Wally Wych is excited for what’s ahead after he began his term as state deputy of the New York State Council Knights of Columbus July 1.
Wych was elected to lead the 86,000 members of the Knights of Columbus in New York state, including 16,400 in the archdiocese, at the 124th annual state convention at the Villa Roma Resort and Conference Center in Callicoon May 4.
“I’m looking forward to the next two years as further expansion to my experience with the Knights,” Wych, a parishioner of St. Columba in Hopewell Junction, told CNY.
Wych, who joined the Knights of Columbus in 1992, just completed two years as state secretary and previously served as state member training coordinator, state membership coordinator and district deputy.
He also is past grand knight of St. Mary’s Council 4065, which serves St. Columba and St. Denis, both in Hopewell Junction, and St. Mary, Mother of the Church in Fishkill.
Wych said he is proud of programs offered by the Knights of Columbus and mentioned three he hopes will continue to grow in the state during his term—Coats for Kids, Food for Families and ultrasound programs.
“We can really make a difference, and what I hope to do is continue to have programs in New York State where we can make a difference,” Wych said. “The programs we sponsor and make available to members are rewarding programs.”
The Knights of Columbus donated its 1,000th ultrasound machine to a qualifying pregnancy center earlier this year. Two ultrasound machines previously were donated to centers in Poughkeepsie and New Paltz, and Wych is hopeful a third will soon be donated in the Hudson Valley.
“It will allow a mother who is considering abortion to see her child in the womb,” Wych said. “If we continue spreading the program in New York state, we can save lives. Each machine saves 200 lives a year.”
Coats for Kids and Food for Families both began in 2009 as a result of a Knights of Columbus-sponsored summit in New York City. Coats for Kids distributed 105,192 coats in 1,600 communities in the United States and Canada in 2017, and Food for Families has collected more than 21.5 million pounds of food and $10.7 million in donations for soup kitchens and other food programs since 2012.
Wych and his wife, Dee, are the parents of four sons, Walter Jr., Steven, Brian and Michael. All belong to the Knights of Columbus.
Dee was a founder of St. Mary’s Council 4065 Columbiettes, the women’s auxiliary affiliated with the Knights of Columbus. She just completed her two-year term as state president of the Columbiettes.
“The Knights have been important to us as a family,” Wych said. “The involvement I’ve had with the Knights has had such an influence on me, it influenced my wife and together we influenced our children.”
The Wychs are active parishioners of St. Columba, where Wally has served on the parish finance council for 16 years, including three as parish trustee. Married for 40 years, the Wychs have been extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion at St. Columba for more than 20 years.
“Wally is a wonderful Catholic, a gentleman,” said Father Michael McLoughlin, pastor of St. Columba. “We’re very proud of Wally and his accomplishment. He’ll be an excellent state deputy.