Council History from 1955 to 2022
THE HISTORY OF ABBOT PENNINGS COUNCIL 3955
KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS
Abbot Pennings Council started with a planning meeting held on April 11, 1954 lead by Louis De Broux and Mark Rehrauer. A committee of the following men was set up to establish a new council and recruit the necessary number of men to get a council started. They were Arthur Gnewick, Robert Franken, Alfred Vanden Heuvel, John Kehoe, Vic De Cleene, Adolph Janssen, Maurice De Broux, Jim De Broux, Mark Rehrauer, Lawrence Willems, James Franken, Louis De Broux, Patrick Ariens and Ernest Kolb.
The next nine months were not easy. However, after a lot of organizational work, recruitment effort and planning, on January 23, 1955 the First Exemplification of the Council was put on by Council 617 from Green Bay and Council 3955 came into existence. Members from the Seymour, Green Bay, Marinette and the Manitowoc were in attendance to show moral support and good wishes.
The first officers were:
Grand Knight Louis De Broux Deputy Grand Knight Adolph Janssen Chancellor Robert Lee
Recorder James Cuene Treasurer Harold Frisque Trustee Don Butz
Advocate A Vanden Heuvel Lecture Maurice De Broux Trustee Jim Dillon
Warden Vic De Cleene Guard Ernest Kolb Trustee Herb Cuene
Fin. Sec. Mark Rehrauer Guard Wally Stengal
Chaplain Fr. Tom Wagner
The new officers were installed on February 7, 1955 by the Manitowoc Degree Team while initiating 12 new members.
Over the next several months bi-monthly meetings were held at the VFW Hall. The dues structure was set, corporate communions planned, and a retreat program set up. In April 1955, Fr. Tom Peters became the Chaplain of the Council. Encouraged by GK Louis De Broux membership grew to over 120 during the next two years. A charter celebration banquet was held on May 22, 1955 at St. Mary’s Parish Hall. In October 1955 Abbot Killeen gave his permission to name our Council after Abbot Bernard Pennings. That same October our Council held its first Columbus Day celebration. On November 7, 1955 a resolution was passed to name our council Abbot Pennings Council. However, it was not until May 7, 1956 that the Supreme Council gave notice that the name change was made official.
In the ensuing five years under the guidance of Grand Knights Adolph Janssen, Vic De Cleene, Stan Rupiper, Jim De Broux and Harry Macco the Council continued to grow and develop an excellent fraternal program consisting of movie nights, retreat weekends, Landing Day banquets, Christmas parties hard times parties, and card parties for members and their families. There were ladies nights, clergy nights, pre-Lenten parties, sports nights, costume balls, dances, family picnics, father and son nights at the GB Blue Jay baseball games, and Christmas parties all published in a six month calendar of events sent to each member. On a more serious note Council members realized that Knights of Columbus should be extending Catholic moral and social values into the community and did so by sponsoring the radio family rosary, “Know the Truth” TV program locally, put pamphlets about the Ten Commandments in the Catholic Schools, and held essay contests on moral and social issues of the day in the local Catholic Schools. They gave annual Christmas gifts to the Sisters teaching in the Catholic Schools in De Pere, sponsored a Boy Scout Troop and honored the outstanding Mass servers in De Pere area Catholic Parishes with Bibles. In 1956 a blood donation program was put in motion as well as a committee to visit sick members. A “Forget-Me –Not” program was set up to send cards to members of the Armed Services. In 1958 our Council won its first Star Council award. Our current monthly bulletin, “Knight Lites”, was written by Gary Pollatz in January 1959 and has been published each month since then. Our Council was taking in many new members thru the use of creative recruitment measures like fishing trips, big buck contests, Braves trips, and sports teams. A very successful blood donors program was instituted in 1959 by Charter GK Louis De Broux. Fr. Raymond Heitpas was our Chaplain at the time and gave many stirring talks on the moral issues of the day.
In 1960 the council began formulating a Teen-Age Code of Ethics Program which came to fruition in 1961 and 1962 and gained wide acclaim throughout Northeastern Wisconsin. Students from the two area Catholic High Schools, Abbot Pennings and St. Joseph’s Academy, along with KC members, parents and others got together and developed a code of behavior that would set standards for teens to live by. It was presented to the Bishop of the Green Bay Diocese and he approved it. Cards with the code on them were printed and distributed to school children throughout the Diocese of Green Bay and beyond. The neat thing about this program is that it was enthusiastically defended and practiced by many teenagers and their peers Fish fries, costume balls, a rifle team that competed at St. Norbert College and many other events highlighted the beginning of a new decade for our Council. Also, of importance, the creation of a First Degree Team by the GK, Pete Renkens. Starting in October 1960 our Council began holding its meetings at St. Boniface School. As in the late 50’s, the Council continued its youth programs of supporting the scouts, honoring the Mass servers, helping with scholarships to Abbot Pennings High and donating Christmas gifts to the Sisters teaching in the Catholic Schools in De Pere. The retreats continued with good participation as did the corporate communions and Cy Bushmaker saw to it that our council participated in the annual State Bowling Tournament every year. A big event was the Second and Third Degree sponsored by our Council December 11, 1960 in St. Boniface Gym. Another important event in 1960 was the implementation of the Packer Ticket Raffle Program to help fund the Council Charity fund. Throughout 1961 and 1962 with Jim Baeten and Jim Manders as GK’s our Council grew to over 200 members as respect for the KC’s grew in the community due to the success and results of our programs to help the youth and needy in the area. The reins of Financial Secretary were turned over to Arnie Vanden Langenberg in 1961 and the first District Deputy from our Council, Vic De Cleene, was appointed that same year. Fr. Donald Burkhart became our Chaplain in 1961.
Since 1957 our Council was interested in keeping Sundays holy and in 1962 we spearheaded a movement to stop all shopping in De Pere on Sundays to keep Sunday a day of rest in the Lord. Over 20,000 flyers concerning this were distributed in De Pere and stores were picketed. This was in keeping with the general tone of what our Council was doing at that time. We were making the community aware of Catholic ethics with our annual essay contest in Catholic schools, providing scholarships for Catholic education in the area, continuing to support the “Know The Truth” broadcasts, and started putting up a “Keep Christ In Christmas” billboard in De Pere. It was at this time that fundraisers, such as the Packer ticket raffle and selling programs at Bishops Charity Game, started to fund our charities. These efforts proved to be very successful. In July 1963 our Council began holding its meetings in the Legion Hall on Michigan St, in E. De Pere. We received our second Star Council Award in 1963. In July 1964 Fr. Gerold Kempen became our fifth chaplain and proved to be a wonderful spiritual leader along with giving many practical ideas to improve our Council’s operation.
During the tenures of Grand Knights Gordon George, Vince Mc Cabe, Mark Rehrauer, all these beneficial programs continued with the addition of a Children’s Christmas Party and food baskets given to the poor at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Participation in retreats, Corporate Communions, Columbus Landing Day celebrations, steak fries at the fairgrounds and like events remained strong with special interest in day trips to Door County and other areas of interest. Participation in the State Bowling Tourney was on the rise. The Council was also becoming more active in the community through its youth programs. Helping at the Abbot Pennings Basketball Tourneys, selling ads in the tournament programs, the continued success of the essay contest, the Mass server awards and support of students wishing to go to Abbot Pennings High were indicative of this. In fact the “Teen Age Code Of Ethics” Program was still very much alive and influencing kids for the better. After much deliberation, planning and effort, a Council Directory was printed in August 1964 sponsored by local advertisers and the proceeds used to fund the Neuman Center and other charities. In May 1966 our Council began holding its meeting at the Congregational Church building on Reid St. in W. De Pere.
Grand Knight, Tom Basche, suggested the Council directory be used to call members for saying the rosary at wakes—thus our first calling tree. During this time several locations to hold our meetings were scouted and bid on as this situation continued to concern our members. In February 1967 we made our first step into the arena of holding a public event for profit---a bowling tournament that netted a profit of $52.80. In May 1967 we began visiting the Tomah VA Hospital one day each year to wheel veterans to Mass on a Sunday morning. This program continued for 25 years. Throughout the mid-to-late sixties Grand Knights, Tom Basche & Bill Vande Hei, oversaw Council members continue their efforts to encourage fraternalism with mixed couples bowling tourneys, Landing Day Banquets, steak fries at the Fairgrounds, fish fries for profit, and family events such as the Memorial Mass spaghetti dinners. Community involvement was on the increase with teenage dances sponsored by the Council, continued support of the Neuman Center Project, and involvement in the Silver Knight Award from its inception in June 1967. The previous programs to help the needy at Thanksgiving and Christmas, rewarding Mass servers, provide scholarships to local students were further evidence that our Council was coming into its own. In July 1967 Mark Rehrauer became the second member of our Council to become a District Deputy. The Packer ticket raffle was becoming a very successful fund raiser and a new project emerged in December 1968—the first Christmas tree sale run by Ray Jaeger and Glen Virtues. They made $375.
During the fall of 1968 and spring of 1969 Abbot Pennings Council along with the De Pere VFW bought land and constructed a club house at 600 N. 10th Street in De Pere. Jim Baeten, Dick Baeten, Bill Vande Hei, Clyde Romenesko, Louis De Broux and Jerry Fritsch made up the KC Building Committee. The De Pere Columbian Inc. came into existence as the holding entity of our share of the combined ownership of the property and building. A House Committee was set up to run the operations of the clubrooms. As the building project was in progress the Council, led by Hollis Vieau and Charlie Laehn, spent many hours working on the project and still had time for putting on a Circus, starting a wake service program, helping at the Abbot Pennings School Picnic, having a hay ride for members and their wives and participating in the KC State Traveling rosary devotion. The grand opening of the new clubhouse was October 25, 1969 and our first celebration there was a New Year’s Eve party with over 150 in attendance. As the Council progressed into a new decade, many of the programs beneficial to the youth and the needy in the community continued and the ways to fund them were found in the newly established Christmas tree sale, the advent of the KC Softball Tournaments which were started by Dick Baeten and fish fries open to the public at our Clubhouse. In 1970 Fr. John Schmidt became our Chaplain. In September 1971 Ignatius Gorenc became our Financial Secretary.
In the early 1970’s under the leadership of Jerry Fritsch, Jim Hoffman, Dick Baeten and Glen Virtues the new clubhouse arrangement with the VFW flourished with events by both organizations and commercial events to pay for the upkeep of the building. These events included fish fries, spelling bees, booyahs, bingo games for members and wives, Corporate Communions and the now famous Landing Day Banquets, Tom & Jerry Parties and New Years Eve bashes for the members. Funeral dinners, bridal showers, weddings and parties for the public supervised by the House Committee proved to be good sources of income to support our new Clubhouse. We were still involved with the youth of De Pere through our annual donations to the Abbot Pennings High Scholarship Fund, donating book covers to local Catholic grade schools, establishing the first annual youth bowling tourney at Century Lanes in April 1972, supporting a chaplain at the scout camp, starting an annual Knowledge Contest in 1971 and donating to the Christ Child Society. Our involvement in the community increased as our reputation for helping others gathered momentum and our membership was now 245. We now held an annual softball tourney, Christmas tree sale, a very successful Packer ticket raffle which all generated the necessary funds to support these programs. Also included were donations to the needy at Christmas, the Sacred Heart Center, and a family in dire need. In 1972 Fr. Roger Vanden Busch became our Chaplain and over the next 4 years proved to be an invaluable spiritual leader of our Council. We started the annual sponsorship of the Minor Baseball League in the spring of 1973. In February 1973, just after the Roe v. Wade decision, our council sponsored a Pro-life event at St. Norbert College that attracted over 900 people in support of life. In the summer of 1973 we started the annual Booyah cooking for St. Joseph’s Parish Picnic. In April 1974, under the leadership of GK Lee Van Dyck, our first Las Vegas Nite was held to raise funds for our charity fund. That same spring we held our first “Tootsie Roll” Promotion for the mentally challenged which raised $281.34. As earlier in the decade, our Council was still having well attended Corporate Communions, Pro-Life meetings, membership open houses, and in August 1974 we started a bingo program at the clubhouse. This Bingo Program would prove to be the backbone of our charity donations for the next 20 years. A trap shooting team was organized and our own softball team was started in 1973 by Dick Baeten. We also were using a billboard in downtown De Pere for our “Keep Christ in Christmas” Program, a pro-life message and another urging Catholics to pray the rosary. In 1973 Bill Vande Hei became our District Deputy. It was during this period and throughout the remainder of the 70’s that our council provided thousands of school book covers to the children attending the Catholic schools in the area.
From 1975 through 1978 GK’s Clyde Romenesko, Dick Piontek, Norm Goral, and Larry Fleming had our Council really “humming along”. We were involved in presenting first degrees and advanced degrees of the order on a regular basis. Well attended days of recollection, Corporate Communions, Lenten services, and Memorial Masses were held to benefit the spiritual side of our members. During this four year period our charitable giving increased substantially due to the use of moneys from a very successful bingo operation and money raised by our softball tourneys, Las Vegas Nights, the “Tootsie Roll” Program now run by Len and Gen Cieslwicz, and the Christmas tree sale. In the fall of 1975 we constructed a baseball diamond for the De Pere Minor Baseball League we now operated for the Rec. Dept. including dugouts, backstop and a concession facility on Westwood St. in W. De Pere. The first recorded yearly total given to charity was $3175 during the 1976—77 fraternal year. In 1976 we had a float in the De Pere Bi-Centennial Parade and the parade at the State Convention in Oshkosh. We won our second Star Council Award and Clyde Romenesko became our fourth Financial Secretary. Donations to the local Catholic Schools now exceeded $2500 annually and were given out at an Awards Dinner in May of each year. Booyahs were now being cooked for the elderly at Nicolet Terrace Apts. and for St. Joseph’s Parish Picnic. Mentally challenged kids were sent to summer camps, we ran the Minor Baseball League for the De Pere Park Dept. plus a girl’s softball league, held annual Christmas Poster Contests, and January 1977 brought the advent of the annual Free Throw contest. The annual Kids Las Vegas Nite was becoming a real hit with families in the Council. The now monthly parties for the mentally challenged were well attended and much appreciated. In the mid ’70’s our annual Bowling Bashes at the State KC Tournament became one of the highlights of each year along with the New Year’s Party and the Las Vegas Nites and the always popular Tom & Jerry Parties. In May of 1977 we were awarded the 1979 State Convention to be held in De Pere. In July 1977 Fr. Peter Renard became the co-chaplain of our Council and Glen Virtues became our District Deputy. It was during the later part of the decade that our Council really became involved with the Pro-Life movement by video presentations, having a bill board depicting an anti-abortion message up almost all year, writing campaigns, and a memorial Mass for the unborn. The fraternal & social functions of the Council were varied and of great interest to the membership as they had in past years. Wine and cheese tasting events, visits to the Packer Hall of Fame, dinner meetings with wives, appreciation dinners, speakers at our social meetings giving talks on current issues of the day, banquets for the Minor League directors, managers and coaches and most importantly the much improved Landing Day, News Year’s Eve and ever expanding Las Vegas Nite celebrations and social gatherings at the clubhouse for the various holidays of the year. For a few years we even sponsored a Council volleyball team. It was during the late 70’s that we began donating over $4000 in scholarship funds to area Catholic Grade Schools and to Abbot Pennings and St. Joseph’s Academy. And finally, during the mid and late ‘70s Len and Gen Cielewicz developed a terrific monthly program to educate and entertain the mentally challenged people in the De Pere which included dinners, dances, bowling and swimming parties and the like. In the spring of 1978 we cooked a booyah for the Abbot Pennings High School Picnic and did so for the next 11 years until the school closed in 1990 making a profit for the school of over $1500 each year. In October 1978 the first Past Grand Knight banquet was held in honor of the Council’s 25th anniversary. In July 1976 Clyde Romenesko became our Financial Secretary. We won two more Star Council Awards in 1977 and 1978.
