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Flower sale underway in Ferry

T-L Photo/SHELLEY HANSON STANLEY GDULA, Martins Ferry Knights of Columbus member, stands with a table full of Easter flowers on sale outside of the Ferry Hardware store, 6 S. Zane Highway.

MARTINS FERRY — The Knights of Columbus annual Easter flower sale is underway outside of the Ferry Hardware store, 6 S. Zane Highway, Martins Ferry.

K of C member Stanley Gdula, who has organized the sale for the past 15 years, said the sale is one of the organization’s biggest fundraisers, along with its fish frys.

The flower sale did not happen last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is happening from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

The fish frys are expected to restart sometime in May. Sales from both the flower sale and fish frys help support the organization’s expenses and give it the cash needed to make donations to community groups.

The Knights also give donations to St. Mary Church, which is located across the street from its headquarters on Fourth Street.

“That’s where we all go,” K of C member Bruce Tratar said of attending church services. “This is a Catholic organization.”

The K of C also annually donates to the city Fourth of July fireworks display, which is typically put on by the Martins Ferry Chamber of Commerce. They also donate money to the Coats for Kids program at Christmastime.

Gdula said the K of C ordered about 270 pots of perennial flowers including tulips, lilies, hyacinths and daffodils.

“Hyacinths are the most popular,” he said.

The Knights’ flower sale got somewhat of a late start on Wednesday. It was supposed to begin at noon, but the flowers did not arrive from the grower until about 1:30 p.m. The grower’s truck was stuck in traffic on Interstate 70 caused by a vehicle accident.

The bold, healthy-looking flowers were grown by Strader’s Garden Center of Grove City, Ohio.

“I order them in February. They have a huge greenhouse,” Gdula said, adding the Knights can take cash or a check at the sale.

The Knights of Columbus, which has councils across the country, was founded in 1882 by the Rev. Michael McGivney in Connecticut.

“Late-19th century Connecticut was marked by the growing fraternal benefit societies, anti-Catholic prejudice and dangerous factory working conditions that left many families fatherless. Recognizing a need in his community, Father Michael J. McGivney, the 29-year-old assistant pastor of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Conn., gathered a group of men at his parish on Oct. 2, 1881. He proposed establishing a lay organization to prevent Catholic men from entering secret societies antithetical to Church teaching, uniting Catholic men and helping families of deceased members,” according to the Knights’ website, www.kofc.org.

“To demonstrate their loyalty to their country as well as their faith, these men took Christopher Columbus — recognized as a Catholic and celebrated as the discoverer of America – as their patron. The Knights of Columbus elected officers in February 1882 and assumed corporate status on March 29.”

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