Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 30, 2007
Knights' top recruiter becomes state deputy
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
The Knights of Columbus of Alberta/ Northwest Territories have elected their top recruiter as their new leader.
Wally Streit, a 64-year-old Edmonton banker who has recruited more than 800 new members for the organization, was elected state deputy at the Knights' annual state convention in Calgary April 20-22. Streit won the position with 71 per cent of the vote, defeating contender Bill Smith of Calgary.
About 500 people, including 190 voting delegates, attended the convention and banquet at the Westin Hotel.
Streit, who replaces Calgary's Peter Wong in the position, was state secretary before being elected as leader of Alberta's 15,500 Knights.
"I'm very excited," he said a day after the convention. "After serving 10 years at the state level in a number of positions it is an honour and a privilege to be elected state deputy for the next Columbian year."
Also elected along with Streit was Edmonton's Neil Gannon as state secretary, Brad Cody of St. Albert as state treasurer, Gary Johnson of St. Albert as state advocate and Jim Myhre of Calgary as state warden. They will all be installed in their positions in Red Deer June 16.
A member of the Father Bonner Council at St. Thomas More Parish, Streit is senior assistant vice president of the Canadian Western Bank. He and his wife Eileen have been married for 40 years and have three adult children - Michael, Lisa and Valerie - and two grandchildren, Keira and Jaiden.
"I think he'll be a very good state deputy," said Gannon, who replaces Streit as state secretary. "He is very dedicated and ready to put in the time required to do the job."
500 new members
One of Streit's top priorities during his first year is to increase the Knights' membership by 500 new members. And Gannon bets he will do it. "He is the top recruiter in the entire order," he pointed out. "He does it by visiting the parishes and working with the local knights at the parish level."
Streit has recruited 809 members in the past nine years and at the banquet he was awarded a plaque in recognition of his work.
"And I really only started keeping track in 1998," he boasted.
A successful banker who spent over 30 years working with the Royal Bank in four provinces, Streit is also skilled at raising funds. Under his leadership St. Thomas More Parish raised over $1.3 million prior to the church being built. And last fall Streit played a key role in raising over $500,000 through a gala dinner for the Priests' Retirement Fund.
A native of The Pas, Man., Streit has lived in Edmonton for 19 years. He joined the Knights in Chatham, Ont., some 30 years ago.
"I was attracted by the order's principles of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism and in particular the service to the Catholic Church," he said. "Over the years I have come to the same conclusion as the hierarchy of the Church - that the Knights of Columbus is good for Catholic men, good for families and good for the Church."
Another of Streit's objectives as state deputy is to increase the profile of the Knights of Columbus in the Alberta/Northwest Territories jurisdiction as well as to enhance the order's service to the Church and community.
"Being a member of the Knights of Columbus means an ongoing reinforcement of our faith," he said. "I am continually impressed with the quality and goodness of so many knights and their families and their service to the Church."
During the convention the Knights approved a resolution calling on the federal government to set up a $100-million endowment fund to assist victims of human trafficking.
About one million women and children are being trafficked for labour and sexual exploitation throughout the world each year. The Knights want Ottawa to pass legislation to provide medical and psychological assistance to victims of this crime.
The Knights also awarded several awards at their convention. The family of the year award went to the family of Ferdinand and Merle Mendita of Edmonton. Nazareno Council, a Filipino council in Edmonton, won the fraternal council of the year award. The knight of the year award went to Adam Petryshyn of St. Albert's Brother Anthony Council and Emmerson Smith of Sacred Heart Council 6839 in Wetaskiwin won the grand knight of the year award.