Charles Russell

Charles Russell

May16, 2016

Calgary's Charles Russell will continue at the helm of the 18,230 Knights of Columbus of Alberta-NWT for another year.

The 75-year-old former salesman and troubleshooter for Hilti Canada, was elected state deputy at the Knights' convention in Calgary May 6-8.

About 180 voting delegates representing close to 160 councils in the jurisdiction were present at the convention at Calgary's Westin Hotel.

Ten months ago Russell was appointed state deputy by the executive board following the death of state deputy-elect Grant Mann in April 2015. He finds it comforting that this time he was elected by the convention delegates.

Russell said he found the first year as state deputy "a little challenging" because he wasn't expecting to lead the organization so soon.

"I had to be out of the gate running," he observed. However, things turned out okay. There was a "bit of a rift" in the jurisdiction, but he was able to reunite the organization "and get everybody working and pulling in the same direction."

Born in Cornwall, Ont., the oldest of four children, Russell served as an altar boy from Grade 2 until age 18. He studied in Catholic schools from Grade 1 right up to university.


He joined the Knights of Columbus out of curiosity 41 years ago in Toronto.

Under Russell's leadership, the Knights have provided extensive training to members throughout the jurisdiction in areas such as recruiting, membership retention and getting members involved with various projects.

As a result, the Knights were able to reach their membership target of 805 new members and are involved in various major projects, including the annual March for Life and the fight against assisted suicide.


Members are currently writing letters to their MLAs and MPs asking them to oppose assisted suicide.

The Knights have also being supporting their two councils in Fort McMurray and the surrounding areas. The 300 members of these councils have all been displaced and are spread across both northern and southern Alberta.

Knights from across Canada and the U.S. have already donated around $30,000 to help the Fort McMurray Knights and the community at large.

The Alberta Knights are also emphasizing the need for their parish-based councils to become more involved with their parishes and to eliminate any duplication of efforts.

As part of that plan, councils are being asked to integrate the Squires program into the youth ministry of their parishes.

"By the end of next year, the Squire circles will be eliminated and will be part and parcel of the youth ministry programs within the parish," Russell announced.

"We want to become more and more involved at the parish level, which is why we were founded some 134 years ago."


Russell also announced the Knights are getting get back to councils having family Communions once or twice a year as well as renewal of marriage vows.

The first family Communion and renewal of vows will be held on Fathers' Day, June 19; the second will be held on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year.

"(The idea) is to dedicate our families to the Holy Family," Russell explained.

The following awards were presented at the convention:

Family of the Year award to Wesley & Judy Carr of Calgary's Father Fred Cahill Council #8471.

Knight of the Year award went to Joe Becigneul of St. Albert's Brother Anthony Council #10014.

Council of the Year was given to Father Albert Newman Council #8470 from Calgary.