dinner was a sell out with 105 guests, including American Legion members from Norwalk and Wilton, and raised $1200 for Homes for the Brave. A check was presented to Homes for the Brave CEO Vince Santilli and Eugene Chesney. “We were tremendously honored to receive the proceeds of Bishop Fenwick Assembly’s inaugural Patriot Day Dinner and are so blessed to be regularly supported by this terrific group of Brother Knights of Columbus. We also could not have been prouder of the amazing presentation made by Homes for the Brave House Monitor Eugene Chesney,” said Santilli.
Knights of Columbus Bishop Fenwick Assembly 100 4th Degree Knights of Columbus, is based in Norwalk, CT since 1914. The Fourth Degree is the outgrowth and culmination of the desire of the Members to manifest their love for country and pride in their Catholic American heritage. In 1882, the Reverend Michael J. McGivney had founded the Knights of Columbus to provide mutual aid and assistance to its members and their families. At that time the Order had only three Degrees exemplifying the principles of Charity, Unity and Fraternity. In compliance with the wishes of the body as a whole, the national board of directors met in August 1899 and approved the addition of a Fourth Degree to the work of the Knights of Columbus. The new ritual was adopted on the 9th of December and went into effect in 1900 with its primary purpose to foster the spirit of patriotism through the demonstration of one’s love for its country and by responsible citizenship. It is the highest Degree in the Knights of Columbus, giving a greater knowledge and appreciation for our Catholic heritage. For more information, go to Assembly100.org.