A lifetime of service: Dickinson's Ken and Cherie Roshau family named ND Family of the YearThe Ken and Cherie Roshau family of Dickinson was recognized for a lifetime of service to their church and community when they were named Family of the Year by the North Dakota Knights of Columbus. The award was announced at the 105th annual convention in Bismarck, April 27-28.
By: Linda Sailer, The Dickinson Press
The Ken and Cherie Roshau family of Dickinson was recognized for a lifetime of service to their church and community when they were named Family of the Year by the North Dakota Knights of Columbus.
The award was announced at the 105th annual convention in Bismarck, April 27-28.
Ken Roshau said their community involvement began with their children’s activities.
“We’d see they needed help and pretty soon we were involved,” he said.
The Roshaus are members of St. Joseph’s Parish and Council 9308.
“I’ve been a member of the parish all my life,” he said. “The pastors and I have always gotten along. I served on the Finance Council when we built a house for the priest.”
The Roshaus taught community service by example, and becoming a friend to someone who needed one.
“When the kids were growing up and they’d want a birthday party, I’d say bring three close friends and two other kids — they’d have a great time,” Roshau said.
They opened their home to international students, and one student, Yohannes Taddessee continues to call them ‘mom and dad.’
Roshau works as director of youth ministry for the Diocese of Bismarck — a position he’s held for 19 years.
“I coordinate events such as the youth rallies and SEARCH programs,” he said. “Cherie and I work together — I couldn’t do it without her.”
Cherie Roshau, who has taught art and religion at Trinity High School for 29 years, grew up in a rural parish south of Wibaux, Mont. Helping their neighbors was a way of life.
“We didn’t call it volunteerism, it was what we were supposed to do,” she said. “If the neighbors needed help, Mom sent us over to help.”
She has a heart for prison ministry, having taught at the Dakota Women’s Correctional and Rehabilitation Center, New England, and the Dakota Horizons Youth Center, Dickinson.
“Someone asked what the difference was between teaching young people and Trinity students, and I said they have the same needs and wants — people need to be loved and feel worthy,” she said.
They also have a heart for the Catholic missions, having volunteered at Standing Rock Reservation and at Mandaree.
The Roshaus have been lifetime learners. They both earned a master’s degree in pastoral ministry by traveling one weekend a month to St. John’s University in Minnesota.
Cherie Roshau is now studying for certification in grief ministry.
“When we talk about bereavement and loss, it’s not only working with those who are dying, but people experience grief and lost in their lives, be it divorce, loss of a job or loss of dignity,” she said. “People experience losses throughout their lives. The big thing is being present to one another in a person’s pain and personal loss.”
The Roshaus serve their parish on committees, as Eucharistic ministers and readers. They have been chaperones to World Youth Days, National Catholic Youth Conferences and youth rallies.
“My favorite part is the ‘ah-hah’ moments when the kids experience a spiritual awakening,” she said.
The Roshaus have three grown children — Elise (Chris) Luquette, Las Vegas; Heidi (Shad) Knopik, Dickinson and Brant, Dickinson.
Knopik described her parents as genuine people.
“They’ve always looked out for other people before themselves,” she said. “They taught us love of family and the desire to give back.”
The Roshaus also have seven grandchildren, Nathaniel, Michael, Gabrielle, Isabelle, Kael, Zoe and Zander.
“I always think of grandparents as recycled parents — we go to their games and plays,” said Cherie Roshau.
The family stays connected through reunions, texting and the Internet, she said.
“In some ways, I think today’s methods of communication are actually advantageous — a child can communicate throughout the day and parents are able to communicate more readily with their teachers,” she said.
Dennis Meyer, Council 6308 grand knight, said the council nominated the Roshau family, based on their community service, faith and family values.
“The biggest thing I’ve seen is their involvement with the youth in the diocese,” he said.
The Rev. Keith Streifel, pastor of St. Joseph’s Parish, said the family fills the scriptural call to be ambassadors for Christ.
“The most compelling reason for choosing this family as North Dakota Knights of Columbus Family of the Year is their Corporal Works of Mercy,” he said.
He said they have participated in clothing drives, food drives, blood drives, Indian mission, hospice care, prison ministry, Special Olympics, pro-life activities, fundraisers and grief ministry.
The North Dakota KC council also named Glenn Wagner, South Heart, as North Dakota State Deputy. They are members of Council 9043 and St. Mary’s Parish.
The Roshau’s nomination was forwarded to the national Knights of Columbus.