It was a sad day the local hospice volunteer program (supported by the Knights in the Richland Council) changed to obtaining the durable medical equipment for their patients from a local retail supplier. For several months, these Knights were rather lost wondering what could they do that was as meaningful as helping people make their final transition in life.
A new 1st degree Knight, Jerry Rhoads, thought of a way we could continue a small program (or so it seemed at the time) for the general community. Being new, Jerry was a bit uncertain on it being accepted by the Council leadership; he solicited two other Knights, Rick Guerra and Mike Prindiville, both higher-ranking Knights and past volunteers of the Hospice support program, to join him in approaching the Trustees. A presentation to leadership was made at the first Wednesday in July 1996. The Grand Knight presiding was Loris Heller, a seasoned leader for many years in the council. When the Trustees started firing questions about the program scope, cost, number of volunteers needed, and program leadership, things started to get even more worrisome.
Then Loris stepped up and said that maybe a pilot program to assess the community need was the way to approach this and the Trustees agreed. And so, the Knights Community Hospital Equipment Program was born. As to Loris, after his term as Grand Knight completed, he’s been a steadfast KC Help Volunteer. His service to the program is awesome. From initial approval, to volunteer, to member of the Board of Directors, Loris has been loyal and giving from the beginning. The thousands of homes he has brought equipment to and the more than ten thousand hours he has spent in this ministry continues. His wife Paula and his son Forrest are right there with him and supporting this community program. You can find Loris fixing wheelchairs at the Pasco Regional Operation Center every Tuesday and Thursday before he departs to drive the school bus getting kids safely to classes. Most weekends will find him delivering a hospital bed, a lift chair, or other equipment to a client in Richland or wherever he is needed.