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Council Founding


The council has many community and fund raising activities.


Los Crusados Council was chartered in Redondo Beach on July 20, 1919.

The first officers were:

Chaplain

Reverend James J. Deerahini

Grand Knight         

Thomas A. Gould

Deputy Grand Knight         

Peter P. Riley

Chancellor

Robert M. Garbey


When instituted, the Council was known as the Redondo Council.  In 1950, the name was changed to Redondo Beach Council.  Because the council was serving more than the City of Redondo Beach, the name was again changed in 1955 to its present title, Los Crusados...Spanish for "The Crusaders."


Meeting Place


The first meeting place was a house on the east side of Pacific Coast Highway that is now the Saint James School playground.  On April 1, 1953, the Council members voted to sell this property to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for $10,000.  The deed was executed by the Trustees on May 11.  The Council then purchased the lot on Avenue I for $4,500 with Fred F. Lippert, Sr. and George W. Schneider co-signing in order for construction to begin.  There were many fund raising events.  One idea that was very successful was the selling of shares to the property.  On December 4, 1965, the Council held a mortgage burning party.  This featured a free dinner-dance with free champagne; all other drinks were 25 cents.  Grand Knight Richard Lucia and George Schneider, Chairman of the party, presided over the mortgage burning witnessed by 270 people.  Los Crusados was the first Council in California to own its meeting building.


The meeting hall has had a variety of uses over the years.  To mention a few:


A Church

The St. Lawrence Parish used the hall for over 18 months during the construction of their church.


A Temple

Chabot of South Bay, a Hassidic Jewish Synagogue, used the hall for several years during Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and other Jewish Holy Days until they acquired their temple.


A Place to Vote

The hall has been used as a polling place for the local Precinct since it was built.


Picking Ourselves Up by Bootstraps

A year to be remembered was 1933.  The following is quoted from records of the Thirty-first Session of the California State Council convened at St. Mary's College, Moraga:


Redondo Beach Council is undoubtedly one of the best councils in the State. Despite a loss of three members and $20,000 due to the collapse of a bank, it has met all of its obligations to the State and Supreme Councils.  This is due primarily to the outstanding leadership.


This council sponsored a Communion Breakfast for the mothers of St. James Parish and it was such an outstanding success that the members of the parish are yet talking about it.


Free card parties are given once a month by this Council.


This council takes an active interest in all civic affairs and aids very much in the relief of the unemployed.


Cloning Other Successful Councils      A 1957 survey of the number of Catholic men in the beach cities indicated a need for an additional Knights of Columbus Council.  A strong organizing group, mainly from Los Crusados, went into action; and on March 9, 1958, the Queen of Martyrs Council #4567 was instituted in Manhattan Beach.


In 1959, State Deputy Harry Reeves called upon the members of Los Crusados Council to assist again in forming a new Torrance council.  This request was most appropriate because the old Torrance Council #2445 was merged with the Redondo Council on May 31, 1936.  The new Council was instituted on Sunday, March 6, 1960.  Ceremonies were held at St. Gerard parish hall, and the Council adopted the name, St. Gerard Council #4919.  The first Grand Knight, Don Whann was Past Grand Knight of Los Crusados, 1958-59.


Dedication to Youth


Los Crusados Council has always been interested in helping the youth of the community.   A house was rented on Catalina Avenue for wayward boys who drifted to Redondo Beach.  In addition, members found jobs for the boys and arranged for their schooling.  The concept grew to what is now known as "Boy's Town of the West", Ranch San Antonio, in Chatsworth, California.  This Los Crusados seed germinated into a Los Angeles Archdiocesan institution with a strong vocational education program teaching marketable skills to delinquent boys.  Bert Gagnon, one of the formulators, was the first Fund Director, a post he held until his death.  The support to Rancho has increased over the years, and to date, over a million dollars has been raised.  These funds are presented to the Cardinal in the name of the Knights of Columbus.


Youth activities have continued throughout the years by extending service and guidance to the young of the South Bay area.  The Council has sponsored many youth activities and has given millions of man hours.  Members have been involved in a wide variety of sporting activities for both boys and girls:  softball, baseball, football, basketball, and soccer.  A special note on soccer:  Members of Los Crusados Council were instrumental in introducing soccer to South Bay.  One of the prime movers in the accelerated growth of the American Youth Soccer Organization was Joe Bonchonsky, Past Grand Knight and Past District Deputy.  His leadership brought youth participation from a small group to over 100,000 today.  Joe was the first president of the High School and College Soccer Association of Southern California.


Albert (Al) Castellano also stands out for his special efforts for organizing sporting events for high school youths not participating in formal sports.  Al organized such programs as coed volleyball, boys' basketball, girls' basketball, and coed softball.  Two of three teams from nine parish Teen Clubs participated in each event.  Represented were American Martyrs, Manhattan Beach; St. Anthony, El Segundo; Christ the King, Los Angeles; St. John Fisher, Rancho Palos Verdes; St. James, Redondo Beach; St. Lawrence Martyr, Redondo beach; St. Margaret Mary, Lomita; Nativity, Torrance; St. Philomena, Carson.  Over 500 youths participated each quarter term.


