Haywood County Knights receive high honors
Members of the Knights of Columbus Council #15085 received high honors at the state conference held in Charlotte May 16-18. The council includes members from St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Waynesville and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Canton.
John LaFata was selected as State Knight of the Year, and Chuck Luce received the honor of Golden Knight of the Year (for those with a minimum of 15 years of service). LaFata and Luce were recognized out of a membership of 16,000 Knights in North Carolina.
“Dr. LaFata consistently demonstrated faithful, loyal and zealous service to the country, our church, our order, his parish, his council, and the community,” said Lonnie Pizza, the council’s Grand Knight. “Despite a demanding professional work schedule and chairmanship of the Physician Leadership Council for MedWest Physician’s Network, Dr. LaFata assists his elderly neighbor whenever and wherever the need arises.”
He also supports the Salvation Army, Special Olympics, Manna Food Bank, Community Kitchen Food Bank, Catholic Relief, Compassion, Christian Foundation for Children and Age and the Smokey Mountain Pregnancy Care Center.
LaFata is involved within the parish as Eucharistic minister, lector, and facilitates the scripture studies Sunday session. Additionally, he aids his wife, Margaret, in teaching Catechism class for Confirmation and Wednesday Bible Study.
A specialist in internal medicine, LaFata practices medicine at Mountain Medical Associates in Clyde. He served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps for 8 and-a-half years and was honorably discharged with the rank of Major.
Luce has been a member of the Knights of Columbus for 27 years, and is a charter member of Council #15085.
Appointed council lector, Luce is responsible for providing a spiritual/educational program at monthly meetings during "For the Good of the Order" time.
“Chuck Luce’s contributions are many,” said Pizza. “He is the editor of the council's monthly newsletter and is a member of the council's First Degree Exemplification Team, inducting new members into the council. He assists in the annual LAMB drive (Tootsie Rolls), by collecting funds from the public to provide support for organizations in Haywood County in the area of special needs, such as the ARC and Special Olympics.”
Luce attends daily and Sunday Mass with his wife, Dot. He serves as a lector, Eucharistic minister and a member of the choir. In addition, Luce assists with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program, which brings new members into the Roman Catholic faith community.
Luce is also the founder and co-director of the St. John’s team at The Open Door in Frog Level. The team prepares, serves and cleans up the noon meal on the second and fourth Monday each month. Luce retired from U. S. Army, with 20 years of service, with the rank of Lt. Colonel.
In addition to the individual awards, the council itself received the State Deputy Award for 2013-14, which recognizes the overall performance of the council. This is the highest honor a council can receive. Council #15085 was the only council in the state to receive this award. The council received five other awards at the conference.
“It was well-deserved recognition for the tireless and dedicated effort our council members gave to support their order, church and community,” Pizza said.