Each year the Sterling-based Good Samaritan Council No. 6175 sets a goal of raising $20,000 to $30,000 in its council for the statewide organization, The Knights of Columbus of Virginia Assisting Citizens with Mental Retardation, through the Tootsie Roll campaign. For John Thomas, a member of the Good Samaritan Council, such involvement in the community gives him a feeling of satisfaction in helping the less fortunate in the community.
Thomas, a Sterling resident since 1970, was recently elected Grand Knight of the Good Samaritan Council. He has been involved with the council since 1978.
The Good Samaritan Council is a fraternal Catholic men's organization with a focus on "family, church, charity, community and youth," Thomas said.
THE GOOD SAMARITAN COUNCIL is involved in a number of activities in the community. Each month, the Knights Helping Hand charity selects an organization such as Special Olympics or Habitat for Humanity to lend a hand to. They also work with Jeremiah House, a nonprofit Christian residential home for expectant mothers. The Good Samaritan Council puts on the Columbus Day Parade, which is held in conjunction with the Sterling Fest. The group organizes the parade coordinating with the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Sheriff's Department. The local high-school bands are also invited to participate in the procession.
FOR THE COMING YEAR Thomas would like to focus on raising more money for the organization's scholarship program. The Good Samaritan Council raises funds through raffles such as its, "Redskin Raffle," where they raffle two season tickets to a game. They also hold a silent auction and an art auction. Another means of raising funds for the group is their Bingo night which is held every Tuesday.
"We help any organization that wants help. We are willing to offer our assistance any way in the community. We will set aside a weekend and help," says Thomas.
As elected Grand Knight, Thomas wants to get the brother Knights more involved in the organization's activities and to raise more money for charity. "It will take a lot of work, but we have 600 members and we can do it," he says.
THOMAS WILL SUCCEED Bob Gannon as Grand Knight. Gannon said Thomas is "very much the Catholic gentleman." He also said Thomas is service oriented and is not only involved with Good Samaritan Council but also works with local high schools such as Park View's Booster Club and Band Aid (band group). Gannon describes Thomas as "loyal and patriotic. He's tuned into the country and what soldiers and the military have done for the country."
Thomas, a retired Fairfax County police officer, currently works as a bailiff in the Loudoun County Courthouse. He also worked in a computer science corporation for a number of years. Thomas worships at the St. Joseph's Church in Herndon. He resides with his wife, Mary Ann. Together they have two grown daughters and five grandchildren.
For more information on the Good Samaritan Council call 703-430-6789.