Knight of the Year
Selfless community work earns Pasadena’s Paddy McNeil prestigious Knights of Columbus honour
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)
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.