Recent News | Western Fraternal Life

Recent News


Aug
22
Members submitted their favorite potluck recipes.
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Jul
26
No. 193 and No. 38 held unique environmental activities for Join Hands Day.
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Jul
20
NOTICE: if you reside in Cook, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties in Illinois, please check the following website relating to recent flooding: http://insurance.illinois.gov/cb/2017/CB2017-03.pdf
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Jul
19
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Jun
27
Young members, especially those involved in Western's Young Engaged Lodge Leaders (YELL!) groups, are helping define what Western will look like in the years to come. A good example is Michigan No. 225 (Bannister, MI), an active lodge with a strong YELL! group. This article discusses details of a recent lock-in event and more about YELL!
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Jun
15
Phillips, WI remembers the events of Lidice and holds a festival.
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Jun
07
This year marks the celebration of 120 years of Western Fraternal Life.
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Jun
01
Czech last names are effected by a variety of influences and can even change according to a person’s gender. It may be interesting to learn some of this information if you want to try to trace your lineage and learn about your ancestors. The origin of a name can be influenced by things such as profession, language, and descriptive characteristics.
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May
24
Memorial Day is observed on May 29 to honor the fallen service members of the U.S. military. Many businesses close in honor of the day. Here are some other ways to observe Memorial Day:
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May
22
This article discusses the ways that No. 95, No. 101, No. 8, No. 203, and No. 426 are recognizing Memorial Day.
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May
11
Congratulations to this year's member graduates! Their names are listed below and were entered into a drawing for $100 from Western. Kaitlyn Knuth, Taygan James Psota, and Kyle Malek were awarded this year's prize drawing.
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Apr
27
In honor of the National Park Service 100th birthday in 2016, No. 141 members Jean Dressel and JoAnn Parks took a camping/hiking trip to Glacier National Park (GNP) in July.
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Apr
11
The tour guides of Taste of Prague, Jan Valenta and Zuzi Dankova, say it best with their advice, “Arrive hungry! You look skinny, and should eat more.” They agreed to spill some delicious details for the foodies of Western Fraternal Life.
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Apr
04
The financial reporting has been completed and Western Fraternal Life remains financially strong. Assets have grown to more than $295 million. Premium income and investment income both increased for the year. These are the main sources of income and provided a more than adequate cash flow required to maintain our insurance operations.
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Mar
30
Joan Smatt-Peterson shares an account of finding information about her ancestry.
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Mar
28
Several months ago, I searched for a recipe that I could use for breakfast. It had to fit several criteria: cheap, filling, easy to make, and (relatively) healthy. I found a recipe on a website called Chocolate Covered Katie that I thought fit the bill. The recipe was called Breakfast Oatmeal Cupcakes but I re-named them because cupcakes seemed misleading.
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Mar
23
Connie Jean (Pesek) Hulinsky speaks about visiting the Czech Republic and discovering her family.
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Mar
21
The list indicates the lodges who have received a lodge award for activities performed in 2016. On behalf of the Board of Directors, the Management Team, Agents, and the Home Office staff, I would like to congratulate all the lodges who participated in the lodge award program. Eleven lodges received the Outstanding Leadership Award, fifty-three lodges received the Level I Award, nine lodges received the Level II Award, and ten lodges received the Level III Award.
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Mar
20
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Mar
16
Paula Hughart tells about her grandfather's journey to establish a life in America.
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Mar
02
A summary of: Fall Bags for Eduction (No. 296), Brat Fry for Medical Responders (No. 391), Thanksgiving Dance and Sale (No. 203), and Village of Ashley (No. 225).
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Feb
27
Ready for some inspiration? Members of Western were kind enough to share some of their arts and crafts projects. Check out what they have been working on!
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Feb
23
Members of Michigan No. 225 (Bannister, MI) like to put their creativity to good use in order to comfort others. