Morning Sun
  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Arma/Girard Knights of Columbus donate to Special Olympics

  • The Girard and Arma Knights of Columbus are knights in shining armor for New Hope Special Olympics.

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  • The Girard and Arma Knights of Columbus are knights in shining armor for New Hope Special Olympics.
    Herman Masser, grand knight of Council 7607, comprised of members in Arma and Girard,  presented a check Thursday to John Lair, New Hope Services program director and volunteer Special Olympics coach.
    “The check was for $260, which represents 80 percent of the proceeds from our Tootsie Roll drive,” Masser said. “The other 20 percent goes to State Special Olympics.”
    He said that the annual drive was first set as close as possible to the original Columbus Day, Oct. 12, 1492, made his first landfall on this side of the Atlantic.
    “Other organizations had their special projects and I always thought the Knights of Columbus should have something,” Masser said. “Then they came up with the Tootsie Roll drive.”
    The drive was started by three Knights in Tinley Park, Ill., a Chicago suburb, who had the same thought as Masser. The idea of choosing a beneficiary for the drive, organizations which serve the developmentally disabled, came because one of the three men had a daughter with developmental disabilities.
    The Knights wanted to give people something for their donations, and chose Tootsie Rolls, made by a Chicago-based candy company. The first drive, held in 1970, was a huge success and brought in $30,000. The project became a statewide effort of Knights of Columbus councils in Illinois, and gradually was adopted by other states as well.
    Lair said that Masser was able to meet athletes Lyn Carson and Carole Alexander, who have both been involved in Special Olympics for more than 25 years.
    “We appreciate this so much,” he said. “I believe we’ll be using the money to purchase adaptive track and field equipment.”
    Lair noted that, along with athletics, New Hope Special Olympics, is also becoming involved with the fitness and health benefits to athletes.
    “One of our athletes was able to lose 100 pounds,” he said.
    Lair also shared with Masser details of the upcoming Polar Plunge fundraiser on Saturday.
    “We’ll be  having a 5K at 9:30 a.m., a chili cook-off at the First Church of the Nazarene and the plunge at noon at Crimson  Villa,” he said. “We’ve got about 200 plungers, which is the most we’ve ever had.”
    Lair added that Scott Ball, returning from the Special Olympics World Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, plans to be at the plunge.
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