By RENEE WEBB
Twin brothers from Fort Dodge and their wives – Dan and Roxanne Flattery along with Dave and Debbie Flattery — will chair the 2018 Bishop’s Dinner for Catholic Schools slated for Oct. 21 at the Sioux City Convention Center.
With their strong belief in Catholic education, Dan said they are honored to serve as chairs of this year’s Bishop’s Dinner.
“My wife and I have nothing but high regard and respect for Bishop (Walker) Nickless and we feel honored to be part of this dinner and associated with Catholic education in the Diocese of Sioux City,” said Dave, who noted the dinner is an important event to focus on Catholic education, raise money for the schools and recognize educators. “To hear and see prominent speakers talk about their faith and Catholic education helps to reaffirm our own faith.”
The twins and their siblings, raised on a farm near Vincent, attended public grade school and then went to St. Edmond’s for high school, thanks to the encouragement of the late Msgr. Louis Kollasch.
“My brothers and sisters had a different perspective because we went to public school through eighth grade and then we saw the difference between the schools,” said Dan, who is a State Farm Insurance agent.
Some of the things that stood out for him in attending a Catholic school were not just the visible elements such as crucifixes on the walls and school uniforms, but the experiences of school Masses, prayer before sporting events and the sense of unity formed because they were all there for the same reason – trying to get to heaven.
Roxanne, who also works at State Farm, attended grade school at Corpus Christi and graduated from St. Edmond in 1978.
“I had parents that both attended Catholic schools and understanding our Catholic faith has become even more important to be able to stand up for those beliefs,” she said. “A spiritual life with Jesus beside us daily leads us to goodness, through the joys and hardships of life and gives meaning and purpose to our decisions, vocations and needs in this world and the next.”
Dave, market president and trust officer at Availa Bank in Fort Dodge, said in his family everything begins with faith.
“Like my parents instilled in us, I believe that Catholic schools should be an extension of the family,” he said. “Because our students share a common faith, it creates an educational experience that is conducive to learning in a Christ-centered environment.”
Debbie, who attended grade school at Corpus Christi and graduated from St. Edmond’s, said her belief in Catholic schools was handed down from her parents, Hans and Darlene Nielsen.
“When they moved to Fort Dodge, they considered the Catholic schools to be a huge asset for our community and family,” she said.
Dan and Roxanne are the parents of six children: Michael, 2006 St. Edmond graduate; Patrick, 2009 St. Edmond graduate; Clare, 2015 graduate of St. Edmond; Colin, 2016 graduate of St. Edmond; Erin, a junior at St. Edmond and Sean, a freshman at St. Edmond.
“A strong faith is a great foundation to build on in our family and through a Catholic education it has allowed children to practice their faith daily,” said Roxanne, who is a firm believer in parents seeking help to reinforce values in children that help keep them holy and happy. “Their spiritual life, education, athletics, talents and relationships are all choices developed throughout life because of the fundamentals and disciplines they are taught while young and the examples they see from others.”
Dave and Debbie are the parents of five children who all graduated from St. Edmond: Andy, a 2003 graduate; Tim, a 2004 graduate; Joe, a 2009 graduate; Neil, a 2012 graduate and Megan, a 2017 graduate.
“The schools reinforce our Catholic and family values,” said Debbie, who is a CPA working for Perkins Law and Bowser and Richman, PC. “I have also always found the spirit and camaraderie in our Catholic schools to be something special and unique, something I wanted to pass on to my children.”
Dave said Catholic education is needed now more than ever in a society that tries to turn people away from God.
Guest speaker for the event will be Sister Miriam James, a member of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT).
When they were asked to serve for the Bishop’s Dinner, what really clenched it for Dan was the keynote speaker. He went to YouTube and after hearing Sister Miriam speak, Dan said, “She was terrific and that convinced me that I wanted to be a part of this.”
Tickets to the dinner go on sale Sept. 3 and can be purchased at scdiocese.org or by calling the Diocese of Sioux City at (712) 255-7933.