For both Storm Lake native Eric Wordekemper and the local Knights of Columbus Council, things are really cooking.
The Knights on Sunday held their first omelette breakfast fundraiser for people with intellectual disabilities in Storm Lake, with some 550 patrons turning out to consume almost all of the supplies on hand.
For Wordekemper, it was not only a chance to help out in his hometown by serving as a honorary chairman of the event, but a chance to bring home some good news.
The young pitcher in the New York Yankees organization has been called up to Double-A ball, two steps from the majors, and will play for the Trenton Thunder in New Jersey next spring. He also recently learned that he has been named Pitcher of the Year in the Florida League, where he has completed an outstanding year as a reliever with Tampa.
The Knights of Columbus in past years have operated a car show to raise funds for local services such as Faith, Hope & Charity, Genesis work activity program, and Special Olympics. The group had to give that up this year due to a lack of manpower.
Knights spokesperson John Murray was pleased with the response to the breakfast event. "I think it will go even better next year," he said. "I think the breakfast fundraisers can become a tradition in Storm Lake. As more people learn about it, the more they will help."
Murray was still calculating the final numbers, but a silent auction, Tootise Rolls sale and business contributions added to the cause as well.
The Knights have long been committed to the cause, offering the car show, telathons and a change drive.
Wordekemper, a 2002 St. Mary's graduate, was a surprise addition to the plans for the new fundraiser event.
"I'm honored to be asked to be the chairman of the event," Wordekemper said during a lunch on Monday to honor people who joined the Champions Circle. "I was glad that I was able to come back and help out."
Twelve people /organizations donated over $100 each to be place Champions Circle - E & M Furniture, Lake Creek Country Club, Kueh & Payer, Security Trust and Savings Bank, Taylor Contracting, BV Manor, Fitzpatrick Auto Center, T. H. Fitzpatrick, Steve and Diane Hamilton, KAYL, Liberty Foods and the Pilot-Tribune.
Wordekemper signed baseballs for kids and even a plate after the balls were gone on Sunday.
"A lot of them recognize me and I knew who they were but they had grown so much that it took a bit to recognize them," Wordekemper said. "It was great to be able to see them."
Wordekemper has gotten used to signing autographs, but it's still a thrill to have kids ask.
"There are a lot of collectors wanting autographs to go sell on Ebay or something.," Wordekemper said. "But I have heard kids playing catch with the balls I've signed as well."
During the Champions Circle Lunch, three students from Storm Lake St. Mary's won autographed balls and bats.
According to Sister Donna Determan, students who were caught by teachers being good were able to enter their names to win the prizes. They gave Wordekemper a hug before returning to class work.
Murray thanked everyone for their support and helping make the drive successful.