In December 1978 Larry Fleming resigned as GK due to a job change and Terry Suttner took his place and remained GK thru July 1980. That March the KC’s erected the logo signs of all the fraternal organizations in De Pere. Our charitable giving was ever increasing as more funds became available from bingo operations, softball tourneys, trees sales, Las Vegas Nites, and other endeavors. Our Pro-life efforts were increased in scope and funding by sponsoring information sessions, prayer hours and putting up local bill boards. However, the most important undertaking in our Council’s 25 year history happened in the spring of 1979. We, under the leadership of Terry Suttner, Tom Basche and Bill Vande Hei, hosted the 1979 State KC Convention at St. Norbert College in May of 1979. It was a lot of hard work selling ads for the booklet, arranging the luncheons, banquets, and organizing all the details during the months before but was it worth it as it went off flawlessly much to the surprise of the State Officers and to our satisfaction. Because of our increased capacity to raise charity dollars more donations were given to local charities such as our own De Pere Mentally Handicapped Program, Cerebral Palsy, over $5000 to local Catholic schools, WCCL, and $1000 to a Teen Program for the “Special People” and many others. It was in 1979 that we were the prime movers in building the concession stand at VFW Park under the leadership of Earl Vanden Langenberg. As the decade ended our spiritual well-being was taken care of by Fr. Vanden Busch by days of recollection, prayer meetings and Lenten services. We also were now making donation to fund the CCD Program at St. Mary’s Parish run by Diane Gossen and won fifth Star council award in 1979.
During the early years of the 80’s Earl Vanden Langenberg, Larry Goeben, John Mueller, kept a steady hand on the Council “tiller.” Our membership was now 320 and climbing. We continued to cook booyahs for the St. Joseph’s Parish picnic, Abbot Pennings High School picnic, the city Memorial Day Picnic, St. Mary’s Parish and the oldest annual booyah for the Nicolet Terrace Apt for the elderly. We ran two or three softball tournaments a year, sponsored youth teams, saw the “Tootsie Roll” program take in over $1500 each year, and the Las Vegas Nites become more fun and lucrative. The Packer Ticket raffle was still going strong making a few hundred each year and our bingo operation was really producing a profit each year. However the most significant thing happened in September 1981 when we voted to increase the size and scope of our clubhouse. Renovations began in May 1982 and concluded with a grand opening and formal dedication on August 2, 1982 to which all members were invited. The manager of the club was Arnie Beimborn. The early ‘80’s were also a witness to the continuation of the religious and fraternal aspect of the Knights of Columbus days of reflection, Corporate Communions, retreats at St. Norbert Abbey, memorial services at our social meetings and the yearly Memorial Mass honoring our deceased members. We also witnessed increased attendance at our business and social meetings each month. The Las Vegas Nites were the best ever, with increased interest in the Tom & Jerry Parties, the booyahs, Landing Day Banquets, and a spanferkel/membership night that drew over 130 people in September 1982. Sleigh and hay rides were in. Our Awards to donate over $5000 to local Catholic schools were still well attended and were incorporated into the Landing Day Banquet in the mid 80’s. Dick Baeten had a blood donor program up and running again and our visits to the Veterans Home in Tomah were still taking place under the guidance of Fran Mulrooney. Bowling Chairman, Jim Hoffman, had ten or more teams going to the KC State Bowling Tourney and the Council softball team, formed in the mid 70’s, was active playing in the KC League. We also had been sending teams to several local KC bowling tourneys since the early to mid 70’s. During this time our many youth programs, Christmas Poster, Knowledge, and Free Throw, Kids Las Vegas and Sleigh Ride Party were in the capable hands of first, Dave Catalano, and then Bill Van Camp, Dan Minten and Dave Hendricks. This was the time sports nights returned and trips to the Arlington Race Track began. In the spring of 1983 a new First Degree team was formed using the new degree format instituted by the Supreme Council in 1981. In July 1981 Bill Vande Hei became our Financial Secretary and Fr. Roger Vanden Busch again became our Chaplain. In 1981 and 1983 we won our sixth and seventh Star Council Awards.
It was during the terms of Dave Catalano, Dick Tate, Jerry Whitbeck and John Wilmet that our charitable donations increased due to a very good bingo program, successful softball tourneys, very well attended advanced degree ceremonies, the Packer raffle was still making money, and the Christmas Tree Sale was coming into its own making over $3000 in profits each year. We even had a couple’s softball tourney in 1983 run by our “in house softball tourney guru”, Terry Suttner. Hawaiian Nights, Harvest Festivals, hayrides, and pancake/porky breakfasts were added to our fraternal functions. Our Mentally Challenged program run by Gen Cielewicz had become a terrific asset to the community and we were now collecting almost $2000 a year with our “Tootsie Roll” promotion. Visiting the sick and elderly in nursing homes now became part of our programming. We had our first Halloween Party for kids—a program that ran each year until 1997. Our Pro-life programs remained numerous and attention getting. Horse race trips to Arlington were made and we held our first Golf Tournament in July 1985. We were cooking more booyahs than ever before for various organizations and events and our many youth programs were attracting more participants each year under the guidance of Ed Castelic and John Janz. However, 1985 was important for many reasons. Our clubhouse had run into financial difficulties due to bad management and there were many concerns and meetings of the membership discussing this situation. Council members donated $20,000 to alleviate the most pressing part of our debt. The VFW made a like donation. An interim manager was hired in 1985 and a permanent one in early 1987 to get things on the right track again. In the fall of 1985, under the guidance of Joe Thomson, we started having liver fries every other month September thru May to help keep the business in the black. We held many other promotions and even raffles run by John Wilmet to support the KC/VFW Club. The other important development that year is that it marked our Council’s further extension in to helping those in need. In October 1985 we held a city-wide benefit drive for Brother Marv Daanen who needed a heart transplant. We raised $6600 with this effort. It was through this effort that De Pere finally came to know what the KC’s were all about. That same year our Halloween Party for children of the community was greatly expanded and a child I-dent program introduced as part of the program. This event received much attention in the Green Bay and De Pere communities. It was reported on by WFRV-TV and the De Pere Journal. On December 1, 1985 Council member’s wives put on our first and very successful Craft Sale. 1986 was a successful year with improved results in our fundraising, especially the raffle to support our clubhouse. More craft sales were held and our program for the mentally challenged run by Len and Gen Cielewicz received a Knights of Columbus Supreme Award for its effectiveness and merit to the community. Tom Kerrigan became our Financial Secretary and Fr. Peter Renard became our Chaplain in 1984. In 1986 Fr. Francis McHugh became our Chaplain and the old Irishman regaled us with many stories, jokes and good spiritual advice until 1996. In 1984 John Mueller became our District Deputy and in 1986 Ralph Blumer became our Financial Secretary. We achieved the Start Council Award again for the 1985-86 fraternal year. It was our eighth such award.
During the next four years Edward Castelic, Harvey Aschenbrenner, and Pat Sands presided over the workings of our Council. It was during 1987 and 1988 that our youth programs again saw increased activity, especially with the Halloween Program. We were cooking booyahs for the elderly, for Abbot Pennings High, nursing home visitations were made and the Care and Share Program came into being. The M.U.M.S. program was supported as were many individual charities, an orphanage in Mexico, the Eudes Family Program and the scholarships to the local Catholic Schools. The Council now gave out “Roses For Life” lapel stickers on Pro-Life Sunday at the De Pere Catholic churches to raise money for pro-life causes. We had two large pro-life signs made up to be displayed along hi-ways in the area. We were now only running one softball tourney—The Old-timers Tourney. The other main sources of funding were the Christmas Tree Sale that was becoming more popular with the residents of De Pere, the bingo operation and the State Charity Raffle that started in 1985. The Las Vegas Nites came to an end and the Appreciation Dinners started. The Tom & Jerry Parties were still in vogue and well attended as were the annual Golf Outings and the visits to the Arlington Race Track. In 1987 we started having a Sportsman’s Raffle to aid the Handicapped and for Vocations run by Herb Kocken. Our Craft Sales continued thru 1989 and were very successful in raising money for us and the KC/VFW Club. In May of 1988 we sponsored the St. Leo Gospel Choir from Milwaukee to sing at a Mass at St. Boniface Parish. In 1988 Ed Castelic became our District Deputy. Towards the end of the decade our programs became more successful and the amount given to charity each year grew to over $13,000 with donations given to a seminarian, the religious retirement fund, Special Olympics, individuals with medical problems, local Catholic Schools, our De Pere Handicapped Program and many other causes. Memorial Masses, Corporate Communions, many Pro-life efforts, and a family Mass were now part of our Council’s Church Program plus the donations just mentioned. Harvey Aschenbrenner made improving our nursing home visitation program one of his main accomplishments. Profits from our Softball Tourney, the Christmas Tree Sale, and the bingo operation were on the increase. Ed Castelic was again running the Youth Programs including the Christmas Poster, Free Throw and Knowledge Contest plus the Kids Sleigh Ride and the now extremely popular Halloween Party. Participation in all these events remained strong. Many of the social functions were now a part of the fabric of the KC/VFW Club entertainment venue which included Valentines Day Dinners, St Pat’s Day celebrations and the ever popular liver fries. Membership in the council was being promoted thru the “Open House” approach and membership was at an all time high and increasing each year. We even had a booth at a business fair held at the old Howard Johnson Motel. By 1989 we had close to 400 members. In 1988 Ed Castelic became our District Deputy.
At the beginning of the 1990’s Gene Knuth and Don Smits were the Grand Knights and many new things began to happen and some things came to an end. We cooked our last booyah for Abbot Pennings High School Picnic as the school closed and the Packer Ticket Raffle had ended in the late 80’s. We began the Corn Roast Program for the Pink Flamingo Softball Tourney donating the profits to the newly formed Notre Dame and Marquette Elementary Schools. We had a float in the De Pere Centennial Parade and started the “Adopt A Bike” Program that recycled old bikes the city collected to give to needy children. Over 300 bikes were recycled this way and 200 were given away. In June 1990 John Van Gheem became our Financial Secretary. Our religious activities surged with a Vocations Awareness Program sponsored by our Council and the Diocese in the Catholic Schools in De Pere. We held our first Clergy Night on April 15, 1991 at which over 150 people attended. As part of this event we made donations to a Seminarian, the two Catholic Schools in De Pere and the Catholic Schools in Wrightstown and Greenleaf. Our Pro-Life Program expanded in the early 90’s with letter writing campaigns, an expanded “Roses For Life” Program, participation in Marches for Life in Appleton and Green Bay, donations to many pro-life causes and helped send John & Carol Mueller to the annual Pro-life March in Washington D.C. in 1990. Attendance at our annual Memorial Mass and Marion Hours remained good. Our Youth Programs were much the same as in the last decade but something new was added in the fall of 1990—The Punt, Pass and Kick Competition. Participation in all the programs was on the increase. In January 1992 we sponsored our first Hunter Safety Program. Our Council softball team was having some of its best years and we had an all time high of 13 teams in the KC State Bowling Tournament in Appleton under the leadership of Bowling Chairman, Jim Hoffman. We also sent 8 teams to the annual Seymour Council Tourney held in Black Creek—something we had been doing for over 20 years. Our social functions now included sports nights, the Tom & Jerry Party, club nights, sleigh rides at Koltz’s Farm and the annual Appreciation Night. The Landing Day Banquet was still well attended each October. We had been sponsoring Advance Degrees annually since 1983 and in 1988 we formed our own Second Degree Team. By 1992 we had taken in over 550 second degree candidates. For all our efforts during the 1991-1992 fraternal year our Council was awarded the State Deputies Trophy AS THE NUMBER ONE COUNCIL IN WISCONSIN plus becoming a Star Council Award winner.
