Colorado Knights band together to help elderly in crisis
Linda Oppelt
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Colorado Knights band together to help elderly in crisis

By Deacon Ed DeMattee

As we begin this New Year with optimism and thanksgiving for all the blessings God has given us, we also are still savoring our recent memories of this past holiday season surrounded by friends, family and loved ones. We may have been so wrapped up in the spirit of the season that we were not able to take time to recognize or help those less fortunate among us as much as we would have liked. 

There were some who did take time, who unselfishly give of their precious moments away from their family, who answered the call to help a brother and sister in need as part of the Knights of Columbus Faith in Action Program. This response came from the honorable men of the Church — men who are members of the Knights of Columbus.

These men, dedicated to our Blessed Mother and faithful servants of Christ and his Church, helped Robert (not his real name), a decorated 78-year-old Vietnam Veteran, and Martha (not her real name), an  80-year-old Gold Star widow of a Vietnam MIA/POW soldier, by following the Knights’ motto of “No Neighbor Left Behind.”  When called, Knights from ten councils and three Fourth Degree Assemblies, spread across the Archdiocese of Denver and the Dioceses of Colorado Springs and Pueblo, responded.

The first request came in early November, when the Diocese of Colorado Springs received a request to help Robert. He is a disabled veteran who has also recovered from six heart attacks, is a cancer survivor, serves as a mentor to other disabled veterans, and has also been a foster parent to over 100 foster children. Robert recently became a victim of identity theft, and he and his wife were soon to become homeless, forced to leave their Colorado Springs home and move into a friend’s home in Pueblo. 

With only a few days’ notice, Bob Knapp (District Marshal and member of Council No. 11514 at St. Peter Parish in Monument), Rick Wilson (Past Grand Knight and Treasurer of Council No. 4636 at St. Dominic Parish in Security), and Cliff Brown (District Marshal and member of Bishop Arthur Tafoya Council No. 12020 at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Pueblo West) coordinated his move from Colorado Springs to Pueblo.

In mid-December, the Diocese of Colorado Springs received another request to help Martha, who lived alone in an apartment and required hip replacement surgery after a fall. She would need to be relocated to an assisted living facility. 

With only a few days notice, Rick Eddy (Grand Knight) and Ron Polomsky (Lectures and Director of Faith in Action) of Council No. 8909 at St. Francis of Assisi in Castle Rock assisted in organizing this effort. Joe Bock and Ron Shaffer, members of Council No. 10205 at St. Thomas More Parish in Littleton, and Deacon Chris Tranchetti of Bishop Evans Council No. 10122 at Our Lady of Loreto in Aurora, coordinated the packing and moving of Martha’s household effects from her apartment in Littleton to a storage unit in Aurora. Knight Mark Cucarola, also from Council No. 8909, arranged the storage of Martha’s vehicle.

As of the publication of this article, Martha is enjoying living in a veterans assisted living facility in Limon.

The Military Outreach Ministry for the Diocese of Colorado Springs covered cost for rental vehicles, storage fees and insurance, as well as other expenses involved in both moves. After the moves, both Robert and Martha said they could not express enough their appreciation to the Knights of Columbus for the help and assistance provided.

(Deacon Ed DeMattee is coordinator of the Diocese of Colorado Springs’ Military Outreach Ministry and serves at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Castle Rock.)

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