The local Knights of Columbus Council 8417 presented a $1,500 check to the Special Olympics Ellis County United Delegation of Texas during its bi-monthly meeting.

Bob Betik, president of the Waxahachie chapter, advocated, "The special needs children need more of a boost; they need more help than the rest of us. Most of us can go at it alone — the special needs kids need help, and we are willing to give that help."

Members of Knights of Columbus greeted Special Olympic athletes on Thursday night with high-fives. Each athlete then announced themselves and the sports he or she competes in.

"Everyone gave them a standing ovation," Betik detailed. "It boosted their morale; it was really nice. They were very well behaved and respectful. It was a pleasure giving that $1,500 to them for whatever they need."

Jennifer Smolka accepted the check on behalf of the Ellis County United Delegation Special Olympics of Texas. This organization offers sports and physical activities year-round to approximately 80 people.

"It was a very significant check, and this is a great time," Smolka explained. "We consider our summer season as the beginning of our year. The check will really help."

Activities include golf, swim, bocce and kayaking this summer and then bowling, powerlifting, basketball and cycling in the fall, with cheerleading, track and field in the spring.

"There's never really a month where we don't have something going on," Smolka emphasized.

Funds will go toward the purchase of floating devices that are worn around the waist and additional equipment for powerlifting.

While a registration fee is required for athletes, the nonprofit offers partial and full scholarships to waive expenses and override costs of uniforms.

"A portion of the money from Knights of Columbus will go toward our scholarship fund, which will allow us to never have financial reasons behind an athlete not being able to participate," Smolka elaborated. "We don't want finances to be the reason they can't play."

The Knights of Columbus is primarily a charitable organization comprised of Catholic men. The main goal for the organization is to provide support for the St. Joseph Catholic Church, community and country.

Last year alone, the organization raised approximately $22,000 to contribute back to various organizations. Currently, the Knights of Columbus is hosting a wheelchair drive and recently organized a blood drive that gathered 41 pints of blood.

Last year, the organization also contributed funds to the Miracle League of Ellis County to outfit the field for children with special needs.

The Knights of Columbus support several local charities including, Waxahachie Care, First Look Clinic, American Wheelchair Program, Cystic Fibrosis Research, Hurricane Harvey Relief, Project Gabriel, St. Joseph Catholic Church and Youth Group, St.Vincent DePaul Society, Seminarian Support and Wounded Warriors.

The Knights of Columbus Council 8417 meets the second and fourth Thursday of the month at 325 Broadhead Rd. at 7:30 p.m. For more information on this organization, log onto

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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450