‘Night of Knights’ to honor eight from diocese on April 14

PEKIN — Eight members of the Knights of Columbus from around the Diocese of Peoria will be honored at the 24th annual “Night of Knights” recognition dinner on Saturday, April 14.

Archbishop Schlarman Council No. 3507 in Pekin will host the 24th annual event at its clubhouse, 715 N. 11th St.

The evening is sponsored by the Peoria Diocese Chapter Knights of Columbus to recognize members for outstanding service to the organization, the church, and their communities.

It begins at 5 p.m. with Mass at St. Joseph’s Church, 303 S. Seventh St. A social period will follow Mass at 6:30 p.m. at the clubhouse, with dinner served at 7 and the program concluding the evening.

Ticket information for the “Night of Knights” dinner is available by calling Herb Bingham at (309) 691-8324. Dinner tickets are $22 each, and must be purchased no later than April 2. There will be no tickets sold at the door.

The 2012 honorees include:

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

A 17-year member, he is a strong advocate for the Knights of Columbus and the spiritual growth of its members. Msgr. Kruse serves as vicar general for the Diocese of Peoria and pastor at St. Monica’s Parish, East Peoria.

Ordained in 1996, he has also served at parishes in Pekin, Camp Grove, Wyoming, Toulon, Granville, Hennepin, Mendota, Peterstown, and Earlville.
A former assistant vocations director and vice chancellor for the diocese and vicar of the LaSalle vicariate, Msgr. Kruse has a degree in canon law and serves as adjutant vicar general of the diocesan tribunal.


Spalding Council No. 427, Peoria

A 20-year member, he is currently chief councilor for the council’s Columbian Squires Circle, a regular recruiter for the council and the Squires, and captains a station for the Intellectual Disabilities (ID) Drive. He has been his council’s Knight of the Month and Family of the Month. A member of the Fourth Degree, he is also a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem and a recipient of the Diocese of Peoria’s Pere Marquette Award.

Berlinger has served as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, lector, and parish council member at St. Philomena’s, Peoria, and currently serves as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion and lector at St. Mary’s Cathedral. He is chairperson on the board for St. Joseph’s Home, Lacon, has helped raise funds for juvenile diabetes, and is working on a project to deliver supplies to Tanzania.

He and his wife, Kathy, have been married for 25 years and have four children.


Father Marquette Council No. 1775, Utica

Charter grand knight of St. Mary’s-by-the-Lake Council, DePue, Dekowski currently serves Father Marquette Council as treasurer. A 46-year Knight, he is a member of his council’s First Degree team, past faithful navigator, and edits the assembly newsletter. He is a former District Deputy and serves as a member of the KC Academy and Bishop Sheen Degree Team.

Dekowski is an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion at St. Mary’s and St. Valentine’s parishes in Peru, the church choir, and its Holy Name Society. He has been active in Cursillo and TEC programs. An American Red Cross instructor and board member, he is also active in Scouting serving as an Eagle Scout Chairman, District Awards Chairman, and Wood Badge member. He has received the St. George Award.

Father John Raho Council No. 4194, Morton

A 31-year member, he is a past grand knight of his council and a recipient of its Father Finnell Award and Louis Hofer Volunteer of the Year Award. He is a tireless contributor to the bingo program and an active volunteer for the monthly council area-wide pickups and shipments for the Father Beiting Appalachia Project.

Eason is an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion and lector at Blessed Sacrament Parish, and also served as a CCD teacher and member of the parish council, fellowship committee, and finance committee. He has been active with the Morton Chamber of Commerce and Kiwanis, served as president of Morton Progress, and is a frequent volunteer at the Morton Pumpkin Festival.

He and his wife, Karen, have been married for 50 years and have seven children.


Leo Council No. 716, East Moline

A 31-year member, he is a past grand knight and has also served his council as financial secretary, bingo board officer, and president of the building board. Militello has chaired the ID Drive for 23 years, edited the newsletter for 22, and chaired the essay contest for 10. A former council Knight of the Year, he is active in the Fourth Degree serving as captain of the honor guard and is a former District Deputy and star district award winner.

Militello is an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion and lector at Christ the King Parish, Moline, and has assisted with parish social and fundraising events. He has volunteered his time and talents for the Festival of Trees, Toys for Tots, Salvation Army, and the John Deere Classic golf tournament. He has been a guardian on a WWII Honor Flight and sets up flags each Memorial Day at Arsenal Island Cemetery.

He has been married to his wife, Marti, for 45 years.


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

A 31-year member, past grand knight, and a charter member of his council, he is responsible for the nativity display that is used by the East Peoria Festival of Lights at Christmas time. He also heads the council’s fish fry cleanup crew, is a tireless membership recruiter, and has been recognized as council Knight of the Month multiple times and Knight of the Year twice.

Salzer serves as an usher at St. Monica’s Parish, volunteers at the parish food pantry, and has been a member of the Parish Advisory Board. He has been a Cub Scout leader and grade school volunteer, and was recognized as the Construction Person of the Year in 2007 by the local labor management council for improving labor relations.

He and his wife, Barb, have been married for 37 years and have three children.


Father Bill Betson Council No. 11977, Moline

A 14-year member and current District Deputy and warden for the Peoria Diocese Chapter, he is a past grand knight and current trustee of his council. Scott is a member of the council’s First Degree team and several other council committees, and is recipient of the State Deputy’s Medallion.

He has led the Gloria Ensemble at Christ the King Parish, Moline, for 11 years and is active in the Angel Tree and Mitten Drive programs. Deeply involved in TEC, he also provides music for Ultreya and Cursillo Masses. Scott is a member of the Catholic School Board, a past president of the Notre Dame Club, and volunteers time for United Way and Birdies for Charity.

He and his wife, Patty, have been married for 18 years and have one child.


Father Thomas Carmody Council No. 6498, Normal

A 30-year member and current District Deputy, he is a past grand knight and former financial secretary of his council. Tellman helped organize the council’s First Degree team. He has coordinated its ID Drive for nine years and St. Patrick’s Day dinner for seven. He has recruited 25 new members for his council and has earned the Knight of the Month and Knight of the Year awards from his council.

An extraordinary minister of Holy Communion and usher at Epiphany Parish, he maintains the kitchen in the parish hall, has taught CCD, served on the parish finance council, and coordinated Fellowship Sunday for the parish. He has been actively involved in Boy Scouts and YMCA, and volunteers weekly at Recycle for Families.

He and his wife, Joyce, have been married for 43 years and have two children.

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