Over the next four years Harold Grimes, Ralph Blumer, Herb Kocken and Dick Schefe guided our Council to even better and brighter accomplishments. As part of our Youth Program which now included Punt, Pass & Kick, the Christmas Poster Contest, the Free Throw Competition, and Hunter Safety, we, with the help of some other organizations, built a second Little League baseball diamond in 1992-1993, and cooked a booyah in November 1992 to buy playground equipment for Marquette School. We painted the gym and cafeteria at St. Boniface School at the request of Fr. Charlie Brooks in June 1992. Starting in 1991 we started holding an annual Sno-Ball Tourney in February to help the De Pere Little League Program and by 1993 it had become a winter event in De Pere. The De Pere Mentally Challenged program was growing and becoming a focal point for helping the mentally challenged in the area with an annual budget of over $2000. Our Pro-Life Program’s emphasis was not only on letter writing and our “Roses For Life” weekend but included a Pro-Life leaflet drop to all houses in De Pere, sponsoring a speaker at a conference at St. Norbert College, having a Pro-Life booth at the Brown county Fair and members doing the annual Pro-Life March in Green Bay. We were a major contributor to the October 1992 Christopher Columbus Quincentennial Celebration at the Riverside Ballroom in Green Bay. In the late 80’s our annual trip to Tomah ceased because of the distance involved and our attention was placed on visiting nursing homes in the area which continued into the mid 90’s. Under the guidance of John Wilmet and Jim Hoffman we hosted the 1993 Wisconsin State Knights of Columbus Bowling Tournament at Ashwaubenon Lanes. Work on this project began in late 1991 and we made a profit of over $27,000. During that same time and over the next three years our Council received increased revenues from the improved Christmas Tree Sale, the “Tootsie Roll” Promotion, the Old Timers Softball Tourney, the Pink Flamingo Softball Tourney, the State Charity Raffle, the yearly advance degree ceremonies and many other small fund raisers. This all resulted in our annual charity donations increasing to an average of $15,000 per year by 1995. These donations included many given to individuals with major health and victims of tragedies such as the benefit we put on for the Joan French family in April 1994 which raised over $15,000. We were honored with our ninth and tenth Star Council Awards in 1992 and 1997
During the mid 90’s our social programs such as the Clergy Night, the Tom & Jerry Parties, the Memorial Masses, the Landing Day Banquet, and the newly created Workers Party were still successful. However, the biggest social events were the Liver Fries that drew 400-500 people each time and were “the talk of the town”. The Trout Boils and pig roasts also drew good attendance and were part of our clubhouse routine. The Mentally Challenged Program was really coming into its own with a varied monthly program enjoyed by all. Another program of the era were our KC Clowns who entertained in hospitals and at kids functions in De Pere and Green Bay for three years and was chaired by Dick Schefe. The annual city wide Halloween Party was entertaining 500 to 800 participants each year and getting rave reviews from all concerned, including city officials. The Police Dept. was now involved with a child I-dent program being done at the Halloween Party. Our Care & Share Program was helping over 125 needy people in town and the profits from the Brat Fries started in July 1994 went to help local food pantries. Participation on our Council’s Softball Team was on the increase due to the initiation of many new young members. The last time participation was this good was in 1987 when we won the league tournament championship. The Hunter Safety Program was prospering and booyah cooking was back on the front burner. Ed Castelic and his crew were cooking booyahs for Marquette School Young Adult Program, the Boys and Girls Club, the Key Club and Jim Hoffman was cooking for Nicolet Apts. for the elderly and the St. Norbert regatta. Our Pro-Life activities remained the same as in the past with another mail drop. That same year the Pro-life Essay Contest became part of our Council’s youth agenda. In 1995 we helped finance the “Memorial to the Unborn” in Allouez Catholic Cemetery. Attendance at our Corporate Communions and annual Workers Party remained good. We continued to send 10 teams to the State Bowling Tournament and the Tom & Jerry Parties remain popular. In July 1995 we began holding annual Organizational Meetings to plan the calendar of event for the coming year. By 1995 there were 28 people in De Pere who had been honored as Silver Knights by St. Norbert College. Of those 10 were Knights from our Council and 3 were wives of Brother Knights. In June 1994 Ron Van Dyck became our Financial Secretary.
Starting the second half of the 1990’s John Van Gheem was Grand Knight and the Council programs were doing very nicely. The Corporate Communions were well attended with the Schefe Family making the pancakes and porkies. The Clergy Night attendance was over 170 with many priest and sisters present. At the yearly Clergy Night we now gave our annual donation of $500 to a Seminarian. We helped send Don Smits and Norb Keyser to the Pro-life March in Washington in January 1996, had the best ever “Rose For Life’ Program and picketed President Bill Clinton about his stance on abortion when he visited De Pere for the Memorial Day Celebration. Memorial Mass attendance was holding its own as Fr. Peter Renard was again our Chaplain. Our Community based programs were making great steps forward as we were now helping De Pere Christian Outreach on fifth Saturdays. The Hunter Safety Program was really growing and becoming well known for its expertise in training young adults how to handle a gun. Under the leadership of Jim Hooyman and Len Rich the “Tootsie Roll” Promotion for the mentally challenged now was taking in over $4500 and Gen Cielewicz now was conducting a first class operation to aid the “special people” in our area. By this time we were also making significant contributions to Area Religious Special Ed Program at Nativity Parish. The Christmas Tree Sale now was making a profit of over $6500 and along with the Pink Flamingo Corn Roast, the brat fries, the Charity Raffle, the “Old Timers” softball tourney and the advanced degree ceremonies plus our work-in-kind contributions enabled us to donate over $17,000 to charity in 1996. The new project for the year was the Postal Carrier Food Drive Collection which we are conducting to the present day. Our youth programs were still going on but were showing signs that things might need changing. One highlight of the year was the roast held in honor of Past Grand Knight Herb Kocken. The other was that, for the second time, our council received the distinction of being the NUMBER ONE COUNCIL IN THE STATE BY WINNING THE STATE DEPUTY’S AWARD AND RECEIVED OUR ELEVENTH STAR COUNCIL AWARD.
During the two years Randy Lynn and Jim Engebos were Grand Knights subtle changes in our programs began to happen due to the dynamics of our membership base. From 1990 on we successfully recruited many new members and by 1996 our membership stood at 423. Because we had consciously stopped recruiting men over 50 years of age, the average age of the Council was actually decreasing and membership participation at social gatherings started to decrease dramatically. With the advent of busier family lifestyles, more school programs, non-stop sports leagues for kids, and the two income family our membership base had less time for KC socials and meetings. However, there was not a lack of workers for our many projects. The Christmas Tree Program, the Sno-Ball Tourney, the booyahs for Marquette School, Nicolet Apts., the Boys & Girls Club, St. Mary’s Parish, the Our Lady Of Lourdes Kids Fishing Derby, plus others, the Pink Flamingo Corn Roast, the bingo program, the Hunter Safety Program, the brat fry, and many other small projects took thousands of man hours and raised money for our charity fund. In fact, some programs were enlarged such as the Christmas Tree Sale having two locations in 1997, the new booyahs being cooked and the increased size of some of the youth programs all demanded more participation and it was gladly given. By the same token, the Landing Day Banquet ceased to exist as did the Workers Party which had taken the place of the Wives Appreciation Night several years before. Attendance at club nights, the Christmas Party, the State Bowling Tourney, and the Memorial Masses continued strong with the “Liver Fries” still at the top of the list for participation and having a great time. The Tom & Jerry Parties were on the way out because of poor participation and ceased in 2001. Corporate Communions on the other hand were being revitalized and attendance was up. However, the most important thing done by our Council in 1997 was the refurbishing of the landscaping around Nancy and Wayne Edges house on Grant St. It kept them from losing their house and up-graded the neighborhood immensely. It was the first time our council had done a community service like this and we received accolades from the Mayor of De Pere and from all the news media in the area. The dollar value of this was in the $7,000 range after we put in the driveway the following year. In October 1997 we distributed over 3000 Pro-life leaflets in the city. In August of 1997 Charlie Doperalski, Tom Basche and John Mueller as members of our Council went to Grand Forks, North Dakota to help clean up after the Red River flood. They helped repair a Catholic grade school in preparation for the 1997 school year. In 1998 several important things happened. First, we sponsored the All Saints Catholic Church Choir to come and sing at our spring Corporate Communion. This all Black choir really wowed the more than 200 people in attendance. The Clergy Night was the biggest ever and we had a very successful anti-abortion post card writing campaign plus we cooked a booyah for the Freedom Council raising $800 for a memorial to the unborn. The “Tootsie Roll” Promotion went over $5400 in receipts and a Brother Knight, Bill Diedrick, set up a program that raised over $20,000 to install defibrillators in the police and emergency vehicles of the city of De Pere. In July 1998 we sold our portion of the KC/VFW Club and property to the VFW and moved our clubrooms to St. Boniface School where we had been 40 years before and our Bingo Program closed down. That same August we painted an elderly lady’s house and started to do annual landscaping at the Bridge Between Retreat House near Denmark. The Postal Carriers Food Drive was now up to 11,000 lbs. collected by the Knights and taken to local food pantries. With the establishment of the first permanent Youth Committee our youth programs flourished and participation was at an all time high with good results in the Punt, Pass & Kick, the Pro-life Essay Contest, the Christmas Poster contest, the ever popular Halloween Party and the newly formatted Knowledge Contest. In June 1999 we again moved our meeting place to lower level of Our Lady Of Lourdes Parish Center and we have been there ever since.
Starting in the 1998-1999 fraternal year our Council changed the term limits of the Grand Knight to two years and George Garrity became our first two year Grand Knight. In the summer of 1999 something happened that had never happened before in our history. Our council Softball Team took first place in the KC Softball league for the first time in 26 years under the leadership of Dennis Larson. During the next two fraternal years our religious related activities included increased efforts to support local Pro-life activities from the proceeds of our “Roses For Life” program which now were close to $800 each year and sent a delegation to the Pro-life gathering in Madison in May 2000. We were again cooking the booyah for the annual Our Lady Of Lourdes church picnic and for the OLOL School Booster Club which proved to be very profitable for the parish. We painted classrooms, cafeteria and social hall at OLOL School and parish during the summers of ’99 and 2000. We began helping with the “Soup and Sermon” program at that same time. Our involvements in the annual landscape clean up at the Bridge Between Retreat House continued. The Council became more involved in community action by repairing a home of a black family that was “trashed’ by some gang members. The Mentally Challenged Program’s events were now more varied, interesting and well attended by over 100 people each time. We now put on a Fisheree for the handicapped at the Isaac Walton League Park and were cooking booyahs for the elderly, the kids Fishing Jamboree, the Boys & Girls Club and the Key Club. In 1999 we started putting up the Christmas Crèche in front of Abbot Pennings Hall on St. Norbert campus. Forty years before that two KC’s had put the first one up. However, the biggest impact we began making in the community were the many donations made to accident victims and those with serious illnesses. Through the now expanding State Charity Raffle we donated over $10,000 to individuals during these two fraternal years. The Christmas Tree Sale was now making over $8000 per year and the “Old Timers” Tourney, the Pink Flamingo Corn Roast and Clean up, the “Tootsie Roll’ Promotion, and the Brat Fry For Teens were all making nice profits for our Council. The youth programs were doing well with good participation except for the Free Throw Competition. The subtle changes in the behavior of our membership base that started in the early 90’s really became apparent in 2000 as attendance at our social functions decreased. Because of this only one Corporate Communion was held in 2000 and the last Tom & Jerry Party was held in December 2001 The Memorial Mass experienced somewhat of a decrease in attendance at the same time. However, the Council was very active in all the other phases of our fraternal operation and donated over $40,000 to charity while George Garrity was Grand Knight. And, we were still sending six to seven teams to the KC State Bowling tourney.
John Hofbauer was the next GK to take the reins of Abbot Pennings Council and during the next two years things really hummed along. After almost 30 years our annual Softball Tourney was not held because of the lack of interest and was replaced with a Golf Tourney that produced twice the revenue. A softball tourney called “The Bugsy” played in honor of past member, Jim Baumann, was gaining popularity and raising considerable money to provide scholarships to college for kids from East and West De Pere High Schools. Started in 2000, by 2002 nearly $27,000 had been put in a trust fund out of which four $500 scholarships were given out each year. Our church programming was the same as past years only bigger and better. The Clergy Nights continued to be well attended and the “Roses For Life” program doing very well. We were now putting Pro-life inserts in the parish bulletins on certain Sundays of the year. The yearly booyahs cooked for Our Lady Of Lourdes Parish picnic were more popular than ever with profits over $3000 each year. The OLOL Booster Club booyah was becoming a yearly anticipated event. In July 2001 Council members, led by Daryl Brys, repaired 42 windows in the gym at Notre Dame School. At Christmastime in 2001 we became the official Christmas tree trimmers for OLOL Parish. Our social event of the year was now the annual Appreciation Night held at the Swan Club in February and included a meal, good entertainment, and a nice time to spend some time with each other. As part of the program the Knight of The Year and Family of the Year awards were given out. In February 2002 we had a real treat as Fr. Joe Rodrigues, a nationally know singer, entertained us. The Corporate Communions were staging a come back and our Softball Team now made up of many of our younger members was having a banner year. The Mentally Challenged Program run 25 years by Gen Cielewicz was more popular and effective with pot luck dinners, bowling parties, dinner dances, a Valentines Day Dance, trips to the zoo, day trips to Door County and Timber Rattler games. We were still sponsoring a Pro Life Booth at the Brown County Fair. As it had been in front of St. Boniface Church and Abbot Penning Hall during the 80’s and 90’s, our Pro-life sign, “Abortion Stops Beating Heart” was on display in front of OLOL Parish Church in January 2002. During this two year period our youth programs continued to flourish with good participation in Punt, Pass & Kick, the Knowledge Contest, the Pro-Life Essay Contest, the Christmas Poster Contest and even the Free Throw Contest was showing some signs of life. However, the real gem of the group was the Hunter Safety Program that was now graduating over 125 young people a year and preparing them for responsible use of a gun. This program, lead by the Schefe Family, probably has helped the De Pere community more than we will ever know. During John Hofbauer’s term we donated over $59,000 to charity and over 16,000 hours in service to our fellow citizens of De Pere. This was accomplished by increased revenues from the State Charity Raffle, the Pink Flamingo Tourney, the Christmas Tree Sale, the Golf Tournament, the teen Brat Fry, the “Tootsie Roll” Promotion, the “Bugsy”, and the advanced degree ceremonies put on each year since 1983. Two of the more important things we accomplished in 2002 were the building of the garage for the Habitat for Humanity and the clearing of the camping areas at the Diocesan Retreat and Conference Center at Camp Tikawitha. We also started a new fund raising operation by working concession stands at the new Resch Center. At the end of the fraternal year, June 30, 2003, our membership was 428. This was just 5 more than in 1996. However, in that time frame 55 Brothers died and just as many transferred, withdrew or were suspended. This means our recruiting people were working hard. During the 2002-2003 fraternal years meeting attendance improved and between 25 and 30 members came to the monthly business meetings. Fr. Donald Marquardt became our chaplain in September 2002 and has been giving us good guidance ever since.
