Knight of the Year

Self­less com­mu­nity work earns Pasadena’s Paddy McNeil pres­ti­gious Knights of Columbus hon­our

The Western Star - - FRONT PAGE - GARY KEAN

PASADENA, N.L. — Dur­ing his RCMP sergeant days, Paddy McNeil served his com­mu­nity by help­ing solve se­ri­ous crimes and re­mov­ing per­pe­tra­tors from the streets.

Now re­tired, the Pasadena resident still con­trib­utes pos­i­tively for the pub­lic good, al­beit in a far dif­fer­ent way.

For his tire­less com­mit­ment to vol­un­teerism in his com­mu­nity as a mem­ber of the Knights of Columbus, McNeil was re­cently hon­oured by be­ing named Knight of the Year in New­found­land and Labrador.

McNeil, who serves as deputy grand knight, pro­gram di­rec­tor and faith in ac­tion di­rec­tor for the Arch­bishop Neil McNeil Coun­cil 8555 in Pasadena, isn’t just there to of­fer his time and en­ergy. He has also brought a steady flow of new ideas and, hope­fully, re­cruits to the Ro­man Catholic men’s or­ga­ni­za­tion.

For in­stance, he re­cently im­ple­mented a record sys­tem for all knights to help keep track of their re­spec­tive ac­tiv­i­ties as­so­ci­ated with the Knights of Columbus and its pro­grams.

He not only is a stal­wart vol­un­teer at the group’s weekly bingo fundraiser but even in­tro­duced a new game to bring in ex­tra rev­enue. In ad­di­tion, he man­aged to source an af­ford­able re­place­ment for the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s run­down bingo ma­chine and then, to save on ship­ping costs, vol­un­teered to drive to Nova Sco­tia to get it.

That trip ended up tak­ing five days be­cause in­clement weather re­sulted in Gulf ferry de­lays, but McNeil only asked to have his gaso­line costs paid.

McNeil and two other mem­bers spear­headed the paint­ing of the en­tire hall’s in­te­rior and has taken steps to­wards form­ing a build­ing main­te­nance com­mit­tee to fa­cil­i­tate fu­ture work on their premises.

On the re­cruit­ment side, McNeil re­cently or­ga­nized a gath­er­ing of Catholic men from the area and helped hand-de­liver in­vi­ta­tions to 60 peo­ple iden­ti­fied as po­ten­tial can­di­dates to join the Knights of Columbus.

Half of those men showed up to the meet­ing and the hope is some will join.

In ad­di­tion to help­ing out at Holy Rosary Parish in Pasadena, dur­ing masses and with church fundrais­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, McNeil has served on the sex­ual mis­con­duct com­mit­tee for the Ro­man Catholic Dio­cese of Corner Brook for the last seven years.

McNeil’s vol­un­teerism reaches fur­ther into the com­mu­nity in gen­eral. He is an ac­tive mem­ber of the Hum­ber Val­ley Se­nior Cit­i­zens Club, in­volved with ev­ery­thing from rais­ing funds to pre­par­ing meals, and is the Knights of Columbus coun­cil’s li­ai­son with the lo­cal food bank.

He was in­stru­men­tal in bring­ing to­gether the RCMP Veter­ans As­so­ci­a­tion of New­found­land and Labrador, the Knights of Columbus, the Li­ons Club and

the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion to or­ga­nize a Com­mu­nity Christmas Feast. That event fed around 300 peo­ple at no cost to those who at­tended. He helped a girls’ base­ball team from Pasadena raise money to bring a team from Cuba to Pasadena. They raised enough money to buy score­boards for two ball­fields in town.

Last win­ter, the Town of Pasadena chose McNeil and his wife, San­dra, to be the pa­trons for the Pasadena Win­ter Car­ni­val cel­e­bra­tions for their in­volve­ment in the com­mu­nity.

Most re­cently, McNeil has spear­headed a free gui­tar camp, held weekly at the Knights of Columbus hall, for folks of all ages who want to learn how to play the in­stru­ment. (For a fea­ture story on the Mu­sic and Friends Gui­tar Camp or­ga­nized by McNeil, see in­side)

GARY KEAN/THE WESTERN STAR

Paddy McNeil of Pasadena crams a whole lot of vol­un­teer­ing into his re­tire­ment life and it hasn’t gone un­no­ticed by the Knights of Columbus.

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