Wally Streit

Wally Streit

August 25, 2014

For the fifth time, Wally Streit is the recipient of the Knights of Columbus' order-wide Top Recruiter Award.

Streit, a retired banker, is a past state deputy of the Alberta Knights of Columbus. He is currently the state new council development director. Since 1998, he has recruited 1,974 members, including 261 last year.

Streit accepted the award at the Knights' 132nd annual international convention in Orlando, Fla.

The Knights of Columbus was founded in 1882 by Father Michael McGivney. It has grown to more than 1.8 million members worldwide, including more than a quarter million members in Canada.

"I recruit Catholic men into the Knights of Columbus as I know that being a Knight of Columbus is good for the Church, good for the Catholic men and good for families," said Streit.

He finds it rewarding to see many of his recruits take on leadership roles in the Knights and in their parishes.

"As well, I know from experience that when a man becomes a knight, most often he will not only develop lifelong friendships, he will also remain close to his faith," he said.

Recruiting one man at a time is time consuming, and he thanks his family, especially his grandchildren, for being so understanding. He expects to reach his goal of recruiting 2,000 new members by December. After that, he will limit his time recruiting and devote more time to his grandchildren.


"I miss a lot of soccer games and ringette games with the grandkids. I will still do some recruiting, but on a more selective basis," he said.

The reward he finds in recruiting comes from the fact that one man could not do what all these men do collectively.

"The multiplier effect of recruiting is significant. For example, if 1,000 of the men I recruited did 20 hours of service to the order this year, the benefit for the Church and the order is very gratifying."

He believes strongly in the first principle of his order: charity. Globally, Knights donated more than $184 million and 70.5 million hours of service to charitable causes in 2013. The Canadian contribution was at an all-time high of more than $30 million and over 9.3 million hours of service.

As of July 1, Streit assumed a new role as president of the Alberta Knights of Columbus Charitable Foundation.

"Our board is embarking on a Catch the Spirit Campaign with our members to increase our permanent capital base as we wish to have more funds available to respond to charitable requests," he said.

The multiplier effect applies to the Knights' Charitable Foundation. He said if they raise $1 million and they keep that money in permanent capital, the money is available year after year to give to worthy causes.

"I am currently organizing two Habitat for Humanity build days in September. It is interesting that charity always comes knocking," he said.


Meanwhile, the Alberta/Northwest Territories Knights announced they contributed almost $1.9 million to various charitable causes and volunteered more than 751,000 volunteer hours to perform acts of charity in the year that ended June 30.

There are almost 18,000 knights in the jurisdiction.