May 24 – Robert A. Gualtieri of Christ Our Redeemer Council 13527 in Niceville was named on Saturday as Florida’s Knight of the Year by the Florida State Council of the Knights of Columbus.
Gualtieri was selected by the 55,000 member Florida jurisdiction of the international fraternal organization for his service to his council, his church and the local community.
Florida Knights also selected Thomas M. Hynek of St. Cloud Kissimmee Council 6624 for the Knight of the Year Honorable Mention Award.
Gualtieri, a knight for 13 years, has served his council as warden and two terms as Grand Knight, and is currently the council’s public relations chairman, publishing the council’s monthly newsletter. He has had articles about the council’s activities published in the state newsletter, Invocation, and the Supreme Council’s monthly magazine, Columbia.
His community activities include painting and light maintenance work at the Twin Cities Pavilion, a county-sponsored senior residence in Niceville and the annual picnics and Christmas parties for the residents of the Sunland Center, a Florida state-run home for the disabled in Marianna. He also drives a veteran to veteran breakfasts at the local senior center.
As a member of Christ Our Redeemer parish in Bluewater Bay, he is a member of the Pastoral Council, serves as an usher and Eucharistic minister, bringing the sacrament to residents of local assisted living facilities.
According to Jim Yurack, the council’s Grand Knight. “Bob’s distinction is that he does the little things, without fanfare and without being asked, to get things done. He’s a team player.”
Thomas Hynek, a member of Holy Redeemer parish in Kissimmee, has been a knight for 13 years. He is the Florida Special Olympics director for the council, volunteers at bingo, spaghetti dinners and designer bag fundraisers.
He has helped distribute food the needy families, toys to children at the Christmas for kids of Osceola County event, volunteers at the Christian Hearts Organization, which prepares dinners for more than 2,000 families, and helps in the set-up, cooking and serving over 3000 meals at the Osceola County Three Kings Festival.
According to Ed Meyer, grand knight, “I challenge anyone to meet the work and time Tommy puts in, without complaint, week in and week out. That’s pure dedication.”