The Telemachus Award is given in recognition of faithfully and courageously speaking for innocent human life. Historically presented at the annual fall banquet, it is now awarded at the annual Picnic.
Telemachus, a fourth-century monk who lived in a monastery, felt God calling him to Rome. He couldn’t figure out why God would want him in Rome, but he felt the pressure to go. When he got to Rome, people were running about the city in great confusion hurrying to the amphitheater. He had arrived on a day when the gladiators were going to fight other gladiators and animals. Telemachus thought this must be why God had called him to Rome. He walked into the amphitheater. He sat down among 80,000 people who cheered as the gladiators came out. The little monk thought to himself, “Here we are, four centuries after Christ, in a civilized nation, and people are killing one another for the entertainment of the crowd. This isn’t Christian!”
Telemachus got up out of his seat, ran down the steps, climbed over the wall, walked out to the center of the amphitheater, and stood between two large gladiators. Putting his hands up, he meekly cried out, “In the name of Christ, stop!” The crowd laughed and jeered. One of the gladiators slapped Telemachus in the stomach with his sword and sent him spinning off into the dust.
Telemachus got up and again stood between the two huge gladiators. He repeated, “In the name of Christ, stop.”
This time the crowd chanted, “Run him through!” One of the gladiators took his sword and ran it through Telemachus’ stomach. He fell into the dust and the sand turned red as blood ran out of him.
One last time, Telemachus weakly cried out, “In the name of Christ, stop.” He died on the amphitheater floor. The crowd grew silent, and within minutes they emptied out of the amphitheater.
History records that, thanks to Telemachus, this was the last gladiatorial contest in the history of the Roman Empire.
Recipients of the Telemachus Award
2015 – Marlene and Joe Romie
2014 – Mike Spencer
2013 – Dean & Evelyn Witte
2012 – Max & Linda Zimmerman
2011 – Dr. Dean O. Wenthe
2008 – Kurt E Marquart
2007 – Mary Cross Tippmann
2006 – Susan Landrigan
2005 – Pam Durdahl
2004 – Wendell Brane
2003 – Phyllis Conroy-Avila