By Amy Eichsteadt
Central Wisconsin Knights share their pro-life charism by purchasing ultrasound machine for pregnancy resource center
When First Choice Pregnancy Resource Center (FCPRC) member and Knight Jim Havlovick of St. Bronislava Parish in Plover learned that the Wisconsin Rapids center’s ultrasound machine was beyond repair, he took it upon himself to involve his fellow Knights in raising money for a new one.
The Knights of Columbus have a state and national “Culture of Life” fund, with most of its reserves going to crisis pregnancy centers and the purchase of ultrasound machines. Local councils are responsible for raising half the cost of the requested machine and the Supreme Council (international headquarters) contributes the other half.
With machines costing around $60,000, raising funds for an ultrasound machine is no small feat. Thankfully, Samsung is a socially aware company that values the Culture of Life efforts of the Knights and offers 50 percent discounts on machines, leaving the Knights with a remainder of just under $30,000 to raise. Additionally, according to Leigh Ann Trzinski, executive director of the FCPRC, “Samsung does not sell ultrasound machines to Planned Parenthood or other abortion providers. So they are definitely the company we are going to purchase from.”
In Central Wisconsin, eight councils have come together to share the challenge: Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids, Nekoosa, Junction City, Plover, Pittsville, Plainfield and Polonia have each committed to raising just under $2,000 for the machine. At the meeting of the Stevens Point Council #1170 on Dec. 3, Chaplain Father Todd Mlsna encouraged the efforts, saying, “I think this is of utmost importance. This is truly a way we can live our pro-life charism as Knights of Columbus.”
According to a release by the Wisconsin State Council, Knights of Columbus and Dan Miller, the Culture of Life Director, “Crisis Pregnancy Centers located throughout the state are making a HUGE difference. With the help of ultrasound technology used in conjunction with skilled pro-life crisis pregnancy counselors, they are AVERAGING a 97 percent ‘save’ rate.” The Knights view this as an unbeatable ‘Return on Investment,’ one with “INFINITE value and worth.”
The First Choice Pregnancy Resource Center, a not-for-profit organization with centers in both Wisconsin Rapids and Stevens Point, is a worthy recipient of such a donation. Their offices provide a host of life-promoting services to clients, all completely free of charge, including pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, parenting classes, connections to community and financial resources, counseling, post-abortive healing, adoption planning services and a large baby boutique where families in need can gather new clothing, necessities and even furniture for their little one on the way.
The centers radiate an atmosphere of warmth, welcome and security. The faith is also a major component of the mission and workings of the centers, though it is never forced. Trzinski explains of her work, “Some days, especially those filled with waiting and uncertainty, are very difficult, but some are filled with so much joy.” She adds, “The evil one is certainly at work here too, more so than anywhere else I have worked,” explaining that their work saving babies, mothers and families, as well as the faith and truth that are shared daily, make Satan very angry and present, which can often make the work very difficult.
It is essential that organizations like the Knights and individuals, who can financially and spiritually support this and other crisis pregnancy centers’ efforts come together to do so. There are so many ways to get involved. For we hear Jesus’ words echoing, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”