TIGARD — Ron Boyce was introduced to the Knights of Columbus almost 30 years ago when he was a student at what is now Southern Oregon University in Ashland.

He went to Mass at Sacred Heart Church in Medford with his aunt and uncle. His uncle Roger was the grand Knight there for eight years. Young Ron would help the Medford Knights with their breakfasts.

It wasn’t until 1994 that Boyce — who became the new Knights of Columbus state deputy on July 1 — took the leap and joined the order.

“I was attending Mass with my family at St. Anthony in Tigard and I wanted more,” Boyce said. “I felt like something was missing. Chuck Babin came to me and said he was looking for some good men to become Knights and to help our church and our community. It’s exactly what I wanted.”

Boyce said it was one of the better decisions in his life, adding that being a Knight has helped him grow not only as a Catholic, but as a man. He said he wants all Catholic men to be able to share that experience.

He served as grand Knight of St. Anthony Council 3591 for two years and remains active there. The council’s main fundraiser is a food cart at the North Plains Garlic Festival, set this year for Aug. 9-11. The men serve garlic mashed potatoes, barbecued chicken and green beans, raising about $18,000 per year. The Knights know what to do with the money: charitable causes, including sponsorship for eight seminarians.

Boyce got involved with the Knights on the state level and has worked his way through the chairs to the state deputy post. He succeeds Francis Mohr of the Diocese of Baker.

“We have about 9,500 Knights in Oregon and my goal this year is to increase that to 10,000 members,” Boyce said. “Of those, I would like to see at least 250 Hispanic members and 100 Vietnamese members. We want to include everyone. Our doors are open and our councils are welcoming.”

Another goal is to see at least 25 of the state’s 94 councils reach the star recognition based on recruitment of new members and charitable programs.

“I want our councils to reach $1 million in charitable giving and donate 1 million hours to community service,” Boyce said. “Both are very attainable. We are at about $800,000 in charitable giving, plus 800,000 hours of service.”

Boyce said he hopes to help the Knights reach the point where Archbishop Alexander Sample will contact him seeking assistance for local or statewide causes. Boyce says the mission of the Knights since their founding in 1882 has been to assist widows and orphans and to act as a support for the church and the Catholic faith.

“I have met so many positive role models who are Knights,” Boyce said. “I want us to share those stories, to reach out to help the poor, those who are hurting in our communities and our parishes.”

The Knights of Columbus principles are charity, unity and fraternity.

Paul is a member of the Knights of Columbus. 

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