Rudy Pino Promoted to Assistant Sales Manager

         WFLA is excited to announce that Rudy Pino has been promoted to Assistant Sales Manager. Rudy has been with WFLA since April 2007, and working in the insurance industry since 1986. This promotion is well deserved with Rudy’s experience, knowledge, and dedication to WFLA. In this role, Rudy will oversee the day to day operation of all sales activities for WFLA. Rudy will have direct supervision of all Agents and Agency Managers to establish the Sales Support and Operations Center. The newly created Sales Support and Operations Center will focus on the goals of; increasing the sales of Western Fraternal Life’s life insurance and annuity products, retaining members and certificates, and assisting in the recruiting and training of Agents & Agency Managers.


Congratulations to Agent
Randy Kolarik, FIC, LUTCF

          Randy was recently elected as the National Association of Fraternal insurance Counselors (NAFIC) President.
          His duties include speaking at state chapter meetings, dealing with any big issues that come up and taking care of the books, being there to serve the FIC members, and being in charge of the NAFIC National Convention. His term is from May 2014 – May 2015.

For more information concerning the National Association, visit their website at:


Jack Minder Appointed Vice President and Treasurer

         Jack Minder was recently appointed Vice President and Treasurer by President Van Dyke. Jack began working for Western Fraternal Life Association as the Accountant in 1982. He was later appointed Controller in 1989. Jack graduated from Coe College with BA Degrees in Business Administration and Accounting. He is involved in multiple volunteer activities including serving as past President of Lodge No 7 and as an event coordinator for the Special Olympics for over 30 years. Jack and his wife Linda have two children, Jason and Lindsay. He has been an avid softball player and was inducted into the Iowa Amateur Softball Association Men’s Fastpitch State Hall of Fame.

2014 Youth Art Contest

         This year, our theme is: Your Superpower. This can be an imaginary power that you would like to have or a real power you possess, such as being compassionate or good at sports, math, singing, reading, dancing, etc. Be creative in how you see yourself and use your superpowers!
         Youth Art Month is an annual observance each March to emphasize the value of art education for all children. Art education develops self-esteem, appreciation of the work of others, self-expression, cooperation with others, and critical thinking skills. These skills are vital to the success of our future leaders, our children.


2013 Photo Contest

          Our 2013 Photo Contest winners can now be viewed online! To view the winning entries, as well as the list of honorable mentions, please click on and follow this link.

          Our Youth Photo contest deadline is November 1st, and the winning entries will be featured in the December issue of the Fraternal Herald. Please keep an eye out for those future results!


2014 National Scholarships

          Applications are now available for the 2014 National Scholarships. To access the application, please click here.

          For more information and to learn more about the Scholarships available, please click here.

2013 Fraternalist of the Year

          We honored Hayward Lodge 44 Secretary Marie Krikava, of Glenville, MN, as the “WFLA Fraternalist of the Year.”  She was chosen from among members in 121 lodges in 17 states for her strong ability to get members involved, her community service, and her work with youth. The award was presented by Director Duane Jirik of New Prague, MN, at the MN State Meeting in Alexandria, MN, on June 22, 2013.


President Craig Van Dyke

           Western Fraternal Life Association’s Board of Directors unanimously chose Craig Van Dyke to serve as President of WFLA until a formal election can take place at their National Convention in 2015. Craig is replacing President Howard Jim Wolfe who is retiring from wfla after 45 years of service to the Association on July 1, 2013. Craig was chosen by the board after an external and internal search.
Craig started his career at wfla in 2000 as the Treasurer of the Association. Since 2008, he has held the position of Senior Vice President and Treasurer. The Association has maintained it financial stability and continued strength during these challenging economic times under Craig’s guidance and direction.
Below is Craig’s message to the membership.
               “I want to thank all of you who have congratulated me and offered encouragement and support since being named the acting President of Western Fraternal Life Association. I also want to thank the Board of Directors for giving me the opportunity to lead this great Association into the future.
              As I look into the future of wfla I see two main challenges: membership growth and financial security. Growing membership is very important to strengthen the association and I believe that we need to increase our membership with actively engaged members. We also need to continue to provide financial security to our members. While low interest rates present significant challenges, wfla has remained financially secure throughout the economic environment we have experienced since 2008. This was done by not taking excessive investment risks and expense management. It is my intent to continue this conservative philosophy and to strengthen and grow the association responsibly. I want to ensure that the financial security we promise our members today will be met in the future.
      In my thirteen years at wfla, I have had the privilege of meeting many of you at State Meetings and Conventions. I look forward to seeing you all again over the next two years before the 2015 convention here in Cedar Rapids. I see great promise in the future of wfla and I thank you again for your encouragement and continued support.”


Jim Wolfe Retires After 45 Years

     Howard “Jim” Wolfe dedicated 45 years to Western Fraternal Life Association and retired June 30. Jim’s career at wfla began in 1968 when he was hired in the I.T. Department. He was promoted to Office Manager in 1973 and was appointed Association Secretary in 1979. Jim became Vice President and Secretary in 2000, and was elected President in 2007 at the 26th National Convention in Cedar Rapids. He served on several Boards: the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, the American Fraternal Alliance, and wfla.
     Jim says his favorite aspect about working at wfla has been that he has, “made friends all over the country.” Many of you have been able to meet with Jim and his wife Judy at one of the many State Meetings, special events, festivals, or National Conventions they attended throughout the years. Jim went out of his way to talk to as many members as he could during those trips. Throughout his time at wfla, he kept an open door policy; members were always encouraged to call him with any concerns or problems. I remember one astonished member remarking, “I never thought the President of a company would have time to talk to me and help me.” The same treatment was extended to all the employees he took the time to know, not only professionally but personally. Jim was not only concerned with the business side of wfla but the fraternal side as well. He participated as often as he could in projects to help communities and encouraged members, employees, and his family to get involved. Jim truly enjoyed his years at wfla and will be remembered for a comment he frequently expressed: “There is no better way, than wfla.”
     Jim is looking forward to traveling more with his wife, Judy. He is proud and excited to be able to spend more time with all his grandkids: Taylor, Hayden, Reece, RiLynn, Rykin, and Ramsey. He is also looking forward to his favorite hobbies: fishing, hunting, and golfing.
     The Home Office staff wish you well, Mr. Wolfe. Enjoy retirement.


Congratulations 2013 Scholarship Recipients!

           We are always thrilled to announce another round of wfla National Scholarship winners. With college expenses increasing each year, it becomes more difficult for students to reach their educational goals. That is why wfla is proud to offer 25 scholarships to ease the financial burden of college expenses.


NEW Exhibit at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library

          Faces of Freedom: The Czech and Slovak Journey opens June 14, 2013. It is the new permanent exhibit at the NCSML. It will feature more than 7,000 square feet of historic artifacts, interactive environments, oral histories and more.



     Check out WFLA’s blog for all things wfla: volunteering stories, lodge features, wfla history, meet the staff, financial advice, recipes, and much more! Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get it directly to your inbox!
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Be An Advocate for WFLA Today!

     If you are a member, or simply believe in the fraternal system, it’s easy to be an advocate for Western Fraternal Life Assocation!
Before the end of the year, take a minute to support your fraternal benefit society. In 2012, the Alliance created the Congressional Resolution 116 offering a strong case for the advantages of our fraternal benefit societies that give back to their local communities. We need the support of at least 100 signatures in the House. Click here to take action: By entering your information, a letter will be automatically generated and emailed to your U.S. Representative. Thank you for your support of this important piece of legislation!

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