In July 2003 Wayne Van Asten became our GK and our Council, as in the past, continued to accomplish many good things. Our “Roses For Life” program in January is now raising close to $900 for local Pro-life facilities and activities. We changed our Corporate Communions to include the parish members from the parish we are holding it in and now attendance is over 125 each time. This, not only gets our members involved, but shows others what we are all about. The Bridge Between Project grows every year and the Dominican Sisters really appreciate our efforts to make their place look good. The Council has sponsored Holy Hours the past two year. Memorial Masses continue to have small attendance. However, they are necessary to honor the past members who made this Council the great organization it is. The Clergy Night, chaired by Herb Kocken, continues to shine as one of our best programs and has never stopped being popular with members and clergy alike. Mentioned many times in this presentation is the work of Gen Cielewicz in her untiring efforts to make the lives of the “Special People” special. She, along with Scott and Karen Cielewicz, continue with bigger and better programming. For our part, we have raised record levels of funding the last two years to help finance the De Pere Mentally Challenged Program. We collected $8449.26 in 2003 and $9744 in 2004 under the leadership of John Hofbauer and Kevin Brauer. Our community involvement now includes the Carriers Food Drive collecting over 15,000 lbs. of food each year and the Teen Brat Fries that produce close to $900 each year for student organizations in East and West De Pere High Schools. The students benefit from the profits but also learn to deal with the public as part of their education. Beyond this we, in the last two years, have become involved with manning a water station for the Green Bay Marathon and built a second garage for the Habitat for Humanity. Our Youth Committee has really become efficient under the leadership of Bob Whitbeck and now the Punt, Pass & Kick, the Christmas Poster Contest, and the Knowledge Contest are doing very well. The Pro-life Essay Contest has fallen on hard times because of the subject material. However, it is being revised next year and the school administrators think things should go better. The Hunter Safety Program is doing very well graduating over 140 people a year and now includes a hunt or skeet shot at the end of each program. We are now cooking booyahs for Nicolet Terrace, the Rowing Club, OLOL Parish Picnic, the “Bugsy”, the OLOL Booster Club, the Key Club and Boy’s & Girls club. We cooked a special booyah for Fr, Gery Meehan’s 70th birthday at old Abbot Penning s High in August 2004. During the past two years we have donated over $69,000 to charity which includes money raised for organizations by our efforts. This total was made possible by the Christmas Tree Sale that now has yearly profits of over $9000, the “Tootsie Roll” Promotion, the Resch Center Project, the Pink Flamingo Tourney, the Brown County Fair Project, the KC Charity Raffle that now brings in over $2000 a year, the Teen Brat Fries and our Advanced Degree Ceremonies. Our last involvement with the Pink Flamingo was in 2003 and that activity was replaced by the work done for the Brown County Fair Board during the annual Brown County Fair. We were paid $5500 for that versus making about $2000 at the Flamingo. It should be noted that since 1997 our Council has donated $40,000 to individuals who have had serious medical problems caused by illness or traumatic accidents. This is quite an accomplishment and one we can be very proud of. In 2004 we initiated over 30 new members with our first church drive at OLOL Parish. Our membership now stands at 443 which means we are the 8th largest Council in Wisconsin. In October 2004 Brother Knight, Jack Van Enkenvort, became the 37th Silver Knight Award winner. He was the 18th Knight of Columbus from Abbot Pennings Council to be awarded this honor by St. Norbert College to those who make De Pere a better community. One other note of interest is that our Second Degree team has taken in 1733 candidates since its inception in 1988. In the last two years we have had our own web site on the internet at www.kofc3955.org.
In the last two years the Officers have worked hard to improve the unity and fraternity in our Council and have had some success. Participation in the Family Christmas Party has increased as has the attendance at the Corporate Communions and our business meetings. In August 2004 a Family Picnic was held at Bay Beach and over 60 people were in attendance. It is a good start and there is hope interest will grow. The attendance at the Corporate Communion held at St. Francis Parish in February 2005 was well attended as was the Clergy Night in April. A Baseball Night at the Timber Rattlers is planned for this summer. As this was being written, our 50th celebration is being planned and will be held at new Swan Club on April 30, 2005. The 50th Anniversary Celebration was a tremendous success with 220 people in attendance. The Charter Members of the Council were honored as Knights Of The Year and John & Carol Mueller named the Family Of The Year. John Mueller was the MC for the evening with Grand Knight, Wayne Van Asten, giving the keynote address followed by a Las Vegas Night as entertainment. This year’s “Tootsie Roll” Promotion raised a record $9500 for the De Pere KC’s Special Peoples Program under the leadership of John Hofbauer and Kevin Brauer. Our Council collected over 20,000 pounds of food for the Mail Carriers Food Drive and cooked a booyah for OLOL Parish that generated a profit of $4041.00 for the parish. We ended the 2004—2005 Fraternal Year with a “Brat Fry For Teens” that made $900 for students of East & West De Pere High Schools, did a spruce-up at the Bridge Between Retreat House, ran the “Bugsy Tournament” raising $6000 for College Scholarships. Due to our efforts we donated $36,675 to charity during 2004.
In July 2005, Matt Mueller became Grand Knight and Abbot Pennings Council continued to grow and prosper. Our membership was now 448 and growing. In August 2005 we parked cars at the Brown County Fair making $5500 for charity and two weeks later we had our annual summer picnic at Bay Beach. During the fall we held the annual Punt Pass Kick Competition with 107 kids participating, helped build a Habitat for Humanity house, cooked a booyah for the OLOL Booster Club raising $1400 and helped with the annual Boy Scouts Food Drive. As Christmas approached we held our Christmas Poster Contest run by Brian and Jill Blaha. Our Christmas Tree Sale generated a profit of $9066 with 137 members and family members making this possible. We again put our Christmas crèche up and held the annual Christmas Party for Council members and their families plus the poster contest winners. In January we kicked off the annual State Charity Raffle under the guidance of Ron Van Dyck. This year we sold 1254 tickets raising $6270 for charity. The 2006 Knowledge Contest was held with 302 participants and we held our first Family Bowling Party at Manhattan Lanes on January 21, 2006. Our “Roses For Life” Program raised $847 for Pro-Life Programs. Members from our Council are now working weekly at De Pere Christian Outreach and our work at the Resch Center continues to bring funds into our charity fund. During February of 2006 we held a Corporate Communion, hosted the Diocesan Free Throw Contest and our Annual Appreciation Night was held with 134 people in attendance. The Hunters Safety Program graduated 90 students this year and continues to be one of our best programs thanks to the leadership of Dick Schefe. In that same month Ed Castelic, leader of our famous booyah cooking crew, cooked a booyah for the West De Pere High senior class fund raiser. In March we sent four teams to the State Bowling Tourney. In April 2006 we set an all time record of collecting $10,010 during the “Tootsie Roll” Promotion to aid those with intellectual disabilities under the leadership of Jeff Jorgensen and Mark Lauer. The annual Clergy Night was held on April 24, 2006 at the Swan Club with Herb Kocken at the controls and over 120 people in attendance. In the next two months we collected 15,000 lbs of food for the Mail Carriers Food Drive, cooked booyahs for OLOL Parish and the American Cancer Society, worked at the Bridge Between, held the annual “Brat Fry For Teens” and raised $9600 for college scholarships to East and West De Pere High Students with the “Bugsy Softball Tourney.” Our softball team under the management of Dennis Larson again took to the field on June 1, 2006. All throughout the 2005-2006 year the De Pere KC’s Special Peoples Program, run by Gen Cieslewicz, held very nice programs for those in attendance. The bowling parties, dances, pot lucks and annual dinner dance make this program one of the best things we do. In 2005 we donated $38, 278 to charity. And finally, for all the good things we do, Abbot Pennings Council was chosen as the NUMBER ONE LARGE COUNCIL IN WISCONSIN AT THE STATE CONVENTION IN WISCONSIN DELLS.
In July 2006, with Matt Mueller in his second year as Grand Knight, 191 of us worked at the BC Fair raising $5500 for our charity fund. In August we held our family picnic at Bay Beach with 70 in attendance and during September and October we held our annual Punt, Pass &Kick competition, hosted the Diocesan Soccer Challenge, helped build a Habitat for Humanity house, and held a Corporate Communion at St. Mary’s with over 200 Knights, family members and parishioners in attendance. As the holidays approached, our Christmas Poster Contest was held with 147 posters submitted. Our annual Christmas Tree Sale netted a record breaking $12,753 profit. During our “Keep Christ In Christmas” Program we gave out 200 yard signs saying “Keep Christ In Christmas” and we purchased space on a prominent local billboard indicating the same. Over 80 kids and adults were at our Christmas party with Randy Peterson as entertainment. In January we started selling tickets for the State Charity Raffle and we sold the second most tickets of any council in Wisconsin—1612 tickets raising $8160 for charity. We had record donations at our “Roses For Life” Program in January 2007--$1215 with the funds going to local Pro-Life organizations. At the end of January we held our second annual Bowling Party and participated in the OLOL Ministry Fair taking in 6 new members. Again we were working at the Resch Center and the fifth Saturdays at De Pere Christian Outreach. In February we held a Corporate Communion at OLOL Parish, the Hunters Safety Program graduated 40 students and 80 kids participated in the Diocesan Free Throw Contest at West De Pere High on 2/24/07. We held our annual Appreciation Night at the Swan Club on March 31st with over 182 people in attendance. At our March 2007 business meeting, Abbot Pennings Council members made a very important decision. We voted to run a concession stand at Lambeau Field during the 2007 Packer season. Joe Dutkiewicz offered to chair the program. Jeff Jorgensen and Mark Lauer again lead us to a record setting collection of $10,051 in donations during our “Tootsie Roll” Program. We held the annual Clergy Night on April 16, 2007. On May 12th we collected 21,000 lbs. of food for local food pantries during the Postal Carriers Food Drive. During the rest of May and June our booyah crew cooked booyahs for the OLOL Parish Picnic, the American Cancer Society, and the “Bugsy” Tournament. In 2006 our Council donated $43,474.38 to charity. As in 2006 Abbot Pennings Council was chosen as the NUMBER ONE LARGE COUNCIL IN WISCONSIN AT THE STATE CONVENTION.
In July 2007 Mark Warden became our Grand Knight. By this time our membership had risen to 464 and still growing. We started the fraternal year by working at the Bridge Between and on August 4, 2007 we operated concession stand #312 during a Packer game. We subsequently worked 12 more games and made $17,000 for our charity fund. During the rest of August we held our Family Picnic at Bay Beach and made $2500 parking cars at the BC Fair. In the following two months we held our Punt, Pass & Kick Competition, 46 students graduated from the Hunters Safety Program, 120 people attended our fall Corporate Communion at OLOL, we helped build a Habitat for Humanity house, held our annual Pro-Life Essay Contest run by Larry Hummel, and cooked a booyah for OLOL Booster Club raising $1034. Our Second Degree Team put on a degree in Green Bay on 10/28 marking the twentieth anniversary of the formation of our team. During November and December 2007 we had our last Memorial Mass on November 7th, operated our annual Christmas Tree Sale generating a profit of $12,696 for our charity fund, held our annual Christmas Poster Contest along with our Christmas Party, and handed out over 200 “Keep Christ In Christmas” yard signs as part of our “Reason For The Season” Program. In January 2008 we raised $775 for Pro-Life causes with our “Roses For Life” Program and again kicked off the State Charity Raffle with the results being 1278 tickets sold and $6390 to charity. Ten Council members spent a week in January in New Orleans gutting houses after hurricane Katrina as part of the group from OLOL Parish. Towards the end of January we enjoyed our annual Bowling Party and started our seventh year operating concessions at the Resch Center under the guidance of Doug Vanden Langenberg. In February we held our winter Corporate Communion, sent four teams to the State Bowling tourney, hosted the Diocesan Free Throw Contest with Joe Bergner chairing the event and cooked booyahs for the American Cancer Society and the W. De Pere Senior Class raising over $1600 for these entities. In March we hosted Second and Third Degree ceremonies and held the annual Clergy Night on the 31st. On April 12, 2008 we help our annual Appreciation Night with 220 people in attendance—the largest crowd ever. Our “Tootsie Roll” Promotion raised over $9700 for those with intellectual disabilities at the end of April. On May 10th we collected over 20,000 lbs. of food during the Mail Carriers Food Drive and on May 22nd cooked a booyah for the OLOL Parish Picnic making $5618 for the parish. In June we held the annual “Brat Fry For Teens” and ran the “Bugsy” Softball Tourney. During 2007 we donated $54, 901 to charity and for the third year in a row we were chosen as the NUMBER ONE LARGE COUNCIL IN WISCONSIN AT THE STATE CONVENTION.
The second year with Mark Warden as our Grand Knight started in July 2008 with work at the Bridge Between closely followed by our work at Farm Tech Days in Greenleaf that earned us $3200. Immediately following this we began operating our Packer concession that netted us $16000 including a $1000 award for being the best NPO for the season. In August and September we were very busy with Packer games, helping refurbish the new Christian Outreach location, our Family Picnic, the Hunters Safety Program which had 53 students, and our expanded Punt, Pass & Kick Program now located at OLOL School and Optimist Park. Over 100 kids enjoyed this event. We held a Corporate Communion at OLOL with 120+ people in attendance. On September 30th Jim Hoffman and Dick Rottier cooked a booyah for the elderly at Nicolet Terrace Apartment which marked the 40th anniversary of this event. In October 18 members worked at a Habitat for Humanity build, our Pro-Life Essay Contest was initiated, and Council members participated in the “40 Days For Life Walk” in Green Bay. As the holidays approached 176 kids made posters for our Christmas Poster Contest, we sold 825 Christmas trees making $12,447 for our charities and we erected our Christmas Crèche to help spread the message to “Keep Christ In Christmas.”
