By Ian Perrotta
You don’t have to have a home to be hospitable. Just ask Hamtramck’s Knights of Columbus.
Despite losing their hall on Conant St., the Knights of Columbus have not lost their willingness to help out. The organization continues to remain active in charitable work throughout the Hamtramck and Detroit communities.
“We don’t do it for attention or recognition,” says Dan Finwall, Deputy Grand Knight of the Hamtramck chapter. “We do it because we’re men.”
So what is it that they do?
Last fall the organization went to work fixing up homes for seniors living in Hamtramck and nearby Detroit neighborhoods. They teamed up to do painting, electrical work, fix a roof and do other minor repairs. Quietly and without fanfare, K of C members made a profound difference in the lives of many.
But that isn’t all they do. They also hold charitable outings and donate the proceeds to worthwhile organizations like Boysville, a Catholic organization that provides emergency long-term care for at-risk children. In January, they fed seniors at St. Patrick’s church in Detroit. And in a more recognizable role, the Knights sell Tootsie Rolls on the street to benefit the mentally handicapped.
All of this has been going on for years – 80 to be exact. In fact, today (Feb. 19) marks the Knights’ 80th anniversary in Hamtramck. Over that period the Knights have seen their share of highs and lows. For a long time Hamtramck was known as the “Council of Champions” because of their unparalleled success in baseball and bowling. As recently as five years ago the Knights had a 10-year-long streak as champions of Hamtramck’s softball league. But financial hardships led to a loss of their building and a low-point for the organization.
However, things are looking up. Even as a parish council – a council without a physical location – the organization is still 300 members strong. Though they currently meet at the convent at St. Ladislaus, they are working on finding a more permanent location. And while that remains uncertain, one thing is for sure: the Knights of Columbus will continue to have a positive presence in the City of Hamtramck – hopefully for at least another 80 years to come.
If you are a Catholic male interested in joining the Knights contact Dan Finwall at (313) 289-7656.