The Council has sponsored a Squire Circle since July 1967.  This group of young men between the ages of 12 and 18 strive to develop leadership abilities through spiritual, civic, cultural, social, and athletic activities.  Our Squire Circle is distinguished as being the first, and it now one of only three, to hold the same Circle number, 1990, as its sponsoring Council.


Catholic Action


The necessity and importance of charity and Catholic action is known to everyone.  From its inception, the Council has aided the Catholic schools and parishes in the area it serves.  The best illustration comes from State Chaplain Reverend Louis A. Mulvihill, who had the following story read into the minutes of the Thirty-sixth State Council Convention in Santa Monica on May 8, 1938:


I was sent to a little mission church in rather neglected place.  For over ten years it had stood there unattended, and the meager coat of paint that had first been upon its walls had long peeled off.  The first day I went there to examine it as its pastor, my heart went right down tot he bottom of my shoes.  I looked around the place, saw half the windows broken, and there was no place to hang a vestment.  It was such a desolate affair.  I went to my own Council at Redondo Beach and the men questioned rather closely about Lomita.  I told my story.  On the following  Saturday, almost the entire membership of the Redondo beach Council came over to Lomita and spent their entire weekend holiday painting that church, putting in new windows, building new cupboards for vestments, and I submit to you this afternoon, if one looks for a definition of Catholic action, there it was.  God bless you.


Active in many State Chaplain affairs, Father Mulvihill conducted numerous discussion sessions in the Council chambers.


The Council has sponsored various charitable activities -- help to unemployed; aid to earthquake victims in the United States and Guatemala; distribution of books and magazines to the war zones of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam;  scholarships; sponsorship of men and women called to the vocations; tuition for Confraternity of Christian Doctrine instructor and supervisory training - to mention a few.  The funds to support these charity activities are derived mainly form hall rentals, firework sales, and bingo proceeds.  (Editor's Note:   A special thanks to those individuals whose efforts make the funds available for all our projects.)


Civic Action


Perhaps the most outstanding civic activity ever arranged by the Council was the erection and dedication of the statue of Mary on the grounds of Little Company of Mary Hospital in Torrance.  Approximately 2,300 people attended this event when the statue was presented by Grand Knight James O'Toole on January 3, 1960.


A few of the many other civic activities included:


Free bingo


The council has held an annual free bingo party for the handicapped and residents of convalescent homes in the South Bay area. Prizes were useful apparel and gifts donated by local merchants.


Christmas Baskets


Each Christmas, baskets were prepared for local needy families.$100 of goods and gifts for the children were distributed to each family.


Las Posadas


In 1977, Las Posadas was instituted by Grand Knight Paul Beaudoin.  The Posadas (resting place) commemorates the journey Mary and Joseph took for Nazareth to Bethlehem.  The procession began on December 16 with nine families offering lodging every night through Christmas eve.  A couple, dressed as the virgin Mary and Joseph, reenacted the search for shelter, stopping at doors of different houses and pleading for entry.  At the last door they were admitted, and all sang their thanks and celebrated.


Human Life and Dignity


Los Crusados Council has been in the forefront of the pro-life movement since 1971 when it instituted the "letters to the legislators" program.Through the efforts of Donald Combar, this letter writing campaign has been introduced to other Knights of Columbus Councils, the Catholic Daughters, Church councils of other faiths, and other pro-life concerned groups.The letter writing was done at every council meeting.It is estimated that the Council has mailed over 30,000 pieces to legislators, made over 1,000 phone calls, and sent 500 telegrams regarding pro-life legislation.


The council has diversified it pro-life donations by giving to every facet educational groups, pregnancy aid groups, anti-euthanasia groups and several groups in the Protestant pro-life movement.Los Crusados has participated in the legislative action programs of the National Right to Life Committee and the National Bishops' Committee on Pro-life. The Council has aided the pro-life movement through donations of over $10,000.


At the 1975 State Council Convention in Redding, California, Los Crusados was instrumental in passing a Resolution that led to the adoption of pro-life activities throughout California.The Resolution also elevated Pro-life to Chairmanship at the State Council and at every local Council.At the 1979 State Convention in San Jose, Los Crusados introduced and got passed, a Resolution elevating the Pro-life Chairmanship to Directorship under a State Director, thereby changing the State Five Point Program to a Six Point Program.(To our knowledge, California is the only State that has changed the Supreme Program to Six Points.)


It can be said that Los Crusados Council has led the State of California, if not the Nation, in bringing human life and human dignity once again to its respected and protected level in our Country.