Eight Knights of Columbus to be honored at dinner April 9

KICKAPOO — Eight members of the Knights of Columbus from around the Diocese of Peoria will be honored at the 23rd annual “Night of Knights” recognition dinner on Saturday, April 9, at St. Mary’s Parish here.

Sponsored by the Peoria Diocese Chapter Knights of Columbus, the event recognizes members for outstanding service to the organization, the church, and their communities.

Serving as host for the 2011 “Night of Knights” will be Bishop Rosati Council No. 5034 of Kickapoo/Edwards.

The evening will begin with a 5 p.m. Mass at St. Mary’s Church, 9910 W. Knox St. A social period will follow Mass at St. Mary’s School, with dinner served at 6:45 p.m.

Dinner tickets are $22 and must be purchased no later than April 2. There will be no tickets sold at the door. For ticket information, call Hank Martin at (815) 672-1576.

Those to be recognized at the evening’s program include:

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STANLEY E. BANASZEK
Leo Council No. 716, East Moline

A member of the Knights of Columbus for 31 years and a past grand knight, he has been in charge of the council’s Lenten fish fries for several years. He also has chaired the council’s free throw contests and has assisted with the candy drive for persons with intellectual disabilities.

Banaszek is the council’s round table contact for St. Anne’s Parish, coordinating the recent donation of a snow blower to the parish. Involved in council participation in the fiestas at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, he works with the county on voting day and assists with early voting. He has served on the school board for Our Lady of Grace Academy and serves on the Rock Island Vicariate Catholic Schools Board of Trustees.

He and his wife, Betty, have been married for more than 50 years and have eight children.

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FATHER JOSEPH DONDANVILLE
Bishop Rosati Council No. 5034, Kickapoo/Edwards

A 17-year member and strong advocate for the Knights of Columbus, Father Dondanville serves as chaplain and spiritual adviser for his council. He has also been chaplain for Immaculate Conception Council No. 1047 in Ivesdale.

He is dedicated to right to life causes and for seven years has chaperoned high school students in Washington, D.C., at the March for Life. He has also sponsored speakers on right to life topics to help youth appreciate the urgency of our responses to current trends.

Ordained in 1995, he is pastor of St. Mary’s Parish in Kickapoo. He has also served the diocese as parochial vicar of Holy Cross, Mendota, and as pastor of St. Mary’s, East Moline, St. Patrick’s, Tolono, and St. Joseph’s, Ivesdale, and is former chaplain of The High School of Saint Thomas More, Champaign. He is a member of the Village Board of Kickapoo.

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TOM DUBOIS
Bishop Rosati Council No. 5034, Kickapoo/Edwards

A 58-year member, DuBois has served his council as deputy grand knight and financial secretary. He is past chairman of council committees that organized family holiday celebrations and activities including Easter egg hunts, dinners, and fundraisers.

At St. Mary’s Parish he has been an usher, trustee, parish committee member, groundskeeper, maintenance worker, a member of the Men’s Club, and has assisted with many parish dinners and fundraisers.

DuBois is also a groundskeeper at St. Patrick’s Cemetery and volunteers with upkeep and maintenance at historic St. Patrick’s Church located there. He has served on the St. Mary’s School Board.

A 2004 recipient of the Diocese of Peoria’s Pere Marquette Award, he has been recognized by the American Red Cross for his volunteerism as well as blood and apheresis donations. He and his wife, Lois, have been married for 56 years and have five children.

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KENNETH E. FLENER
Father Thomas Carmody Council No. 6498, Normal

A charter member of his council with 54 years as a Knight, Flener has been honored as Knight of the Month many times and as Knight of the Year. He coordinates the council’s participation in the annual Jaycees Christmas parade and organizes the setup of the outside Nativity scene at church after the parade. He also leads the council’s aluminum can drive to support Epiphany Catholic Grade School programs.

Active at his parish as an usher and money counter, he also helps with grounds upkeep and maintenance projects. Flener volunteers at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center and has been honored as Volunteer of the Year by the hospital. In addition, he has helped repair and refurbish furniture and appliances at the local Habitat for Humanity warehouse and has volunteered as a driver for the St. Vincent de Paul food bank.

He and his wife, Veronica, have been married for 57 years and they had one child, who is deceased.

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THORN A. KEENE
St. Clement Council No. 12407, Dunlap

Currently financial secretary of his council, he led the charge to develop a council budget and rewrite the council by-laws. He also coordinated the council’s volunteer efforts during the March Madness Experience at the IHSA boys’ state basketball finals in Peoria, and has been recognized with the “Over and Above the Rim” Award for his voluntary efforts there. He is an 18-year IHSA basketball official and is a member of the IESA officials’ advisory committee. Keene coaches youth basketball and softball in Dunlap and donates his time by officiating at Special Olympics events.

A multiple-year volunteer for Junior Achievement, Keene is also cubmaster of his son’s Cub Scout Pack.

He and his wife, Connie, have been married for 13 years and they have three children. Keene is a nine-year member of the Knights of Columbus.

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WILLIAM J. ROGERS
Msgr. E.L. Grzybowski Council No. 7580, East Peoria

A 26-year member of the Knights of Columbus, Rogers is treasurer for his council. He initiated the council’s “Keep Christ in Christmas” poster contest and has chaired the program for two years. A volunteer at events including the candy drive for persons with disabilities, pork chop fries, and the Nativity scene setup and take down at the East Peoria Festival of Lights, he has been honored as a Knight of the Month and his family was honored by the council as Family of the Year for fraternal year 2008-09.

Rogers has served as the Annual Diocesan Appeal chairman at St. Monica’s Parish, where he is also an altar server, collection counter, and provides adult leadership and guidance to the parish youth group.

He is a supporter of the East Peoria High School Band Boosters Club and serves as treasurer and committee member for Boy Scout Troop 147 in East Peoria. He and his wife, Mary, have been married for 26 years and have three children.

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BERNIE J. SMITH
Father John Raho Council No. 4194, Morton

Smith has served as the editor and producer of his council’s monthly newsletter for more than 25 years. A 34-year member of the Knights of Columbus, he is referred to as a “peacemaker” for providing harmony and building consensus in council decisions. He has been active in the council’s Appalachia Support Program and on five occasions joined volunteers for a week in Louisa, Ky., with the program.

He serves on the art and environment committee of Blessed Sacrament Parish, where he has also organized the “Pennies for Life” campaign, coordinated public relations for parish events, and served on the parish’s pro-life committee. He has been a member of the Respect Life Board of the Diocese of Peoria for 30 years and has also volunteered his time with Junior Achievement, Teens Encounter Christ, and the Boy Scouts.

He and his wife, Mary Ellen, have been married for 50 years and have four children.

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JAMES WYGLE
Msgr. E.L. Grzybowski Council No. 7580, East Peoria

His council’s financial secretary for 12 years, Wygle has been honored as Knight of the Month several times, as Knight of the Year in 2010, and his family was recognized by the council as Family of the Year in 2003. He has chaired the candy drive for persons with intellectual disabilities for the past four years, expanding the collection sites and pool of volunteers to include local high school students and Eureka College Newman Center students.

Wygle helps collect funds for the Charlie Breakfast Club that helps support St. Monica’s food pantry, and has been parish chairman for the Annual Stewardship Appeal for two years. At the parish he also serves as a sacristan and assists with cleanup, repair, and maintenance of parish buildings and grounds.

He and his wife, Andrea, have been married for 17 years and help with a Peoria-based literacy program, “Look, It’s My Book.” Wygle is a 13-year member of the Knights of Columbus.

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