A family from the Austin area with a special sensitivity for the plight of the homeless has been named the Knights of Columbus International Family of the Year for 2017.
When a single mom and her four children lost their home in a fire, Larry Odom, his wife, Beth, and their 10 children, took them in for five months. It wasn’t the only time they provided such help. The Odoms also carry “homeless bags” when they go out that contain various essentials they give to those in need wherever they are encountered.
“Larry and Beth have taught their children to serve selflessly,” says the formal application from the Knights of Columbus Texas State Council, nominating the Odoms for the award. “Serving others is, for them, a privilege, not a burden.”
“It’s a lesson I learned from my parents,” said Larry. “I remember on more than one occasion, people stayed with us when I was a boy.”
Larry is a member of K of C Council 8156 in Austin, which he decided to join after his family attended a council event.
“We were treated like family,” said Larry. The family atmosphere was contagious and we really enjoyed it,” said Larry.
Larry, Beth, and their children volunteer with the council in a specific way. Together, they help set up, cook, serve and clean for the council’s community dinners and fundraising events.
Larry has been a Knight for 10 years, has held the office of grand knight, and has served as a delegate to both state and international K of C conventions. He is the mayor pro tempore for the City of Hays, Texas, and works as an engineer for Silicon Laboratories.
Beth teaches for a homeschool co-op and serves on the Bishop’s Committee for Homeschooling in the Diocese of Austin. For nine years she also prepared and served meals for Generations of Faith, a monthly program that brings 250 to 400 people together to learn about their faith in a family-based fellowship program.
The Odoms are parishioners at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Austin where six members of the family have served as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion and nine of the 10 children have been altar servers.
Beth said, “My husband and I are involved and my children want to be involved when they are old enough. They enjoy it because they know what’s happening.”
The couple’s oldest son, Alex, has been a Knight for six years and is now a seminarian for the Diocese of Austin. One daughter, Crystal, is discerning a vocation with the Sisters of St. John in the Philippines. The Odoms have also been involved in youth catechesis, ACTS Retreat Ministry, 40 Days for Life, the Toastmasters Club, Boy Scouts, and parish choirs.
On his family receiving the award, Larry said, “It is very humbling…It’s a tremendous honor. We’re happy for the recognition and excited and happy to be able to serve.”