Past Newsworthy Dads

Champions of Charity

As part of the Knights of Columbus’ Year of the Volunteer, Fathers for Good is featuring members who go beyond the ordinary to serve their neighbors in need. This is the first of a series.

William and Joan Gunter

William Gunter’s voice fills with emotion as he talks about his service with “Room at the Inn” at St. Stephen’s Parish in Old Hickory, Tennessee. From the beginning of November to the end of March, he prepares the beds for 18 homeless persons in the Nashville area who are down on their luck and need a meal and a roof over their head.

“The people who come out, they are people like you and me,” said Gunter. “They once had jobs and homes but now have run on hard times through drugs or divorce or whatever. They can’t thank you enough for just being there for them with a warm bed and a couple of meals. I’m almost in tears talking about it.”

“Room at the Inn” is an ecumenical effort, with other Christian churches taking part. Under Gunter’s watch, St. Stephen’s Church houses homeless clients in its family center every other week.

Gunter also serves his parish as a eucharistic minister, lector and RCIA teacher; volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, and leads the weekly rosary service for his Knights of Columbus council.

“He sets an example for all the Knights in the state of Tennessee,” said State Deputy Michael Porter. A member of the Knights of Columbus for 41 years, Gunter was Tennessee State Deputy from 2002-04, and is currently Supreme Master in charge of the state’s Fourth Degree activities. He has been married for 47 years to his wife, Joan, and they have two children, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Gunter says his association with the Knights brought him to a greater appreciation of his Catholic faith. “I joined the Order in 1968, when I came to Nashville,” he recalled. “The more I got involved at the council level, the more I wanted to get involved with my parish, helping out.

“To me, charity is more than a buck in the bucket. The charitable works with the Knights have built me up spiritually and helped to make me the man I am today.”