We held our annual Christmas Party for the families of the Council on December 13th. Starting in January 2009 we sold 1357 State Charity Raffle tickets raising $6785 for charity. Following this our annual Knowledge Contest was held with 246 participants, we held our annual Council Bowling Party, our winter Corporate Communion at St. Mary’s and our “Roses For Life” Program brought in $820 for Pro-Life causes. We continued working at rhe Resch Center and at De Pere Christian Outreach store. In February we again hosted the Diocesan Free Throw Contest and in March our Hunters Safety graduated 43 students. Our annual Appreciation Night was held on April 17th with 208 in attendance and the annual Clergy Night on April 20 at which time we donated $1500 to each of the Catholic elementary schools in De Pere and $500 to Seminarian Mike Warden. Brad Bovee and Doug Vanden Langenberg directed our “Tootsie Roll” Program in 2009 and we raised a record $11,173 for the “Special People” in our community. In May we collect over 1600 bags of food during the Mail Carriers Food Drive and we cooked a booyah for the OLOL Parish picnic raising $5400 for the parish. In June we held our annual “Brat Fry For Teens” to aid student organizations in East & West De Pere High Schools and participated in the “Bugsy” Softball Tourney to raise money for college scholarship for students at East & West De Pere High Schools. Our KC Softball Team has gone undefeated for the past two years and looks forward to a good 2010. Our program to help those with intellectual disabilities, run by Gen Cieslewicz, now impacts over 150 people with pot lucks, pizza and bowling parties, a birthday party for everyone celebration each January and a summer picnic. We donated $52,350 to charity in 2008. AND, FOR THE FOURTH YEAR IN A ROW ABBOT PENNINGS COUNCIL WAS CHOSEN AS THE NUMBER ONE LARGE COUNCIL IN WISCONSIN. THIS IS UNPRECEDENTED AND A GREAT HONOR
On July 1, 2009, Steve Cribben became our Grand Knight and the year started with a bang. At the end of July we held a Brat Fry for Kids With Cancer and raised $865. In August we sponsored a picnic for the homeless in Green Bay, and held our annual Family Picnic at the Brown County Fair with over 170 people in attendance—everyone had a great time! This was the third year that our Council worked stand #312 concession stand at Lambeau Field starting in August. 157 members and family members under the guidance of Joe Dutkiewicz worked 2100+ hours on this project and made $16,000 for our charity fund. For the fourth year we sponsored a team in the Miracle Baseball League for the handicapped. In September we fixed our tree hut after 20 years of use and built a deck for Past Grand Knight Dick Schefe who lost a leg due to medical problems. We held our annual Punt, Pass and Kick Competition with an all time high 140 participants, held the Diocesan Soccer Challenge for the fourth time and cooked a booyah for Syble Hopp School for the mentally challenged. As the fall continued we worked the Packer games, held our Pro-Life Essay Contest and proceeded with the annual Christmas Poster Contest. During this same time our Hunters Safety Program graduated 47 students. This year’s Christmas Tree Sale made a profit of $12,701 with 164 workers spending over 1000 hours making this a success. As 2009 closed it was calculated that in the past five years Abbot Pennings Council has donated over $20,000 to families with medical problems. In January 2010 we held our annual “Roses For Life” Program raising $896 for pro-life causes and , under the leadership of Jim and Sandi Smits, held our Winter Corporate Communion at St. Mary’s Parish with150 members, family members and parishioners enjoying time together after 10:00 Mass. During the same weekend at St. Mary’s we held a membership drive and took in 9 new members. On January 30th more than 90 kids and adults filled Manhattan Lanes for our fifth annual Family Bowling Party chaired by Rick and Sandi Breu. On February 27th we again hosted the Diocesan Free Throw Contest with 91 kids from all over the diocese participating. On March we held a First Degree taking in 9 new members making our total membership 485 and growing. On March 14th we hosted Advanced Degree Ceremonies with 72 candidates taking the Second Degree and 75 the Third Degree. In April we held our annual “Tootsie Roll” Promotion for those with intellectual disabilities raising $9345 under the leadership of Brad Bovee. In conjunction with this our KC Special Peoples Program under the guidance of Gen Cieslewicz continues to put on well appreciated social each month from October thru May with a gala party at the Swan Club each April. On May 8th 36 Council members picked up 14,000 lbs. of food for the needy as part of the Postal Carriers Food Drive and we cooked a booyah for the OLOL Parish picnic raising $4300 for the parish. We again did cleanup work at the Bridge Between Retreat House in late May which was much appreciated. The annual”Teen Brat Fry” was the first weekend in June raising $1185 for the West De Pere National Honor Society and the De Pere High Show Choir. Our Council’s softball team started playing on June 1st and went on to have a record of 9 wins and one lose—not bad!! The annual “Bugsy Softball Tourney” made a profit of $3700 for charity. During 2009 we donated $50,988 to charity.
On July 1 2010 Steve Cribben began his second year as Grand Knight and on July 31st Council members operated the De Pere Christian Outreach. We do this each 5th Saturday and members put in over 1200 hours each year at the Outreach working every Monday and the 5th Saturdays. We raised $570 for OLOL Youth Ministry sponsoring a brat fry on July 23rd and 24th. With the guidance of Joe Dutkiewicz 146 Council and family members worked August thru January in our concession stand at Lambeau Field earning over $17,000 for our charity fund. On August 14th 17 members spread 100 yards of wood chips in the OLOL School playground to improve its safety features and we held our first ever Family Picnic at the Brown County Fair with 190 people having a great time. We sponsored a cookout for the homeless in Green Bay on 9/10/10 run by Council members Steve Donovan and Tony Pichler as part of their Streetlight Homeless Program. We held our annual Punt, Pass & Kick Program with 136 participants, cooked a booyah raising $1200 for the W. De Pere High Booster Club and held our Fall Corporate Communion in September. During October we cooked a booyah raising $1044 for the OLOL School Booster Club, worked a Habitat Build on 10/9/10, had 12 members march in the “40 Days For Life” program outside an abortion facility in Green Bay and held our annual Pro-Life Essay Contest. In November we were busy with our annual Christmas Tree Sale, working a Packer game, and starting the Christmas Poster Contest. The Christmas Tree Sale raised a record setting $15,700 for our charity fund. December was very hectic with the tree sale, the “Keep Christ In Christmas” yard sign promotion, setting up the Christmas Crèche, and working three Packer games. In January 2011 the State Charity Raffle Program, under Ron Van Dyck began and over the next four months we sold 1218 tickets raising $6090 with a return of $2436 to our charity fund. Our annual Knowledge Contest chaired by John Mueller, was held with 235 participants. The KC Special Peoples Program held their annual Birthday Party for everyone with over 100 in attendance. Over 100 people attended our annual Winter Corporate Communion at St. May’s Parish with Bob & Ellen Coenen in charge. Our “Roses For Life” Promotion resulted in $794 in donations for local Pro-Life programs. Over 90 kids and adults attended our annual Family Bowling Party at Ashwaubenon Lanes. A great time was had by all!! At the end of February we hosted the Diocesan Free Throw Contest with 79 participants and on March 5th four bowling teams from our council participated in the State Bowling Tourney in Howard. During this whole year members worked over 120 hours at Resch Center concessions making over $960 for our charities. In April 2011 we held our annual “Tootsie Roll” Promotion for those with intellectual disabilities raising $10,900 to insure that Gen Cieslewicz can put on socials for those with intellectual disabilities in our community. This was the most raised by any council in the Green Bay Diocese and the program was chaired by Matt Mueller, Dave Pearson, John Mueller and Steve Cribben In May we held our annual Clergy Night chaired by Herb Kocken with over 100 in attendance. On May 6th we held our Appreciation Night with 203 attendees and every one had a great time listening to the Healy Family Singers. During the rest of May we cooked a booyah for the OLOL Parish picnic raising $3900 for the parish and picked up 11,000 lbs of food for the Postal Carriers Food Drive. At the beginning of June 10 members did cleanup work at the Bridge Between Retreat House and the weekend of June 5th we held our “Teen Brat Fry” raising $1530. Our softball team started play on 6/7/11and went on to win 8 and lose 2 for the 2011 season. DURING 2010 WE DONATED $44,766 TO CHARITY.
Joe Dutkiewicz took over as Grand Knight in July 2011 with our annual Organizational Meeting on July 11th. A week before that five members of our Council moved Fr. Jack Harper to his new assignment at Nativity Parish and moved Fr. Richard Getschel into St. Mary’s Parish in De Pere. In August we started working the food pantries at Lambeau Field earning $7800 for our Charity Fund during the Packer season. At the same time and during the rest of the fraternal year we worked concessions at the Resch Center earning about $4000 for charity under the direction of Corey Coonen. On August 19th we held our annual Family Picnic at the Brown county Fair with over 120 people in attendance. In September 2011 our youth programs, under Eric Le Brun, held our annual Punt, Pass & Kick Program, the Diocesan Soccer Challenge and something new—our own Council Soccer Challenge. These programs involved over 125 kids. We also supported local scout troops and the Miracle Baseball League for the mentally and physically challenged. We held our Fall Corporate Communion at OLOL Parish on 9/25 with over 100 in attendance. In October 12 members participated in the “40 Days For Life” March in Green Bay and 15 members cooked a booyah earning $1200 for the OLOL School Booster Club. Larry Hummel re-energized our Pro Life Essay Contest and we had 84 participants. Joel & Heidi Jansen rejuvenated our Christmas Poster Contest and made it a school friendly program with great results—137 participants. In late November and early December we held our annual Christmas Tree Sale which resulted in a record profit of $17,700. 165 members worked the program to a great success. During the same time period we handed out 210 “Keep Christ In Christmas” yard signs after Masses the first weekend in December and erected our new Christmas Creche which is viewed by over 20,00 passersby each day. On January 21st & 22nd we held our yearly “Roses For Life” Program and raised $800 for Pro-Life causes and erected our Pro Life sign at OLOL Parish. On February 4th we held our Council Free Throw contest and hosted the Diocesan Contest on 2/25/12. We even had a State Winner this year. While we were doing that Ron Van Dyck, the new Knowledge Contest Chair, was putting on the Knowledge Contest that had 587 participants, 6 District winners, and 3 State winners. We held our Winter Corporate Communion on 2/12/12 at St. Mary’s Parish with over 170 people participating. On Sunday, March 18th, we held an Advanced Degree Program and advanced 84 members into the Knighthood Degree. 16 Council members marched in the “40 Days For Life” event on March 31st with Deacon Kevin De Cleene leading us in prayer. This year’s Clergy Night was held on April 16th with 95 people in attendance including the three Green Bay Diocesan Bishops. At the same time we were holding our annual “Tootsie Roll” Promotion with 147 workers who raised a record $11,680 for those with intellectual disabilities. The recipients of these funds are the De Pere KC Special People Program, Area Religious Special Ed Program and Syble Hopp School. During this time we also sold 1200 State Charity Raffle tickets with one of our members, Pat Byrne, winning the $15,000 third prize. On May 18th we held our annual Appreciation Night with 165 people present enjoying the evening and the “Moonshine Band” of member Hank Aldrich. On May 10th 40 members and family members collected over 1300 bags of food for the Postal Carriers Food Drive and directed them to local food pantries. As the year wound down 30 members put on a Brat Fry at Piggly Wiggly and Festival Foods raising $1334 for youth organizations in East and West De Pere High Schools on June 2nd and 3rd 2012. Abbot Pennings Council donated $40,900 to charity in 2011.
On July 10, 2012 we held our annual Organization Meeting lead by Grand Knight, Joe Dutkiewicz. At that time we planned the activities for the 2012-2013 Fraternal year beginning with over 50 Knights working to build the new De Pere Christian Outreach Food Pantry in East De Pere. Council members put in over 600 man hours building a very nice facility to help the needy of our community. We finished with this project in October. During the same time over 120 members and family members worked at a concession stand at Lambeau Field. This operation plus scanning tickets prior each game netted our Council over $16,000 for our Charity Fund. At the end of July we held our summer Brat Fry at Festival Foods raising $620 for OLOL Youth Ministry and Scout Troop 1039. In August we held our Family Picnic at the Fair with over 160 people attending even during a rain storm. We started our Youth Programs in September with a Punt, Pass & Kick and Soccer Challenge on September 29th. We had 81 kids participate at St. Norbert Football Stadium. In October Council members walked in the "40 Days For Life" event and on 10/27 we raised $1200 for the OLOL Booster Club by cooking 150 gallons of booyah. .On November 23rd we began our annual Christmas Tree Sale which ran until December 15th. 167 people worked and we made a record $17,750 profit. At the same time Larry Hummel was running the Pro-life Essay contest at OLOL and Notre Dame Schools with 41 participants and Joel & Heidi Jansen ran the Christmas Poster Contest at the same schools with 169 entries. We handed out 250 "Keep Christ In Christmas” yard signs after all the
the Masses at St. Mary’s, St. Francis and OLOL the first weekend in December. And, as in the past 45 years, we erected our Christmas Creche at the corner of Main & 8th Sts. With over 20,000 cars going by every day. With the start of 2013 we held our annual "Roses For Life" program raising a record $1847 for Pro-Life organizations in our area. It also was the start to our raising over $7500 for our efforts at the Resch center lead by Corey Coonen. 51 Knights work this program to the benefit of our charity fund. During January Ron Van Dyck ran our Knowledge Contest with 645 participants from 6 area schools. In February we held our annual Winter Corporate Communion at St. Mary's parish with over 50 Knights and family members present and many parish members who were invited. Bob & Ellen Coenen did a wonderful job. On the same day, February 10th, we held our Family Bowling Party at Ashwaubenon Lanes and everyone had a great time. We again hosted the Diocesan Free Throw contest at W. De Pere High School on 2/23/2013. We had 75 participants with Joe Bergner running the operation. On March 3rd Abbot Pennings Council sponsored Second & Third Degree Ceremonies at OLOL Parish. We advanced 59 members to the Knighthood Degree. From April 13th thru April 21st we held our annual “Tootsie Roll” drive to aid those with intellectual disabilities. This year we raised $12,104 and for the third year in succession we were awarded a plaque for raising the most in the Green Bay Diocese. On April 12th we held our annual Appreciation Night with 180 members and wives in attendance. The Postal Carriers Food Drive was on May 11th and 25 guys hauled 972 bags of food to two local food pantries with the help of 15 pick-up trucks. The weekends of May 19th and June 2nd we held our annual "Brat Fry For Teens" Program and raised over $1400 for the East De Pere High Show Choir and the West De Pere High National Honor Society. In 2012 we donated over $45,000 to charity and spent 15,989 man hours help others in need. During this time frame we took in 17 new members.
