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Dedicated volunteer honored as Knight of the Year

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

By Mike Dyer

ST. LAWRENCE DEANERY — Bernie Karwisch can’t say enough about his good friend Richard L. Tabler. The men have enjoyed a friendship over the past 10 or 11 years and are active members of the Knights of Columbus.

While both hold leadership positions within the Knights of Columbus, Karwisch said he’s been inspired by the faith-filled example Tabler has shown in his work with the Catholic-based service organization.

“Dick is probably the one who has gotten me involved in doing a lot more things (with the Knights of Columbus),” said Karwisch, who is a Monfort Heights resident.

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Richard Tabler is pictured during an October Knights of Columbus provincial meeting, when he was officially installed as master, Ohio District 2. (Courtesy photo)

So it’s no wonder that Karwisch had a great deal of pride in early December as he watched Tabler accept the Greater Cincinnati Knight of the Year Award, an honor presented to Tabler for being a leader in his service organization and a community volunteer.

Tabler, a retired federal postal inspector, was recognized Dec. 5 with the honor at a dinner meeting at St. William Parish in Price Hill. The dinner meeting was hosted by the Mother Seton Council on the west side of Cincinnati.

Karwisch, who is the grand knight of the Purcell Council, said the prestigious award was a surprise to Tabler. “He is so unassuming; he just didn’t realize he would win anything like that,” Karwisch said.

Tabler, who will mark 54 years of service to the Knights of Columbus on Feb. 2, said he was at a loss for words when presented with the award. He was presented a plaque by the Archbishop Elder Council, which is a sponsor of the program.

“It’s unbelievable really,” Tabler said. “…That was a very wonderful experience.”

For more than five decades, Tabler has enjoyed the experiences of being involved in various roles with the Knights of Columbus. Among friends and colleagues, Tabler is often referred to as the “go-to” member of the Purcell Council, which is based in Cheviot.

“He is always on call with whatever is necessary,” Karwisch said. “He is always willing to help. He has always been very involved.”

Tabler, like his friend Karwisch, is a member of St. Ignatius Parish in Monfort Heights. Tabler said his Catholic faith has been a significant part of his leadership position.

“I believe that my faith is a big part of what I have been able to accomplish,” Tabler said. “And the Knights of Columbus is a great Catholic organization that every man should give a look to determine if it can fit into their lives.”

Tabler is involved in several pro-life activities as well as many charitable organizations. He has volunteered for the Arts and Humanities Resources Council, St. Rita Festival, the Greater Catholic League high school football banquet and golf tournaments.

Tabler also helps with the Purcell Council’s Measure Up Golf Outing, which raises funds to help mentally challenged citizens. He is involved with Keep Christ in Christmas and is responsible for coordinating the Christmas display at the Krohn Conservatory.

“He is very religious,” Karwisch said. “He definitely goes to church on a regular basis. He is very strong in his belief and support of the priests in the Catholic Church.”

As master of the Southwest Ohio Fourth Degree District, Tabler is the highest ranking officer in the district. He was named to that position last July.

Tabler’s duties also include traveling to Toledo for various functions for the Knights of Columbus. He has been the financial secretary for the Purcell Council, which consists of approximately 500 members and 54 churches, for the past 15 years.

Richard Wysong, a member of St. Michael Parish in Sharonville, is a longtime friend of Tabler. Tabler served as district marshal when Wysong was master from 2002-06.

Wysong said he’s worked on various projects with Tabler, including honor guard for deceased Knights of Columbus members or organizing times to be at confirmations or first Communions. “I was glad to see him win (the Knight of the Year),” Wysong said. “…He is well-liked.”

The Knight of the Year Award is named after the memory of a knight who was a faithful member of Elder Council, based on the east side of Cincinnati, for more than 50 years. Tabler was nominated by the councils for the award and was judged by past honorees.

“This is probably the highest honor bestowed on a knight,” said Al Stevenson, who manages public relations for the Elder Council.

Stevenson, a member of St. Gertrude Parish in Madeira, said Tabler has been very helpful to the organization and is a very dedicated knight.

“I enjoy so much the opportunity to visit with and meet so many wonderful men and women who are strong members of our faith and support the things that the Knights of Columbus stands for,” Tabler said.

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