It's part club. part charitable work. But, no matter how you look at it, the Red Coats are vital to our Council. If you have the ability to give just a little time each month, consider Redcoating.
[Originally printed in the February 2007 Knight Life]
What are the “Red Coats” of the KofC and the Columbus Club?
Owen Beirne, Jr., president
Many people ask “So what are the Red Coats?” You just have to attend an event or have an event at the Main Hall, or the Council Home, or the barbeque pit to find out. It’s what they call the “wait staff”. A long time ago when we had functions here at the estate we would hire waiters from Washington DC to come over and staff the events. It became a daunting task to schedule, have the guys show up, not to mention the cost. So Charlie Paradise, who is a legend at EDW and for whom the lower lounge is named, came up with the idea to have our EDW members as the “wait staff”. All they needed was a white shirt, black bow tie, and the infamous RED waiters’ coat (we supplied only the coat and tie). You even got a name badge to look important!
How long have they been around? I happened to stop by the hall around noon one Friday in December when the Annual Catholic Principal’s luncheon was being held and spoke to Al Wilson. “So how long have the red coats been around Al?” “Well I am not really sure, however I have been a red coat for 45 YEARS”! He went on to tell me about the other brother knight who has the same record as Al. How about Walter Burrent, our WWII Vet who was in the D-Day invasion at Omaha Beach, who is 81 or 82 years old depending if you ask Walter. Brother Burrent is still a Red Coat. To see him at the pool, Walter is still is in great shape as he climbs down the manhole covers to work on the pool valves each opening and closing of the pool.
So many of our brother knights are red coats. You may never see them at the pool, or the CH, however they are the back bone of our corporation. That’s how I got started. Rob Moore saw me one day and asked me to be on his team when I first joined. I have met more of my brother knights by working these functions and events then I ever will at the CH or a membership meeting. We come in all shapes, ages, sizes, and from diverse working backgrounds. Funny, though, no one ever really asks “So what do you do for a real job?” It just does not matter! We are all here to volunteer. It’s a great feeling of comradeship. What do you get for being a red coat… mmmm…, well a great meal afterwards (which is what you just served), where we sit around as a group in one of the empty rooms and chat as we eat and drink.
The most important thing is, by having the red coats, we save about $300,000 in labor costs per year. Plus, all waiters’ tips from each function go into the waiters fund which goes right back to fund improvements to our facilities.
We can not list all these great red coats, however we need to list the current Red Coat Captains. These are the guys who sit down with the manager once a month at night for about an hour to discuss next months events, how many wait staff is needed for each function, and then which captain will take which event. He then goes home and starts calling his team to see who can work what event.
The captains are Bob Muschamp, Gary Kennedy, PGK Kenny Goss Jr., Vince Long, and Rob Moore. These captains are not listed in any order; however there is competition as to which is the “A” team.
Thanks to all the RED COATS for all your effort and time. If you would to join the red coats, please call Betty Florence at 703-536-9656, ext.6 and she will notify the captains to get you on a team.