On July 8, 2013 we held our annual Organizational Meeting lead by newly elected Grand Knight, Matt Diederich. At that same meeting State Warden, Jack Wrbanich, installed our newly elected officers. The following Sunday we held our first annual Family Fun Day at Bay Beach in Green Bay with over 100 kids and parents in attendance. With the help of 19 Council members we made $539 for our Charity Fund holding a Brat Fry at Festival Foods on July 27th and 28th. On August 18th we held our annual Picnic At The Fair with 130 people and kids in attendance--everyone had a great time. During this same period we started our ticket scanning project at Lambeau Field for all the Packer home games. This year we had 130 members working and made $6500 for our Charity Fund. Our Youth Program started on September 7th with our Punt, Pass & Kick and Soccer Challenge programs. We had 41 kids participate and we held the Diocesan Soccer Challenge on September 28th at Dickenson Field. In October Pro -Life Director, Richard Porior, commenced the yearly Pro-Life Essay Contest at Our Lady Of Lourdes and Notre Dame Schools. 53 kids participated and awards were given out during Pro-Life week in January 2014. 13 Council and family members marched in the "40 Days for Life" march in front of the Planned Parenthood facility on Oneida St. in Green Bay on October 12, 2013. During that same time our involvement at the Resch Center picked up under the leadership of Corey Coonen. We had 51 members work the events from September 2013 thru May 2014 and we realized $7500 for our Charity Fund. Bob & Ellen Coenen chaired our Corporate Communion at OLOL Parish on September 29th with over 100 people in attendance. On October 10th we cooked 100 gallons of booyah making $1200 for the OLOL School Booster Club. In October and November we prepared our new Christmas Tree selling lot with the help of 20 members and Vanden Heuvel Electric. As part of the "Coats For Kids" program we donated 24 coats to the De Pere Christian Outreach and they gave them to needy families. During the month of November Joel & Heidi Jansen headed up our Christmas Poster Contest at OLOL and Notre Dame elementary schools. They had 161 participants and we got a lot of good reports from the schools on this program. We started our Christmas Tree Sale on 11/29/13. 156 members worked this project and made a profit of $17,850 for our Charity Fund. This was a record profit due to a lot of hard work. During this same time we erected our Christmas Creche at the corner of 8th & Main St. in W. De Pere for the 46th year. Over 20,000 cars pass this location each day and we hope the real meaning of Christmas message is getting out. At this same time we handed out 250 "Keep Christ In Christmas" yard signs after Masses at three Catholic Parishes in De Pere. In January our Treasurer, John Wilmet, initiated our State Charity Raffle program which resulted in 1375 tickets being sold raising $6875 for the State KC Charity Program--we received $3399 back from the State for our Charity Fund. On the third weekend of January we held our annual "Roses For Life' Program raising $1298 for local Pro-Life organizations. During this same time under the leadership of Corey Coonen, 19 members put on a Free Throw Contest at four schools with 792 participants. As part of our youth programs Ron Van Dyck chaired the annual Knowledge Contest with 678 participants which produced four state winners. On February 9th we held a Corporate Communion at St. Mary's Parish with 150 people in attendance. The same day we held a Council Bowling party at Ashwaubenon Lanes. On March 3rd we held a First Degree taking in 6 new members. On March 16th we hosted Advanced Degree Ceremonies at OLOL Parish School advancing 49 men to Full Knighthood in the Third Degree. On March 15th we had 20 members in the "40 Days For Life" march in Green Bay. On March 29th 11 members and family members operated the De Pere Christian Outreach as it was a 5th Saturday. In April we held our annual "Tootsie Roll" Promotion for those with intellectual disabilities raising a record $12,971. 164 members were involved in this project. Our annual Clergy Night was held at the Swan Club on 4/28 with 120 in attendance. Our Council gave $500 checks to seminarians Greg Parent and Mike Picard. On May 2, 2014 we held our annual Appreciation Night with 150 in attendance and the Healy Family as entertainment. As part of the celebration we donated $1500 each to OLOL and Notre Dame Schools. Joel & Heidi Jansen were Family Of The Year and Eric Le Brun & Richard Porior were the Knights Of The Year. We held a Brat Fry for our Council Charity Fund on May 3rd & 4th making $973 for our Charity Fund. On 5/17 & 5/18 we held our "Brat Fry For Teens" raising $1753 for teen organizations in the two De Pere High Schools. That same weekend 38 members and family members cooked 275 gallons of booyah for the OLOL Parish Picnic. It made $3600 for the Parish. On June 10th seven members worked at the Bridge Between Retreat House to do landscape work on their grounds. On June 22nd we held the second annual Family Fun Day at Bay Beach with 138 kids and parents in attendance. During this Fraternal year we held four First Degrees taking in 20 new members and in 2013 we donated $44.600 to charity.
On July 7, 2014 we held our annual Organizational Meeting lead by Grand Knight, Matt Diederich as he entered his second year as leader of our Council. On July19th our Council hosted a Marian Hour of Prayer at St. Francis Parish with 41 people in attendance. Prayers were said for the Pro-Life cause. After our meeting on August 4th our 2014-2015 Officers were installed by the newly appointed District Deputy, Joe
Dutkiewicz from our Council. Right about this time Council members began scanning tickets at Lambeau Field prior to the Packer games. During this season 110 Council and family members put in over 600 hours doing this and made over $7000 for our Charity Fund. On August 17th we held our annual Picnic At The Fair with 160 people in attendance. A Mass was said before the festivities by Rev. Robert Rank assisted by Deacon Kevin De Cleene. Everyone had a great time at the fair. During September we were busy with the Punt, Pass & Kid Competition, Our Lady Of Lourdes Ministry Fair and the start of the Resch events. 41 Kids participated in Punt. Pass & Kick at Westwood School. The Ministry Fair manned by Grand Knights, Matt Mueller, John Mueller, Steve Cribben and Matt Diederich netted us seven prospects of which 3 joined our Council as new members. In our 12th year working at the Resch Center we made about $9000 from May 2014 thru May 2015 for our Charity Fund. We held our Fall Corporate Communion at Our Lady Of Lourdes Parish on 10/5/14 with 150 plus people in attendance. Bob & Ellen Coenen chaired this event which was very much enjoyed by everyone. On 10/3/14 Ed Castelic and his crew cooked a booyah for the De Pere Historical Society which brought in $2340 for the renovation of the De Pere Museum. Six new members joined Abbot Pennings Council on October 6, 2014. Our Pro-Life Director, Richard Porior, initiated our Pro-Life Essay Contest on October 1st and 43 students from Notre Dame and Our Lady Of Lourdes participated with the awards to the winners given out during Catholic Schools week in January 2015,. 15 Knights and family members joined the “40 Day For Life” march on Oneida St in front of Planned Parenthood on October 18th. On 11/1/14 Dale Brown, Mike Van Rooy, Hank Aldrich and Brian Tomac lead by Mike Malchow did finishing work for Habitat For Humanity in Green Bay. On the same day 11 members cooked a booyah for the OLOL Athletic Booster Club. During October and November we held our 2015 Free Throw Contest in four schools in De Pere. The effort was led by Corey Coenen. 23 Council member worked this event with 629 participants. Starting on 11/15 our Christmas Tree Sale program began with the unloading of 800 trees and the setting up of our lot at a new location next to Bank Mutual on Main Ave. With the help of Vanden Heuvel Electric and approximately 800 hours of work by 158 of our members we sold 850 trees in 15 days and made a profit of $17,343. During that same time we erected our Christmas Creche to remind those going thru the intersection of Main and 8th Sts. of the real meaning of Christmas. Joel & Heidi Jansen did their usual great job with the Christmas Poster Contest. 175 kids participated from Notre Dame and OLOL Elementary Schools. The second weekend in December we handed out over 280 “Keep Christ In Christmas” yard sings after Masses at three Parishes in De Pere. On the weekends of January 18th and 25th 2015 we held our annual “Roses For Life” program at OLOL, St. Mary’s and St. Francis realizing $1369 in donations that were given to AA Alexandrina, Love Life and Mother and Unborn Baby Care. During January Ron Van Dyck ran the annual Knowledge Contest with 658 participants. We held our Winter Corporate Communion at St. Mary’s on 2/8/15 as well as having a Membership Drive directed by Membership Director, Joe Dutkiewicz. We took in three new members form this event. On 2/21/15 we hosted the Diocesan KC Free throw Contest with over 100 participants. Joe Bergner and Corey Coonen plus 26 members put on the event. During the past six months close to 100 members and family members have worked at the Resch Center making almost $9000 for our Charity Fund. This year 18 members and family members participated in the “40 Days For Life” march on Oneida St. in front of the Planned Parenthood location om March 14, 2015. The next day our Council hosted Advanced Degree Ceremonies at OLOL School advancing 68 Knights to the 2nd Degree and 69 to full
Knighthood. The ceremonies went very well as put on by 34 Council and family members. On April 13, 2015 we hosted the 25th annual modern day Clergy Night at the Swan Club with 127 people in attendance including Bishops Banks and Morneau. Herb, Barb and Tammy Kocken directed this event. Starting at the end of March and running thru April 19th 160 Council and family members collected a record $13,288 during our “Tootsie Roll” Promotion to help those with intellectual disabilities. 169 members sold 1526 Wisconsin State KC Raffle Tickets raising $7630 for charity. On May 1, 2015 we held our Annual Appreciation Night at the Swan club celebrating our 60th Anniversary as a Council with over 170 Council members and spouses in attendance. Special recognition was given to Charter Members Gene Kolb, Tom Basche, Harry Macco and Jim Maes. The Knights Of The Year were Jesse Zastrow and Pat Lennon for the many events they worked and the Family Of The Year was Dale & Michelle Brown for the many good things they accomplished in the past Fraternal Year. During the weekend of May 2nd & 3rd we held the first of our “Brat Fry For Teens” events at Piggly Wiggly raising $893 for the Show Choir of De Pere High School. On May 9th 39 members and family members helped pick up 1265 bags of food during the Postal Carriers’ Food Drive. The weekend of May 16th and 17th we held the second “Brat Fry For Teens” at Festival Foods raising $1311 for the National Honor Society of West De Pere High. At our June 1, 2015 meeting we elected our new officers with Pete Nordeen becoming our new Grand Knight. On the weekend of June 6th & 7th we held a brat fry raising $1300 for Our Lady Of Lourdes Youth Ministry. Our annual Family Fun Day At Bay Beach on Sunday, June 28th, drew over 160 people and the many kids had a great time on the rides and eating pizza. Corey Coonen was in charge of this event. That same night we held our “draft night” to recruit members to man our Scanning Program at Lambeau Field during Packer games.0 During 2014 we donated $53,833 to Charity
On July 6, 2015 we held our annual Organizational Meeting lead by newly elected Grand Knight, Pete Nordeen. Shortly thereafter on August 1st and 2nd, 14 Council members cleared the donation area for the De Pere Christian Outreach Store and at the end of August, 8 members operated the store as part of our 5th Saturday commitment. During the rest of the year we did this seven more times. During this same time period we began our Packer Ticket Scanning program at Lambeau Field. 103 members and family members worked the 12 games and made $7800 for our charity fund. On August 23rd we held our annual Family Picnic at the Fair with 135 people enjoying a good meal and plenty fun at the Brown County Fair which includes Mass before the noon meal. The month of September was really busy with Officer Installation at our meeting on 9/14 which was preceded by a First Degree taking 4 new members. We also had a Corporate Communion at OLOL on 9/27 with 130 people enjoying time together. 16 members put on a Punt, Pass & Kick Program at Westwood School with 65 kids participating. In September we began working at the Resch Center again under the direction of Matt Diederich. During the next nine months we worked over 20 events and made over $5000 for our charity fund. On October 17th, 20 Council and family members participated in the “40 Days For Life” March on Oneida St. in Green Bay in front of Planned Parenthood. Pro-Life Director. Richard Porior conducted our annual Pro-Life Essay Contest in OLOL and Notre Dame Schools in October. In October we also held our Free Throw Contest led by Gene & Corey Coonen. We had 718 kids participate from four schools and the kids really enjoyed the experience. In early November we hosted the State Punt, Pass & Kick Competition with 93 kids from around the state participating. It took 40 members to put this on during a very cold day. Right after this our annual Christmas Tree Sale preparations begin with the unloading of trees on 11/14/15. During this same time we cooked a booyah for OLOL Athletic Booster Club which netted them $1200. On 11/27/15 our Christmas Tree Sale began. It was very successful yielding a profit of $17,416 for our charity fund. 159 workers made this possible. During the same time period we erected our now famous Christmas Crèche on the corner of Main & 8th Sts. and Joel and Heidi Jansen put on the Christmas Poster Contest at Notre Dame & OLOL School with 183 kids participating. We also handed out over 200 “Keep Christ In Christmas” yard signs at three De Pere Parishes the first weekend in December. On January 17, 2016 we held our annual “Roses For Life” Program at Our Lady Of Lourdes, St. Mary’s and St Francis Parishes raiding $1188 for area Pro-life Organizations followed by our Winter Corporate Communion at St. Mary’s Parish on 2/2/16 with over 200 members and parish members enjoying the Knights fraternity. Soon after that 20 Council members did the greeting and ushering at OLOL’s 20th Jubilee Mission. During this same time Ron Van Dyck was conducting our Knowledge Contest at nine schools with 818 participants in both math and spelling. Then too, starting in January, John Wilmet was conducting the annual State Raffle and very successfully so as we sold 1550 tickets—a record. On 2/27/16 we hosted the Diocesan Free Throw contest at W. De Pere High with 100 kids participating and 30 guys working the event. In March and April we held the “Tootsie Roll” program and 153 workers took in a record $14,176. On March 13th we hosted the Advance Degree Ceremonies taking 55 Brother Knight to full Knighthood. During March we also held a First Degree taking in 6 new members making the new member total at that time 16. We added two more in May. On March 19th, 23 members participated in the Lenten “40 Days For Life” march. On April 4th we hosted the annual Clergy Knight at the Swan Club with over 50 Clergy and Religious in attendance plus 50 guests. Our council donated $500 to two seminarians and a like amount to novice to the Sisterhood, We held our Annual Appreciation Night on 4/15/16 with 143 in attendance. The Knights of The Year were Drew Weisse and Lou Cyganek. The Family of The Year was the John & Lynn Fink Family. On April 30th and May 1st we held our annual “Brat Fry For Teens” program at Piggly Wiggly and Festival Foods taking in over $1800 which was donated to the De Pere High Show Choir and the W. De Pere High National Honor Society. Two weeks later Mike Hannon and Eric Le Brun led 33 Knights and family members in picking up 1317 bags of food for local food pantries as part of the “Postal Carrier’s Food Drive”. In early May, 20 members helped reconstruct the OLOL School playground. We also cooked the booyah for the OLOL Parish Picnic in May netting the parish $4700. 70 kids and adults attend our yearly Family Fun Day at Bay Beach and had a great time. To end the year we had a brat fry which made $960 for our Lady of Lourdes Youth Ministry. All in all it was a great year and we donated $55,000 to charity in 2015.
