The Anderson Council of the Knights of Columbus, as it was originally chartered, began on Feb. 21st, 1983, under Grand Knight Jerry Carroll and Chaplin Fr. Robert Millard. The council was started at the request of Fr. Degan, pastor of St. Joseph’s parish in Anderson. Fr. Degan approached George Gagnon, District Deputy in Greenville, about starting a council in Anderson. George held the first information meeting in the library of St. Joseph’s parish school and among those attending was Jerry Carroll, a recent convert to Catholicism. There was a requirement of 25 men to begin the council and that number was achieved within a few months of the initial meeting. Among the 38 charter members of the council, all members of St. Joseph’s parish, was Paul Shook, after whom the Shook Center at St. Joes is named. Jerry observed recently, that among those original men who made up the Charter Council, only he and Gary Hedden were “true Southerners”. Today, Gary Hedden, Jerry Carroll, Frank Rothmann, and Jamie Groeber are the only four men of the Charter Council still members of the Anderson Council. By the time the council was ready to be chartered, Fr. Degan had been transferred and Fr. Millard had become pastor. About one year after the council was formed; the request to rename the council after Fr. Francis A. Friend, the first priest from Anderson and a member of St. Joseph’s, was considered and approved. The council continued to meet in the library of St. Joseph school for some time, perhaps facilitated by the fact that Jerry’s wife Roseann was the school librarian. Jerry recalls that the early meetings had “6-8 men in attendance and we started having snacks afterward to improve attendance”. Among the active early members was Cliff Reedy, whose wife Maryann was principal of the school. The council achieved STAR Council in its first year. With the growth of St. Mary’s parish in Anderson and the movement of members from St. Joseph to St. Mary’s after that parish was established, the council began to rotate meetings between the two parishes, a practice that is still followed today. The council has a proud history of many awards for Operation Hope, and the Columbian Award. The council also received the State Ceremonial Award in 1995-96 by conducting twenty-one 1st degree ceremonies. The council achieved STAR Council in 1983-84, 1986-87, 1989-90, 1995-96, and most recently in 2010-11 and 2011-12. The council now has 130 members and has added 16 new members this fraternal year.
Prepared by Rick Heithaus, PGK, Trustee
Fr. Francis A. Friend Council in Anderson, SC is a group of Catholic men dedicated to the support of the Church, our priests and religious, the parishes of St. Joseph and St. Mary, and the community. We are guided by the principles of Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism.
- Charity: Our mission is to raise and distribute funds to help the needy of our community and our parishes. We are guided in this by our members, the parish religious, and the State Council.
- Unity: We are committed to unity with the Catholic Church and our brother Knights. In this, we are committed to supporting the Pro-Life cause. We are committed to better know and live our faith and support vocations to the priesthood and the religious of the diocese. We are called to support the Catholic family
- Fraternity: Our mission is to support the Knights of Columbus organization both at the Council level and the State and Supreme. We will work to encourage each other to take advantage of the programs offered for our growth spiritually and our protection temporally
- Patriotism: We are called to be the visible Catholic Church in the community. We accomplish this by knowing and sharing our Catholic faith with those around us and by our visible support of those who serve our country and our Church.