Associate Ken Barrie likes to work with his hands, preferably behind the scenes, making things happen for his parish community, St. Patrick Church in Kankakee. When he hears of someone in need — whether they need a coat, a meal, or a wheelchair ramp — he will find a way to take care of them.

Associate Ken Barrie helps direct teen volunteers in sorting donations on Harvest Sunday

That’s why, at the parish’s historic 125th anniversary event last week, Ken found himself front and center, as part of three men being honored with the first St. Patrick Service Award, in memory of the late Len Mulcahy.

Len Mulcahy was a longtime parishioner of St. Patrick’s, known for being a servant leader. His wife, Associate Marilyn Mulcahy, is a pastoral associate at the parish. However, it was their son, Rory Mulcahy, who made the presentation. Along with Ken, its first recipients included: Dennis Glenzinski and Mike Spilsbury.

(L-R) Dennis Glenzinski, Ken Barrie and Mike Spilsbury pose with Fr. John Peeters after receiving their awards.

In recognizing each one, Rory acknowledged that Ken is part of a “dynamic duo,” that includes his wife, Associate Michelle Barrie. Together, they have been youth ministers at St. Patrick’s since 1982. They have led teens on mission trips to Juarez, Mexico, and for the last 20 years to Pembroke Township. They also now serve as leaders in the Office of Catholic Ministry for Bishop McNamara Catholic School.

Associates Ken and Michelle Barrie

“These three men have a deep foundation built upon their faith, family and friendship,” Rory said. “They have volunteered their time, contributed their funds, shared their expertise and provided help whenever needed, and all without hesitation or fanfare.

“These men are shining examples,” he added, “of what it means to serve others.”

Fr. John Peeters, CSV, pastor, presented the men with the first award, which he added would become an annual tradition at the parish.