Proceeds from the Friday, March 22 St. Hubert Catholic Community Knights of Columbus fish fry will be donated to the Kyle and Nicole Peltier family of Minneapolis.
In June 2018, a high speed State Patrol vehicle pursuit ended in a North Minneapolis playground, where seven children of the Peltier family were playing.
The chase ended when the driver veered onto the playground and came to a stop on the basketball court. Three of the seven Peltier children were hit and injured. One child, Kayden, 2, was in a coma for three weeks, with a broken neck and pelvis, followed by weeks of recovery.
Then the Peltiers soon learned that their expected eighth child had a birth defect called omphalocele, when some of an infant’s organs form outside its body. In October, Killian Peltier was born by C-section. Shortly after his birth, he had heart surgery to repair two holes in his heart. While many infants eventually undergo surgery to restore their organs, in Killian’s case, the procedure won’t be possible until he is 4 years old.
Father Paul Jarvis is the priest at the Parish Community of St. Bridget’s in North Minneapolis where the Peltier family worships. Jarvis, formerly a priest at Guardian Angels Catholic Church in Chaska, reached out to his Twin Cities Catholic network, including the St. Hubert Knights of Columbus, in his efforts to help the family with its extensive medical bills.
“I knew about the family from June, when they were victims of the high-speed chase,” said Grand Knight Dave Steehler of the Chanhassen Knights of Columbus Council. “Father Paul reached out to us, to let us know of their plight. It was quite compelling.”
“While that story was compelling for us, Nicole Peltier, the mother was also pregnant at the time,” Steehler said, “and as the due date approached, she learned the baby she was carrying had a birth defect. While some in the medical community recommended an abortion, the Peltiers were committed to keeping their baby ... With all those things combined, it was quite a compelling story for us. To try to support them, we took up a collection for them out our own pockets; we raised $1,500. We’re hoping we can raise more than a couple thousand dollars with our Friday night fish fry dinner.”
“They’re not from our area, but with what they’ve lived through,” Steehler paused, then continued, “yet they’re happy and thankful for what they do have.”
It’s tradition for the Chanhassen Knights of Columbus Council to sponsor Friday night fish fry dinners at the church during the Lenten season. And each one raises money for one charitable organization or cause. Last week, the fish fry raised money for the Free the Kids nonprofit, a Haitian mission project. The church’s Respect Life Community hosts a bake sale at the dinners, too, supplementing the cookie dessert that comes with every fish dinner.
The Chanhassen Knights of Columbus Council has a membership of more than 200 men, Steehler said. He joined 11 years ago when he was looking for an organized volunteer opportunity.
In addition to the fish fry dinners and pancake breakfasts, the Knights of Columbus also volunteer in other ways. One of their members is currently deployed overseas. Members of the local council have helped his wife and children with home repairs, and snow shoveling.
The Knights of Columbus is an organization of Catholic men whose purpose is charity, fraternity, unity and patriotism, Steehler explained.
The Knights of Columbus aid of victims in natural disasters and hosts an annual Tootsie Roll Drive to support the Special Olympics. At the local level, the council offers two high school scholarships to students who plan to attend Catholic high school. It also donates to area youth groups and organizations within St. Hubert and community services like PROP.
“It’s not always just Catholic causes,” Steehler said.
Steehler encourages the public, of all faiths, to attend its Lenten fish fry dinners, especially the one for the Peltier family.
“Our fish is excellent,” Steehler added. “I would put it up against anyone else’s. We have baked and fried fish, mac and cheese ... And you don’t have to do the dishes.”