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Price Knights of Columbus garner statewide service award

Sun Advocate reporter

Grand Knight Mike Martinez holds a copy of booklet that won his council first place in a statewide Knights of Columbus event.

A chronicle of the Knights of Columbus members' efforts to those in need during the Crandall Mine disaster has netted the council a first place award in a statewide contest held last month and is now headed for a national competition.

Mike Martinez, Grand Knight, of the Giavonnoni Council 6147 submitted a booklet containing pictures and a lengthy story detailing the work done by the members during those 26 dark days last summer. The information about the community service project was judged by the 11 Utah councils.

"I'm Mike Martinez, Grand Knight of Council 6147. I'll tell you the events as I remember them from Aug. 6 to Sept. 1. A hell we won't forget," his story begins.

Martinez recounts the first days of the tragedy when the community first learned that the six miners were trapped and a frantic effort brought heavy equipment to the site in an effort to extract the miners. He tells of the repeated setbacks and the "bounces" from the mine that derailed the attempts.

During the days when hope was the glue holding families and the community together, the members of council 6147 stepped in to provide assistance wherever possible, according to Martinez. One of the first things the council did was come to the aid of Father Don Hope from Notre Dame de Lourdes in Price.

Martinez said that the council found out the father was using his own credit card to cover the cost of supplies he was giving the miners' families.

In response 6147 raised $800 and then enlisted the help of the Knights of Supreme Council. By the end of the fundraising effort more than $16,000 was raised for Father Hope to disseminate as he saw a need.

In addition to supporting the father the members of 6147 assisted with traffic control, parking and directing people for the masses and prayer services held at Mission San Rafael in Huntington.

The members also kept a stream of water and beverages moving from Price to Huntington for the media who camped out night and day waiting to hear about the fate the miners.

Overall the Knights were at the Mission providing support services where needed from setting up chairs to shopping for and delivering food to the families of the trapped miners.

What has grown into an international organization with 13,000 councils and 1.7 million members, started in the basement of a church in 1881 in New England. According to history found on a small group of men met in a basement of St. Mary's Church on Hillhouse Avenue in New Haven, Conn. Called together by their 29-year-old parish priest Father Michael McGivney, these men formed a fraternal society that would one day become the world's largest Catholic family fraternal service organization."

Based on the ideal of Christopher Columbus, who they attribute with bringing Christianity to the New World, the Knights of Columbus were officially born on March 29, 1882.

"We are a completely charitable organization in its 126th year," Martinez said. "Our council is as old as Price itself."

In addition, to the Crandall Mine disaster, 6147 members are busy all year round giving back to the community, according to Martinez.

"We help widows, bring food baskets to shut ins and people who are sick and we visit the care centers and give flowers out on Mother's Day," he said.

As for Crandall mine, Martinez states in his story that he had a personal connection to the tragedy.

"I knew these men because I worked in this mine for sometime myself. I worked in the coal mines for 36 years and I know when one goes underground to make a living and does this day after day it hits home and you know that someday you might not come out of that hole and return home to your loved ones," he states in story.

If 6147 wins the national convention, Martinez will then travel to Quebec for the Supreme Convention later this year.

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