Dan Loperena says many people may think of the Knights of Columbus as "old guys with capes," but as grand knight of the 657-member Greenwich chapter, he's trying to dispel that image.
And despite the male membership, Loperena says it is not a boys club. "It's laid back," he says. "We have fun and enjoy yourselves, but we are a Catholic organization, so we have to maintain a certain level of decorum."
Loperena, a self-employed electrician, grew up in Port Chester, N.Y., got married and moved to Greenwich. Seven years ago, he wanted to be more involved in church events and community service, so he joined the ranks of the Knights of Columbus.
"I went to church every Sunday but really wasn't involved in any volunteer work," Loperena says. "I started to get involved, and they have a lot of different events going on. Whatever you're into, there's something to do."
As grand knight, Loperena acts as a chief executive for the organization, running meetings and overseeing events. The knights are active, holding five dances a year for the Abilis Autism Program, walkathons, Christmas dinners for seniors, flea markets, a golf outing, a Halloween party, a fishing derby, pasta dinners and soup kitchen dinners as well as awarding scholarships, among others.
Loperena says he enjoys functions that include his 7-year-old son, Daniel. "I like volunteering, but I like to do things that gets him involved. So for instance, he marches with me in the St. Patrick's Day parade," Loperena says.
The Knights of Columbus-Greenwich Orinoco No. 39 is at 37 W. Putnam Ave. For more information on activities and events, call 203-661-3596 or visit its website .
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