The Order of Knighthood is an appendant organization of older DeMolays who are between 16 and 21 years of age; and are organized into a subordinate unit known as a Priory, with its own officers and ritual.
Colonel James Nicholas "Nick" Rowe, a DeMolay of M.P. James Chapter in McAllen, Texas, and the Priory's namesake, was one of only thirty-four American prisoners of war to escape captivity during the Vietnam War.
Florida Knighthood sponsors three events throughout the year. They are: Cotillion, Spring Fest and Convocation. Also, Florida Knighthood is very active at Florida DeMolay Conclave and Mini-Conclave.
Extend and assist the Order of DeMolay and its Chapters
Maintain the active interest of older DeMolays
Provide an interesting program for the Priory members
Above all to provide and maintain a proper example for all DeMolays
The Florida DeMolay Knighthood Priory is named in memory of Colonel James “Nick” Rowe who, while on active duty as Ground Forces Director for the US Military Advisory Group, Philippines, was shot and killed on 21 April 1989. The naming of Florida’s State Priory represents an expression of appreciation and respect for his contributions to the Special Forces Community, his nation, and DeMolay.
Nick Rowe was born in McAllen, Texas, 8 February 1938. He graduated from McAllen High School in 1956. He was an active DeMolay during his school years. He entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1960 with a second lieutenant’s commission in the Field Artillery. During the next three years, he completed the Field Artillery Officer’s Basic Course, Airborne School, Ranger School, Chinese Mandarin School, and served with the 7th Special Forces group (Airborne).
In July 1963, Lt. Rowe deployed to South Viet Nam. On 29 October 1963, while with Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha-23, he was captured in a fire fight with the Viet Cong. Kept in confinement for five years, Lt. Rowe remained faithful to his God, country, DeMolay ideals and the Special Forces. Marked for death, he escaped on the eve of his execution.
Returning to active duty, Maj. Rowe served with the Defense Intelligence Agency until his resignation in 1974. Recalled to active duty in 1981, Lt. Col. Rowe returned to Fort Bragg where he created the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE) Course. He later commanded the 1st Special Warfare Training Battalion (Airborne) until his assignment to the Philippines.
Col. Rowe’s awards and decorations include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, Meritorious Service Medal, Prisoner of War Medal, National Defense Service Medal with 8 campaign stars, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Ribbon, Combat Infantry Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Ranger Tab, Special Forces Tab, and Vietnamese Parachutist Badge, His DeMolay honors include the Active Legion of Honor, and membership in the International DeMolay Hall of Fame.
The Order of the Cross of Jerusalem was instituted on July 16th, 2011 by Sir Knight David A. Aponte, Right Eminent Grand Commander (2011-2012).
The Grand Commandery of Florida recognizes and approves the Award of Distinction known as Knight of the Cross of Jerusalem (for Order of DeMolay Knights going above and beyond the call of duty). This award is exclusively for active DeMolays who are members of the DeMolay Order of Knighthood, not Advisors. The DeMolay Knights will be honored and knighted at their Annual Conclave. The Grand Commander may knight a maximum of seven during any given year. The knighting shall be done by the Grand Commander or his representative. The Knights of the Cross of Jerusalem will be distinguished by wearing a black and white sash with a red Cross of Jerusalem on the upper central white portion of the sash. The Knight of the Cross of Jerusalem may be allowed to wear his award at any non-tiled event or function of the Grand Commandery or a Constituent Commandery. The Grand Commandery’s Youth Committee shall be responsible for sending out the nomination form to the DeMolay Chapters in Florida and the recommendations to the Grand Commander. The Committee’s recommendations shall be submitted to the Grand Commander 30 days before the Annual Grand Conclave. The final selection shall be done by the Grand Commander prior to him leaving office. The incoming Grand Commander will be responsible to present the award.
The following Knighthood members have received this Award of Distinction:
Gregor Berry - J Edwin Larson
Brendon Blankinship - Greater Titusville
Jesse Knafla - Paul Revere
Jeff Meister - Escambia
Tyler Sallee - Greater Titusville
Jerrod Threadgill - Paul Revere
Kevin Velazquez - Dale Chapman
McLean Haughey - Paul Revere
Justin Prowant - Dale Chapman
Harrison Sherwin - Sarasota
Canpaza "Teak" Matoax - Gainesville
Martin J Cox - Oleeta West Dade
Brian Catalano - Dale Chapman
Jackson C. - John Wayne
Hunter H. - First Coast