Former Folsom and Sacramento Metro Fire Chief Dan Haverty has been named Grand Knight of the Holy Trinity Parish council of the Knights of Columbus.
He joined the Knights in 1982 and moved with his wife Teresa to El Dorado Hills in 1987. They currently reside in Governors West Village.
Holy Trinity is El Dorado Hills’ high-visibility “church on the hill,” located off Country Club Drive east of Bass Lake Road. The Knights of Columbus is a fraternal Catholic men’s service organization, which Haverty describes as the “the strong right arm of the church.”
The Knights could do worse. Haverty had a distinguished career in the fire service and education, and still teaches masters classes in public administration at USC.
He rose through the ranks at Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District and its predecessor, the American River Fire District. He was appointed chief of the Folsom Department in 2007 and retired in 2009.
The El Dorado Hills Fire Board brought him in to guide a cooperative effort between the board and the firefighters’ union leadership on a new labor contract that helped plug a $2.1 million budget shortfall in early 2011.
He spent the last half of the year in Lodi as interim fire chief, and helped select his replacement.
“A former fire chief never turns down the chance to give a speech,” he said. His address to his fellow Knights during the June 30 officers’ installation was a doozey.
He recapped the formation of the Knights in 1882 and their original missions of direct service to their parish and caring for widows and orphans. The founders offered low-cost life insurance to their members, a practice which continues today, along with long-term care insurance.
“Catholics in this country were largely working class people, and still are, for the most part,” he said. “In the days before social security and Medicare, the problem of widows with no way to support themselves was a big concern for the church.”
He outlined the four principles that guide their actions today: charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism, then closed with a rousing call to action.
“Being a Knight is more than camaraderie,” he said. “Knights are Catholic men committed to making their community a better place while supporting their church.”
He challenges his fellows to enhance their faith and protect their family life.
Leadership and service are both big parts of Haverty’s life. He’s also a Rotarian with the newly formed Folsom Lake Rotary. Unlike the Knights, Rotary has a strong international service emphasis and, as such, is a good complement to the Knights, whose projects are mostly local to the parish, he said. Many are youth-oriented.
Haverty’s personal contribution is often in front of a griddle or a grill. “I love to cook,” he said.
But he’s no gourmet. “Call me when you want quantity, not quality,” he said.
The Knights keep him busy with pancake breakfasts and scout cookouts. He recently flipped flapjacks for a four-day youth ministry mission to poor areas of the Bay Area.
Haverty’s “Columbian year” as grand knight runs through June 2013, at which time he’ll likely look for another way to contribute, he said.