The Chiles Province Court of Honor recently held two induction ceremonies to recognize alumni for their personal and professional accomplishments and outstanding service to the Order.
The Court inducted Dave J. Richard (Delta Pi–Missouri Southern State ’71), a founder of the Delta Pi Chapter, on January 13th, 2024, at the Joplin Area Alumni Chapter Convivium.
Joel Kovach (Beta Alpha–Missouri S&T ’01) and Thomas J. Wilkison (Gamma Beta–Missouri State ’90) were inducted on January 20th, 2024, at Gateway Alumni Chapter Convivium.
Dave J. Richard
David J. Richard worked with Randy Scholze, Jeff Dymott and other local fraternity brothers to make Kappa Alpha, Delta Pi Chapter, a reality. The chapter was installed on October 15, 1971. With great pride, David served as III. Thomas Lee Hubbard, David’s previous Little Brother, and Randy Richard were initiated at the same time. Later, both of them served as I and were instrumental in growing the chapter. In the first pledge, Barry Richard was initiated.
David and J.J. Kelly were charged with locating an appropriate fraternity house. Thanks to the guidance and financial backing of their fathers, Carl Richard and Joe Kelly, a five-year lease was signed on a house in the middle of 20 acres. Randy Richard was instrumental in making the house function efficiently. David and Randy organized the first all Greek dance. All of the brothers helped to completely refurbish the two-story home with a basement. After graduation, David visited Tom Tune, chapter advisor, and stayed at his home in Shelbyville, Tennessee several times. For over 50 years, David has stayed in touch with many of his KA brothers and has get-togethers each year. In fact, Brother Todd Thorpe, Delta Pi ’71 and David along with several other KAs, have organized a monthly luncheon with brothers. Presently, 10 brothers and some of their wives attend.
David’s motto is “KAs for life and friends forever!”
Joel is a member of the Beta Alpha Chapter at Missouri Science and Technology formerly known as the University of Missouri Rolla. Joel was initiated in 2002 and served as the Number IV Corresponding Secretary for the Chapter in 2003-2004. While at Rolla he studied Aerospace Engineering while participating in the US Army Reserve Officers Training Corps.
Following college, Joel joined the US Army as a Medevac Pilot flying Blackhawk helicopters. He attended Flight School at Fort Rucker in Alabama and was stationed at Fort Riley in Kansas most of his service. He served as a Section Leader in Operation Iraqi Freedom and a Platoon Leader in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. During his time in Afghanistan he flew more than 61 combat missions evacuating over 85 patients during that time and was awarded the Bronze Star and Combat Medical Badge for exemplary performance while deployed.
It was during his time in the Army that he met his lovely wife, Margaret whom he married in 2013. Both continued to serve the Army at Fort Riley until the 2014-15 timeframe. We thank them both for their service to our County.
After the Army, Joel relocated closer to his family in St. Louis to be a Human Factors Engineer for Boeing in 2015. Human Factor Engineers are responsible for the human vehicle design interface and how a pilot might better work with complex aircraft systems. Obviously, his background in Aerospace Engineering and the Army has helped him in his career. In 2022, Joel moved from Boeing to Collins Aerospace as a Senior Principal Human Factors Engineer.
Joel served as our Alumni Chapter secretary for 4 years. I can personally tell you that Joel is a constant at almost all alumni events.
Thomas J. Wilkison
Tom was initiated into the Gamma Beta Chapter at Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, now named Missouri State University. Initiated in 1990, Tom served the chapter as the number VIII, VII, and II.
Following college, Tom joined the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department where he worked for 7 years. He left the city in 2002 and joined the St. Charles City Police Department, where he has been for the past 22 years, and has successfully risen through the ranks and currently holds the rank of Lieutenant. He has served as a patrol and detective lieutenant and is currently assigned to administration.
You may have seen his face on tv throughout the years, and that is because Tom is the St. Charles City Police spokesperson.
In addition to his career, Tom serves on several boards. He is currently the vice-president and president-elect of the statewide Missouri Peace Officers Association, and sits on the executive board for the Child Advocacy Center of Northeast Missouri which carries the mission of safeguarding children from sexual abuse, physical abuse and providing care for children who witness violence.
Tom is also active in the St. Louis Alumni Chapter of Missouri State University, and he has served as our Convivium Chair for the past two years.