"On July 11, 2016 we held our annual Organizational Meeting lead by Grand Knight, Pete Nordeen. Shortly thereafter, on July 30th, 12 Council and family members operated the De Pere Christian Outreach Store. During the rest of the Fraternal Year we did this three more times. During this same time frame we began our Packer Ticket Scanning Program on 7/31/17 with 107 members and family members working 350 hours during 12 games making over $7000 for our charity fund led by GK, Pete Nordeen. Our Resch Center Project for the year began on August 8th. 89 Council members operated concession stands 15 times thru May 2017 making over $7000 for our charity fund led by Matt Diederich. On 8/21/16 we held our annual Picnic at the Brown County Fair with over 100 people in attendance. It began with a Polka Mass at10 AM and a picnic under a pavilion on the Fox River attended by over 100 people. Everyone enjoyed the food and camradery during and after the meal. On September 11th we hosted a welcoming party after the 8:15 Mass for the new Pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes, Father Benny Jacob. We served coffee, juice, cookies and plenty of donuts. On 9/17 25 members put on our Punt, Pass & Kick Competition with 73 kids participating. We also held membership drive at St. Mary Glenmore on 9/23 taking in 2 new members. In October we were very busy. The Pro-Life Essay Contest in which 103 kids from OLOL and Notre Dame School participated started on 10/1. The Pro-Life March on was held on 10/1 with 22 marchers in front of the Planned Parenthood facility. Our annual Fall Corporate Communion was held at OLOL Parish on 10/9 with over 100 people in attendance. We took in three new members at the event. We also hosted the State Punt, Pass & Kick Contest at De Pere High School on 10/29. 44 members made the event very successful for the 103 participants. On October 7th we started building our own storage building on Mid Valley Rd. under the leadership of Mike Hannon. In 10 days we had it completed. 15 members spent 135 hour completing the task. It has proven to be a great asset to our Council. During the last two weeks of October and the first three weeks of November we held our annual Free Throw Contest in in four De Pere Schools engaging 810 kids. This was led by Gene & Corey Coonen. During this same time we cooked a booyah on 11/12 and raised over $1000 for the OLOL Elementary School athletic program. On the last two weekends in October and the first weekend in November we handed out 1600 “Building the Domestic Church” Booklets at the three parishes in De Pere. Our Christmas Tree Sale preparations started on 11/11 with the delivery of 881 trees. We opened and priced them on 11/19 and the Christmas Tree Sale started the day after Thanksgiving, 11/25. We sold 871 trees and gave 10 to charity. We made a profit of $17,353 for our charity fund. 162 members and family members spent 825 hours working this event under the leadership of Matt Diederich. As part of the tree sale we set up a Christmas Crèche on the corner of 8th & Main Ave. in W. De Pere. Over 20,000 cars go thru this intersection each day and we feel we make a difference peoples attitude about the true meaning of Christmas over the past 20 years. In December Ron and Kathy Kocken ran our Christmas Poster Contest in the two Catholic grade schools. 191 children participated and everyone enjoyed the cookies and juice given out when the awards are handed out at each school. As with every year we started 2017 with the State Charity Raffle mailing. This year we sold 1640 tickets and raised $8200 for the State Charity Fund. Treasurer, John Wilmet has been heading this for many years. We held our “Roses For Life” Program at St. Mary, St. Francis and OLOL on 1/15 & 1/22/17 raising $1400 for area Pro-Life Organizations. Ron Van Dyck directed the annual Knowledge Contest starting on January 10th. Over 900 kids participated from six De Pere Elementary and Middle Schools. We had our Winter Corporate Communion at St. Mary Parish on 2/12/17 with over 120 in attendance. Bob & Ellen Coenen and Ann & Mark Knutson put on the event and, as usual, it was very nice. We also did a membership drive that day and took in three new members. Six Council members took part in the Outstanding Public Safety Recognition Day celebration on 2/21 at the Swan Club as we help sponsor this event. The following Saturday, our Council hosted the Diocesan Free Throw Contest at W. De Pere High with 102 kids participating. 33 Council member made this possible. On March 14th 14 Council members participated in the “40 Days March For Life” and the following Sunday we hosted Advanced Degree Ceremonies at OLOL School advancing 57 men to full Knighthood. The weekend of April 7th, 8th and 9th we held our “Tootsie Roll” Promotion and raised $15,574 at five locations and three parishes. We also have canisters in seven locations year round which brought in over $3000 which is part of the total reported. On April 21st we held our annual Appreciation Night with 141 people in attendance. The Family of The Year was the John & Lynn Fink Family. Tom Franzen and Dave Pearson were Knights of the Year. Our Council hoisted the 27th Annual Clergy Night on 4/21 at the Swan Club with 135 Priests, Sisters, and Knights in attendance including Bishops Banks and Morneau. Our “Brat Frys for Teens” Program started on April 29th & 30th at Festival Foods and Piggly Wiggly. We made a profit of $1800 doing these brat frys which was donated to the De Pere High Show Choir and the West De Pere high National Honor Society whose members helped us. That same weekend we operated the De Pere Christian Outreach. The “Ted Fagan Food Drive” took place on May 13th with 40 members collecting 1550 bags of food that was given to the two food pantries in De Pere. This effort was led by Mike Hannon and Eric Le Brun. At our June 2017 meeting on 6/5 we held our Officer Elections and Dave Pearson became our Grand Knight. On June 3rd & 4th and June 24th & 25th we held brat frys for the Youth Ministries at OLOL and St. Mary’s Glenmore. 72 members worked at these two brat frys. On Sunday, June 11th, we held our annual Family Fun Day at Bay Beach with 75 parents and kids having a wonderful time—many good compliments on the program. During the third week of June 20 members put in 150 hours painting the interior of a home in Green Bay for the Ecumenical Partnership In Housing organization. It will be used as transitional housing for the needy. This project was led by Dale Brown. On June 26th, under the leadership of GK, Pete Nordeen, we held our “Draft Night” to recruit members to aid in our Packer Ticket Scanning Program. It went very well and all but 32 spots were filled. During the past Fraternal Year we took in 23 new members and during calendar year 2016 we donated $51,596 to charity."
On July 10, 2017 we held our annual Organizational Meeting led by Grand Knight, Dave Pearson. Shortly thereafter, on July 28th, 12 Council and Family members operated the De Pere Christian Outreach Store. During the rest of the fraternal year we did it four more times led by John Fink. Soon after this we began our ticket scanning operation at Lambeau Field for the Packer games. Over 100 Council and Family members led by Pete Nordeen put in 990 hours and raised over $7000 for our Charity Fund. Our Resch Center Project for 2017-2018 started on August 23rd and over the next 11 months we worked 190 hours during 11 events raising over $7000 for our Charity Fund led by Matt Diederich. On July 22, 2017 our Council put on "Fun Raiser" Golf Outing and raised $1275 for Our Lady of Lourdes School. On September 16th our Council put on our annual Punt, Pass & Kick Competition. 21 Council members worked the event for 86 kids who had a great time. On October 21, 2017 our Council hosted the annual State Punt, Pass & Kick Competition and Soccer Challenge at De Pere High School. 36 Council and Family members worked the event for 86 kids from all over Wisconsin. During the months of October, November and December our Council put on Free Throw Contests at OLOL, Notre Dame, Westwood and Hemlock Creek Schools. 29 Council members put in 100 hours with 668 kids participating. This project was led by Gene & Corey Coonen. We held Corporate Communions at OLOL and St. Francis Parishes on 10/8 and 10/29 respectively with another planned for 2/11/18. On Saturday, October 17th, 11 Council & Family members participated in the "40 Days For Life" in front of the Planned Parenthood facility in Green Bay. At the same time Richard Porior was putting on our Pro-Life Essay Contest at OLOL and Notre Dame Schools. 70 kids participated. Our 49th annual Christmas Tree Sale preparations started on 11/11 with 850 trees delivered. On 11/18 we priced them and the sale began on 11/24, the day after Thanksgiving. We sold 838 trees making a profit of $17,278 for our charity fund. 157 Council and Family members worked 850 hours to make this endeavor a success. We put up our Christmas Crèche on the corner of 8th & Main Ave. in W. de Pere on 11/29 and was viewed by many thousands each day. We also handed out a total of 250 "Keep Christ In Christmas" yard signs after Masses at the three De Pere Parishes. We also started a new program at OLOL by which Council members greet people before the 8:15AM Mass and serve juice & coffee after Mass the third Sunday of each month. Kathy & Ron Kocken put on our Christmas Poster Contest in December with 212 kids participating and they all enjoyed the cookies and juice when the awards were given out. We donated 35 winter coats to De Pere Christian Outreach for their Christmas Program to help those in need. As with every year we start out with State Charity Raffle run by John Wilmet. This year we sold 1504 tickets raising $7520 for the State Charity Fund and received a refund of $3744 for our Charity Fund. Starting the second week in January Ron Van Dyck put our Knowledge Contest in motion with 940 kids participating. We held our "Roses For Life" Program in all three parishes on 1/14/18 and 44 workers raised $1500 for Pro-Life Organizations in the area. Six Council members took part in the Public Service Recognition Program which we support on 2/27. On February 11th we held a membership drive at St. Mary Parish and got 7 prospects. On 3/11/18 we hosted Advanced Degree Ceremonies and advanced 15 men to full Knighthood. We hosted the Diocesan Free throw Contest on February 24th at West De Pere High with 100 kids participating. 41 Council and Family members worked this event. On March 23rd thru the 25th and April 6th the 8th we held our “Tootsie Roll” Event and raised $15,657—the most in the State. As part of our KC Special Peoples Program, which puts on event each month October thru June, their annual formal dinner dance was held at the Swan Club on April 10, 2018. We held our annual Appreciation Night on April 20th with 147 people in attendance and everyone had a great time. This night Pete Nordeen and Fran De Cleene were made Knights of The Year and Troy & Peggy Schneider Family of The Year. During the months of April and May we held 7 “Brat Fry For Teens” events raising $1000 each for the following youth groups: OLOL Youth Ministry, W. De Pere High National Honor Society, “One Degree North” Youth Ministry, and the De Pere High Show Choir. We held the “Ted Fagan Food Drive” on May 9th picking up 1910 bags of food for the food pantries in De Pere. On 5/20/18 33 members cooked a booyah for the OLOL Parish Picnic raising $4200 for the parish. On June 9, 2018 we held the second Knights Golf Tourney with 35 golfers raising $1700 for Notre Dame & OLOL Schools. On 6/23/18 we held the 6th annual Family Fun Day at Bay Beach with 120 people and kids in attendance. In this fraternal year we took in 13 new members and in 2017 we donated $63,000 to charity.
"On July 9, 2018 we held our annual Organizational Meeting led by Grand Knight, Dave Pearson. We continued our Sunday Mass Greeting Program at Our Lady of Lourdes the third Sunday of each month. In August we began our ticket scanning operation at Lambeau Field during Packer games. Over 100 Council and Family members led by Pete Nordeen put in 980 hours over the 11 games and raised over $6500 for our Charity Fund. Our Resch Center Project for 2018-2019 began on July 6th and over the next 11 months we worked over 300 hours during 10 events raising over $5000 for our Charity Fund led by Matt Diederich. At the St. Mary Church Picnic, on 7/22/18, we ran a Car Show led by Council member, Dave Wheeler. July 27th & 28th we ran two brat fries as part of our “Brat Fry For Teens” program and raised $1000 for the W. De Pere High National Honor Society. On August 27th Council members participated in a “Back To School Night” at OLOL School and on the 30th we led a procession from OLOL School to a Mass opening the school year. On September 10th we held a very special Officer Installation with a Mass followed by a pot luck Dinner. 65 people were in attendance and everyone thought it was very nice. The rest of September was very busy as 15 members spent 102 hours repainting the inside of an Ecumenical Housing Home for the poor and 10 members operated the Christian Outreach Store on 9/29. On September 15th 18 members put on our Punt, Pass & Kick Contest with 31 kids participating. During the month of October our Pro-Life Director, Richard Porior, put on our annual Pro Life Essay Contest with 41 participants from Notre Dame & OLOL Schools. We also had 8 Council members march on the “40 Days For Life” march on 10/20/19 in front of the Planned Parenthood facility in Green Bay. We held “Open House Socials” at St. Francis and OLOL Parishes in October. On October 27th we hosted the annual State KC Punt, Pass & Kick Competition and Soccer Challenge at De Pere High School. 40 Council & Family members worked the event with over 100 kids from all over the state. During October, November and December our Council put on Free Throw Contests for 654 kids in Hemlock Creek, Westwood, Notre Dame & OLOL Schools. 30 Council members put in 92 hours to accomplish this. On November 10th we unloaded 809 Christmas Trees for our annual Christmas Tree Sale. On the 17th we opened and priced them and on the 23rd our sale began. We sold 790 tree and made a profit of $17,499 for our Charity Fund. 148 Council & Family members spent 875 hour making this a success. On 12/2/18 we handed out 230 “Keep Christ In Christmas” yard signs after all the Masses at our three parishes. We also donated 50 coats to the Ecumenical Christmas Store Project to give Christmas presents to poor families. We set up out Christmas Crèche at 8th & Main St. where about 20,000 cars pass each day to get out the message of the real meaning of Christmas. During December Kathy & Ron Kocken put on our Christmas Poster Contest for 165 kids at Notre Dame and OLOL Schools. Nine Council and Family members operated the Christian Outreach Store on 12/30/18. As with every year we started out with the State Charity Raffle run by John Wilmet. Our members sold 1746 tickets raising 8730 for charity. Starting the second week in January Ron Van Dyck put our Knowledge Contest in motion with 874 kids participating from 5 local schools. Two of our participants won first place in the state contest. On January 6th we put our Pro-Life Sign on a well-traveled street and on the weekend of January 13th we held our “Roses For Life” Program at St. Francis, St. Mary and OLOL raising $1600 for Pro-Life Organization in the area. On Sunday, 2/17/19, we held our Winter Open House Social at St. Mary Parish with over 200 people in attendance. We held our annual Appreciation Night at the Swan Club on 2/22/19 with 94 Council & Family Members in attendance Tom Basche and Matt Diederich were named Knights of The Year and Pat & Pam Lennon were Family of The Year. Everyone had a great time. Our Council hosted Advanced Degree Ceremonies on Sunday, February 24th, at Our Lady of Lourdes School taking 21 members to full Knighthood. 30 Council & Family Members made this a successful event. We hosted the Diocesan Free Throw Contest on February 23rd at W. De Pere High. 39 Members made it possible for over 100 kids to participate led by Chris Steier. 13 Council and Family members operated the De Pere Christian Outreach Store on 3/30/19 and again on 6/29/19. On April 5th thru the 7th and April 12th thru the 14th we held our annual “Tootsie Roll” Program raising a record $16,539. We held four brat fries in April as part of our “Brat Fry For Teens” Program which raised $1300 each for OLOL Youth Ministry and the W. De Pere High National Honor Society. We hosted the 29th Clergy Night at the Swan Club on April 29th with 90 Priests, Sisters and Brother Knights in attendance. In May we held the “Ted Fagan” Postal Carrier Food Drive with 37 members collecting 1677 bags of food for the St. Mark’s and Christian Outreach Food Pantries. On May 19th 30 Council and Family members prepared and cooked 275 gallons of booyah for the OLOL Parish Picnic raising $4144 for the parish. In this Fraternal Year we took in 13 new members and in 2018 we donated $52,000 to Charity."
