Knights of Columbus announce family of the year

March 6, 2019

The Schuyler Knights of Columbus St. Anthony of Padua Council # 2716 will hold its annual Awards Banquet on Saturday, March 16, at St. Augustine’s Parish Hall in Schuyler.

The evening will begin with a social at 6 p.m., followed by the meal at 6:45. The Matt and Jill Bailey family will be honored as the council’s Family of the Year.

Matt Bailey grew up under Mel and Kitty’s roof just east of Schuyler. Helping on the farm and the farrow to finish hog operation was how he spent his time with his brother, Art and older sister, Kris. Meanwhile, two counties to the east, Leroy and Kathy Laaker were raising their youngest, Jill in a similar way. Her siblings Brian, Amy, and Kay all helped Leroy on their farm just east of Arlington.

Matt and Jill both went to Southeast Community College where they eventually met due to common friends, Rod and Tasha Jedlicka. With no intention of a second date, Matt asked Jill out, and as the old cliche goes, the rest is history. Being raised Lutheran, Jill had many questions about Matt’s faith and so did her family. And rightly so. Matt and his family did their best, but the path they were headed down seemed to lead to more and more questions.

Eventually, those questions would lead them to the door of Father Roland Peschel, who was stationed at St. Patrick’s in Fremont. Even though RCIA classes were already two months underway, Fr. Peschel took them both in, got them caught up by one-on-one meetings and did marriage prep at the same time. The fact that he was willing to take in two perfect strangers and go out of his way to make sure that their sacrament of Marriage went smoothly left a lasting impression on them both.

Somehow or other, Matt and Jill’s names were passed off to the Family Life Office in Omaha and they were asked to help with marriage prep classes at the St. Benedict Center. Given the journey they had to get the sacrament, they agreed and taught several classes over the course of about four years. Since then, Matt has continued to Lector and has become involved in the Knights of Columbus since Feb. 29, 2004, currently serving as the Knights’ Inside Guard, a member of its First Degree Team and part of its Car Show Committee during the Knights’ Spring Festival. He also recently started helping with eighth-grade confirmation class.

Jill also helps Divine Mercy Parish by serving on Parish Council and on the Faith Formation Board, and she helps put together the children’s Mass at Christmas. Both of them EMHC, usher, and help with fish fries, fundraisers and other parish and community activities and boards.

Their kids stay active, too. The oldest, Eliza, is in eighth grade and just recently started singing in a choir with her friends Ben and Piper Lefdal and Collin Gibbons, with Veronica Madja on the keyboard, under the guidance of Christina Podolak. She also serves at Mass with her 11-year-old brother, Hayden. To date, no public fights or uncontrolled fires have resulted from this, much to the surprise of Matt and Jill! The youngest of the clan, Lindley, is going to receive her First Communion this year at the age of 8. All three help with weeds and water in their garden at home as well as keeping their hens happy. They also enjoy keeping tabs on one another at the pink school.

Jill has the privilege of seeing their kids grow up as well as watching other kids grow and learn in her home daycare. When she is not chasing after little ones, she also enjoys helping with their 4-H club or supporting any one of the kids’ activities by coaching or navigating the Bailey Bus. Matt tries to stay out of their way best he can! His family’s farm and agriculture business keep him occupied most of the time. He also serves as a director on the Lower Platte North NRD, and Co-Chair of the Shell Creek Watershed Improvement Group.

All of these activities have left the family in awe of all the blessings that have come to them. Most importantly, all the amazing people that are there to support them and keep them on a solid path towards Christ. Whether it is piano lessons and some unsolicited wisdom, or a quick conversation in the “cornfield confessional”, the support that follows the Baileys is nothing short of exceptional.

These are just a few ways in which this humble and friendly family exemplifies service to our community, our Knights of Columbus Council and our Church. They serve not for recognition or publicity, but out of a sense of duty and reverence. This is why the St. Anthony of Padua Knights of Columbus Schuyler Council # 2716 has selected the Matt and Jill Bailey family as our 2019 Family of the Year.

Other membership service awards will be presented at the banquet. For reservations, call Tom Bayer at 402-615-5061 or Doug Eisenmann at 402-615-2513 no later than Tuesday, March 12. The cost of the banquet tickets is $12.50.