I'm pleased and ever so excited to announce that the Davis Assembly 271 of our Iowa District has been awarded one of three Supreme "To Be a Patriot" Awards for the 2020-2021 fraternal year. The awards were announced during the Supreme Convention Awards session August 4th 2021.
Congratulations to Sir Knights John Zweibahmer and Larry Hauber who led the way in the development of the Patriotic Prayer Garden located next to the Catholic church in Decorah Iowa.
Knights of Columbus Decorah Iowa Council 4208 –Davis Assy. Fourth Degree Prayer/Memorial Garden
In 2018, after the completion of the church remodeling, renovation and addition, at St. Benedicts Church in Decorah Iowa, there was one more project remaining, that was needed to be completed. On the Church property, was a vacant corner lot, that needed to be used to complete the St Benedicts Church campus. There were many discussions of how to use this lot. Many plans were offered. A parking lot, office, house, or just leave as is, but in the end, the idea was agreed on that this property would be best used for a prayer / memorial garden. But who would organize, plan and implement this idea? Who else but the men of our parish. The Knights of Columbus.
The Knights of Columbus cleared off the lot, and drew a plan, reviewed it, and started off the great project. A large cross, twenty foot in length, and fifteen foot in width, was constructed at the base of the lot, laying brick to form this cross. Extending from the cross are round cement pads, representing the rosary beads. Towards the rear of the garden, there was constructed a large retaining decorative cement wall, with a sidewalk to accommodate the those that needs an easier entry. Cement pads were formed and installed for the statues. A pergola made of cedar was constructed, along with a sidewalk to enter the pergola, for wheel chair accessibility.
Statues of Mary, St. Joseph and St. Jude were ordered and installed on the pads.
There is a statue of Jesus hugging a Veteran made, which stands 8’ tall, and setting along this is a 20’ flag pole, which flies our American Flag 24/7. This represents the 4th degree for Patriotism.
Electrical lines and LED lights were installed, to auto light all the statues, pergola, cross and garden. A large pergola was built out of cedar for many to relax and pray. Benches were ordered, put together and are set thru out the garden for people to relax. In the center, just above the cross, a large rock was donated and a Statue of an Angel is set to guard over all of us. The cap off the garden, a black metal fence was installed, to offer a sense of security, solitude, serenity and closure.
A major project for our Knights council 4208, our parish, and the surrounding communities, utilizing council and parish members, along with the Knights Davis Assy. to complete this well worthwhile project. Donations came from many of the kc members as well as the parish and the community. The leadership of the Grand Knight Tom Hartman, Faithful Navigator John Zweibahmer and DD Larry Hauber, designed, supplied equipment, donations, communication, and schedules, which all led to many getting together, especially during this covid year of challenges. This did not stop any of the members. This showed that many can get together, put their talents and abilities to use, and complete a fantastic opportunity for everyone to use. The total hours donated was over 5600, and the total cost was $30,000. As Father Hertges, the priest of St. Benedicts, has witnessed many using this garden during the year. “The Prayer Garden is exactly what we need during these times of needed prayer and meditation.”
On the face of the new remodeling/ addition there are placed two monuments. These measure 48”x 60” and display the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes for all to view. In the evening there is lighting that illuminated these plaques for all to view, directly across the street of the county courthouse. A good reminder for all young and old to view.
The Garden is a setting of cool shaded trees, gentle slope of the lot, with a view of the complete garden, next to the church on a corner lot. The garden is located one block off main street in Decorah. It is always open to anyone.
The garden was dedicated in October 2020 after many months of effort led by Sir Knights.
In October 2021 Sir Knight John Zweibahmer passed away after a valiant struggle with a deadly duo: Cancer & Covid. Sir Knights from across the state gathered at the Wake & Funeral in St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church at Ossian, Iowa to support his family and honor his legacy. While all the Knights were gathered John's legacy regalia and The To Be a Patriot award were show-cased (John was buried in his new Uniform).
The assembly application and write-up are attached.