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Know Our Knights: Rob Ryan

Degree: Fourth Degree

Member since: 1998

Hometown: Oelwein, Iowa

Recent recipient of the 2021 Knight of the Year Award, Rob Ryan, helps to make a difference in local parishes around Des Moines by serving as the Knights Insurance Agent.

Rob graduated from Oelwein High School and he continued his education at Central College in Pella, Iowa. Rob received his Bachelors in Pre-Health and later received his Master’s from Des Moines University in Physical Therapy.

Physical therapy took Rob to central Iowa where he worked in a few different places while living in Grimes then eventually moving to West Des Moines.

After nine years of working as a physical therapist, Rob changed career paths and took on his vocation of becoming a field agent for the past 20 years.

Rob is a proud member of the St. Francis Parish and after being asked by his parish priest, Rob made the decision to join the Knights of Columbus.


Rob and his wife Nicole together have two sons, the oldest Andrew is 21 and Alex is 18. Both boys are also a part of the Knights of Columbus.

“I’ve got a great wife, I have great kids, I just try to be the best dad I can be, the best husband I can be. My council does a lot of great things, I try to help out when I am able and I try to be like them.”

Rob grew up Catholic and joined the Knights as a Charter member of Council #12130 in Granger. Though he was believed to be the first Knight in his immediate family, Rob discovered at his grandfather's funeral that he too was involved in the Knights of Columbus.


“It’s my vocation,” Rob said. The Knights of Columbus has an insurance program and the program has helped to change many people's lives. Rob is currently working as the Knights field agent where he coordinates the fraternal benefits.

Years back, Rob and his wife Nicole were starting a family and unfortunately Rob received a pay cut. Knowing a child was on the way, Rob talked to his field agent and asked, “how do I get your job?”

“It has been a great thing for our family,” Rob said. “Our boys didn’t have day care, They had a parent at home all the time. I’ve been blessed as a Knight and it’s the greatest thing I’ve ever done with my life.”

This past year Rob was humbled when he was recognized as the Knight of the Year for the state of Iowa. Rob said he just tries to keep up with his fellow Knights and do what he can to serve those around him.

“My dad died when I was a kid so I really believe in what I do. It felt like I became an orphan, my mom was always working,” Rob said. “You can’t replace a father, you can’t replace a spouse, but you can reduce the financial impact. Across the industry, what field agents do is very noble. It protects families.”

Rob feels honored to serve the families not just within the St. Francis parish but also Sacred Heart and two councils within Ankeny. “It’s the greatest service organization in the world, there are a lot of good ones but no one does for our church or our community what the Knights of Columbus do.”

The experience Rob has received from being within the Knights has made him a better husband and father he says. He is blessed to be able to do things he wouldn’t be able to with a normal nine to five job.

“I’m very blessed, it’s overwhelming,” Rob said. “It is everything that is important, my family, my faith, my finances and my friends. It’s all wrapped together, I can’t separate all that into different compartments, it’s all welded together.”

“I don’t know what else I would do with my life. When I say it’s my vocation, it's true. This is what I was created to do.”

Rob dares young Knights to do just one thing. Once you do one, it’ll lead to two things and eventually more. He says, “you get so much more out of it than you put into it; it’s humbling and it’ll change your life. I’ve been given a gift and I’m going to give that gift to you.”

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