Legion, Knights team up for Valentine’s Day dinner dance

By Annie Gentile - ReminderNews
Coventry - posted Mon., Feb. 18, 2013
Knights of Columbus member Larry Bock and his wife Corey, of Vernon, enjoyed the shrimp dinner. Photos by Annie Gentile.
Knights of Columbus member Larry Bock and his wife Corey, of Vernon, enjoyed the shrimp dinner. Photos by Annie Gentile.

The American Legion is a veterans’ organization devoted to mutual helpfulness. The Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization. Both groups share some common elements - chief among them a sense of patriotism - and no where was that more evident than at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Coventry, last Saturday evening, Feb. 16, when the two organizations joined forces to offer a Valentine’s Day shrimp dinner and dance.

“We’re co-sponsoring this dinner-dance with the American Legion. We took care of the decorations and dancing, and the American Legion took care of the meal,” said Dave Imhoff, faithful navigator for the Knights of Columbus, St. Jude Council 4313. The two organizations planned to split the profits for the event, using the funds to support a variety of charitable purposes.

Just inside the entryway doors, Bob Kramer, adjutant for the American Legion Post 52, collected payments for the dinner and handed out a printed dinner schedule list for his organization’s monthly dinners.

“[Kramer] is like the first sergeant in the army,” said Post Commander Manny Rodrigues. “He makes me look good.” Rodrigues said their relationship with the local Knights of Columbus is a mutually satisfying one, as their events often draw members from both groups, in addition to local seniors.

“We offer an annual high school oratorical contest and we also send three or four graduating juniors, usually from E.O. Smith or Coventry high schools, to Boys State at Eastern Connecticut State University,” said Kramer. “It’s a week-long program where they study how government is supposed to work.”

Kramer said the American Legion also sponsors an annual college scholarship and supports the senior center by paying for the postage for the packages the center puts together for troops serving overseas.

“I joined the Women’s Auxiliary for the American Legion because both my children were deployed and both came home safely, and these people gave me so much support,” said Janine Beckwith. “There are people that just say it, but the people here really care,” she said.

“The Knights of Columbus does the annual CoventryFest in Patriot’s Park for the 4th of July,” said Imhoff. “It’s usually the last Saturday in June - June 30th this year - and we have food, rides and games,” he said.

The dinner dance, which drew about 90 people, this year also presented both groups with the opportunity to plug their other upcoming activities, including a Cornish game hen dinner by the Knights of Columbus on April 26, and the March 15 and April 12 fish dinners offered by the American Legion.

“These fundraisers are very important, because that’s how we support our community,” said Rodrigues.

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