On July 8, 2019 we held our annual Organizational meeting led by Grand Knight Pete Nordeen. We continued our Sunday Mass Greeting Program at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish which was now doing at all three Masses on the third Sunday of each month. Council members helped put on a Car Show at St. Mary's Parish Picnic on July 21st led by Dave Wheeler. As part of our "Brat Fry For Teens" Program we put on a brat fry to aid the De Pere High School Show Choir on 7/27 & 7/28/19 and raised $900. In August we began our ticket scanning operation at Lambeau Field during Packer games. Over 100 Council and Family members put 1090 hours over the 12 games and raised over $6500 for our Charity Fund. Our Resch Center Project, which was shortened due to the covid-19 virus, ran from August thru February 2020. 110 Council & Family members participated in this endeavor making $2500 for our Charity Fund. On August 25th 5 Council Members led the procession of students from Our Lady of Lourdes School to a Mass to start the school year. We held our Officers Installation Ceremony with a Mass the evening of 9/9/19 with a pot luck dinner to follow. 52 people were in attendance and everyone had a great time. On 9/14/19 we held our annual Punt, Pass & Kick competition with 70 kids participating. Youth Director, Chris Steier, led the program with 16 members working. Our new program to help those with "Special Needs" called "Dance For Joy" began on September 10th with a potluck dinner and dance. Each month thereafter they had monthly events until March 2020 when covid-19 came along. On Sunday, 9/29/29, we sponsored an Open House Social at St. Frances Parish with 35 people enjoying the coffee, donuts and KC Fraternity. We did the same at Our Lady of Lourdes on Sunday, 10/13/19, with 95 people enjoying the social after the 8:15 Mass. Bob & Ellen Coenen ran both of the socials. During the month of October Pro-Life Director, Richard Porior, put on the Pro-Life Essay Contest with 62 students from OLOL & Notre Dame Schools participating. 10 Members also took part in the "40 Days For Life March" on Oneida St. in Green Bay in front of the Planned Parenthood facility. During the months of October and November, we held our annual Council Free Throw Contest for 605 kids at Hemlock Creek, Westwood, Notre Dame and OLOL Schools. 29 Council Members put this on led by Rick Johnson. On November 10th we unloaded 804 Christmas Trees in 2 hours. We opened and priced the trees on November 23rd and started the sale on November 29th. We had them all sold by December 12th and made the best profit in all the 51 years we have been selling trees-- $19,737.00 which goes to our Charity Fund. It took 145 Council and Family members 890 hours to accomplish this very special event. On the last day of November, the 30th, 10 Council and Family Members operated the De Pere Christian Outreach Store led by John Fink. Our Council donated 30 winter coats and 25 snow pants for children of needy families to the Ecumenical Christmas Store on December 7, 2019. Ron & Kathy Kocken put on our annual Christmas Poster Contest for the kids at Notre Dame and OLOL Schools. This year 162 kids participated. We also set up our Christmas Crèche at the corner of 8th and Main St. in W. De Pere were about 20,000 cars pass each day to get out the message of the real meaning of Christmas. As with every year we started out with the State Charity Raffle run by John Wilmet. Our members sold 1369 tickets raising $6845.00 for Charity. Starting the second week in January, Ron Van Dyck put our Knowledge Contest into motion in seven De Pere Schools with 960 kids participating. On January 7th we put on the Marion Icon Prayer Service for Our Lady Help Of Persecuted Christians with 24 people in attendance. We also put Marion Icon Service on for about 60 Religions Ed students on January 8th. On February 9th we put on an Open House Social at St Mary Parish with over 50 people enjoying the fraternity of the Knights of Columbus. On the weekend of January 12, 2020 our Council put on our annual “Roses For Life a” Program at St. Mary, St. Francis and OLOL Parish raising $1566 for local Pro-Life Organizations. We also put up Our Pro-Life sign on the well-traveled Suburban Dr. in W. De Pere on January 7, 2020. On February 29th 16 Council Members, led by Chris Steier, put on the Green Bay Diocesan Free Throw Contest in which 104 kids participated. On February 25th 8 Council and Family members participated in the De Pere Public Service Recognition Day. On March 7th 7 Council Members repainted the inside rooms of an Ecumenical Partnership In Housing home for a needy family. In May, 4 Council Members put mulch around all the trees, plantings and parking lot islands at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. On the weekends of June 26th 27th & 28th and July 10th, 11th & 12th 2020, our Council put on our annual “Tootsie Roll” Program to help those with intellectual disabilities. 87 Council & Family Members raised $15,144 during this event led by Matt Mueller and Eric Le Brun. Because of the covid-19 virus, all other programs well have in the spring were canceled. In this Fraternal Year we took in 13 new members and donated $53,936 to charity in 2019.
The Covid-19 pandemic cancelled or disrupted the timing of numerous Council activities during 2020-2021 fraternal year, but Council Officers and members worked diligently to hold as many events as possible while keeping our members safe. On July 6, 2020 we held our annual Organizational meeting led by Grand Knight Pete Nordeen. On July 19th, four Council members led by Fran De Cleene cooked 125 gallons of booyah for St. Mary’s Drive-Thru Picnic. 180 gallons of booyah was prepared by Ron Van Dyck and 12 Council and family members on September 26th, raising $4,500 for Our Lady of Lourdes. On August 4th, four members led by Rick Johnson spent 12 hours trimming hedges and bushes on the Our Lady of Lourdes church grounds. As part of our "Brat Fry For Teens" Program, Deputy Grand Knight Pat Lennon organized three brat fries in August and September, during which 56 Council members worked 228 hours to raise $3,613 to aid three youth programs: De Pere High School Show Choir, OLOL Youth Ministry and West De Pere High School National Honor Society. On September 21st, four Council members helped out at the Diederich family farm, working 14 hours placing a plastic cover over silage cow food. Twelve Council and Family members spent 54 hours praying the Rosary from October 6th through October 14th for a Rosary Novena program. During October and November, ten Council members worked 295 hours refinishing and reupholstering 104 chairs for Our Lady of Lourdes church. Our annual Christmas Tree Sale began in November and was the most successful sale in our Council’s history. On November 14th we unloaded 769 Christmas trees in 2 hours. The trees were opened and priced on November 21st and we started the sale on November 27th. All trees were sold by December 10th and a profit of $20,703 was realized on the sale, the highest total in the 52 years we have been selling trees. It took 131 Council and Family members 850 hours to complete the sale, which was featured in the January 2021 issue of the Columbian Magazine. We also set up our Christmas Crèche at the corner of 8th and Main St. in W. De Pere where about 20,000 cars pass each day to get out the message of the real meaning of Christmas. Our Council donated 30 winter coats and 25 snow pants for children of needy families to the Ecumenical Christmas Store in December. As with every year we started out with the State Charity Raffle run by John Wilmet. Our members sold 1,894 tickets raising $9,470 for Charity. Ticket scanning activities for Green Bay Packer games at Lambeau Field were delayed until January when fans were once again allowed to attend. 24 Council members worked 120 hours during the playoff games on January 16th and 24th, raising over $700 for our Charity Fund. On January 30th and June 19th, 18 Council and family members worked at the De Pere Christian Outreach Store sorting and pricing donations for sale. During the month of October Pro-Life Director, Richard Porior, put on the Pro-Life Essay Contest with 13 students from Our of Lady School participating. Several students were recognized at the State level with one receiving the top prize. On October 10, 2020 and March 20, 2021 25 Council and family members also took part in the "40 Days For Life March" on Oneida St. in Green Bay in front of the Planned Parenthood facility. We also put up Our Pro-Life sign on the well-traveled Suburban Dr. in W. De Pere on January 6, 2021. On the weekend of January 16, 2021 our Council put on our annual “Roses For Life a” Program at St. Mary, St. Francis and OLOL Parish raising $1,335 for local Pro-Life Organizations. Our Lady of Lourdes parish held a Fish Fry on February 19. 2021 to raise money for their school. Ten Council and family members worked 50 hours during this very successful event. During the weekends of March 26-28th and April 9th-11th, we held our annual Tootsie Roll Program, soliciting donations at Festival Foods and Piggly Wiggly for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Donations were also solicited at all three De Pere parishes the weekend of April 18, 2021. Including collections from canisters placed at several local businesses, a total of $13,365 was raised. 120 Council and family members led by Matt Mueller and Eric Le Brun worked a total of 415 hours on this program. On April 10, 2021, 12 Council members led by Dale Brown painted the inside of house for the Ecumenical Partnership In Housing (EPH) program. EPH provides affordable housing for needy families. In April and May, our annual Brat Fry for Teens program resumed with three brat fries being held at Festival Foods. 58 Council members led by Deputy Grand Knight Pat Lennon worked 228 hours to raise $4,754 to aid three youth programs: De Pere High School Show Choir, OLOL Youth Ministry and West De Pere High School National Honor Society. On May 23rd, 15 Council and family members worked a total of 50 hours preparing booyah for the OLOL Parish Picnic. On June 22nd, six members led by Rick Johnson spent 20 hours trimming hedges and bushes on the Our Lady of Lourdes church grounds. Our Sunday Mass Greeting Program, held on the 3rd Sunday of every month at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish was on hold until June 20, 2021, when social distancing restrictions were lifted at Masses. Other annual activities and events were effectively canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, including our Resch Center and Dance for Joy projects, as well as our Youth Punt, Pass & Kick and Free Throw competitions. In this Fraternal Year we took in 11 new members and donated $51,768 to charity. At our June 2021 meeting, we held our Officer Elections and Pat Lennon became our Grand Knight
After two years of disruption from the Covid-19 pandemic, Council activities largely returned to normal during 2021-2022 fraternal year. 27 members of our Council spent 80 hours operating a food concession stand at West De Pere High School on July 10th for a “7 on 7 Elite football” tournament earning $1,111 for our charity fund. On July 12th 2021, we held our annual Organizational meeting led by past Grand Knight Pete Nordeen during which Council activities were discussed and scheduled. July 17th marked the first weekend of the fraternal year in which our Council helped with the operation of the De Pere Christian Outreach Store under the leadership of John Fink. Council and family members would spend 614 total hours working at the store one weekend a month throughout the year plus all 5th weekends of any month. Also on the 17th, five Council members prepared an EPH house for a needy family, and during the spring and summer, Council members also cut the lawn at another EHP house. The weekend of July 21st saw Council and Family members greeting parishioners and serving coffee and juice after all masses at Our Lady of Lourdes – an activity continued monthly every 3rd Sunday through May. Under the leadership of Pete Nordeen, our Green Bay Packer ticket scanning program began with Family Night on August 7th. Knights and family members worked a total of 600 hours on 12 games during the season. August 15th was a beautiful day for our annual Family Fun Day at Bay Beach and 80 Knights and family members were in attendance. We undertook a new project of parking cars at the Brown County Fair from August 18th through the 21st with 45 Council members working a total of 346 hours. The March to Mass program was held on September 1st as four Knights led students to the first student mass of the school year at Our Lady of Lourdes. On September 25th, 25 Knights worked 80 hours on our Punt, Pass and Kick tournament, which had 61 participants. During the month of October, Pro-Life Director Richard Porior, put on the Pro-Life Essay Contest with 49 students from Our of Lady School and Notre Dame Schools participating. The weekend of October 3rd, our Council participated in a Ministry Fair at Our Lady of Lourdes distributing information about the Knights of Columbus. This was followed up with a membership drive the weekend of October 18th. On October 9th and April 2nd, 2022 a total of 40 Council and family members took part in the "40 Days For Life March" on Oneida St. in Green Bay in front of the Planned Parenthood facility. Additional Pro-Life activities included putting up our Pro-Life sign on the well-traveled Suburban Drive in West De Pere on January 5th, and on the weekend of January 9th, our Council put on our annual “Roses for Life” Program at St. Mary, St. Francis and OLOL Parish raising $2,028 for local Pro-Life Organizations. Our annual Christmas Tree Sale began in November and was the most successful sale in our Council’s history. On November 13th we unloaded 833 Christmas trees in 2 hours. The trees were opened and priced on November 20th and we started the sale on November 26th. All trees were sold by December 8th and a profit of $21,141 was realized on the sale, the highest total in the 53 years we have been selling trees. It took 142 Council and Family members 900 hours to complete the sale. Our annual Christmas poster contest concluded on December 21st – a total of 216 students participated from Our Lady of Lourdes and Notre Dame grade schools. We also set up our Christmas Crèche at the corner of 8th and Main Street in West De Pere where about 20,000 cars pass each day to get out the message of the real meaning of Christmas. October 21st was the first of six Free Throw Contest events, which continued into February with 899 participants from seven schools. Our Council donated 30 winter coats and 25 snow pants for children of needy families to the Ecumenical Christmas Store in December. As with every calendar year, we started out with the State Charity Raffle run by Ron Van Dyck. Our members sold 1,560 tickets raising $7,800 for charity. On January 10th, 2022, seven members led by Rick Johnson refinished the pew tops at Our Lady of Lourdes church. During the weekend of February 13th, Memorial Prayer cards were distributed at all three De Pere parishes by 26 Knights and family members. The annual Knowledge contest, run by Ron Van Dyck, concluded on February 26th with 448 students participating from eight schools. Our Lady of Lourdes parish held their annual Fish Fry fundraiser during March and we put up a sign on Reed Street to advertise the event. From April 21st through May 19th, led by Chris Thelen, our Council hosted a new program called “Into the Breach” at Our Lady of Lourdes every Sunday night. After a two-year absence, the Clergy and Appreciation Night events were held in April. On the 25th, led by Herb Kocken, 10 Knights and family members hosted 58 Brothers, Sisters and Priests. 96 Knights and family members attended our Appreciation Night at the Swan Club on April 26th. On May 7th, 23 members of our Council directed traffic for the annual “Walk to Mary event. During the weekends of May 15th and May 22nd, we held our annual Tootsie Roll Program, soliciting donations at Festival Foods and Piggly Wiggly for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Donations were also solicited at all three De Pere parishes and including collections from canisters placed at several local businesses, a total of $19,600 was raised providing the funding for several charities including our “Dance for Joy” program which organizes monthly social events for special needs individuals from September through May. In May and July, our annual Brat Fry for Teens program resumed with two brat fries being held at Festival Foods, raising $3,246 to aid youth programs: De Pere High School Show Choir and the OLOL Youth Ministry. 180 gallons of booyah was prepared by Ron Van Dyck and 26 Council and family members on May 14th, raising $5,000 for Our Lady of Lourdes church picnic. On June 7th, six members led by Rick Johnson spent 12 hours trimming hedges and bushes on the Our Lady of Lourdes church grounds. In this Fraternal Year we took in 8 new members and donated $57,739 to charity.
From reading this history of Abbot Pennings Council one can only be impressed with what has been accomplished since the 11 men met in 1954 with the intent of starting a Knights of Columbus Council in De Pere. We have done many wonderful things to show the people in our community what a Christian should be like. We have been dedicated to helping the youth of De Pere and have shown a tremendous compassion for people who are mentally challenged. And, true to our Catholic heritage, we have aided many Seminarians, Priests, Brothers and Religious over the years. We have never stopped helping the elderly, the needy and those people suffering from illness or traumatized by an accident. All that can be said to encompass all the many acts of kindness mentioned, and the hundreds not mentioned, is that God gave us the will to do them and we gave it our best shot.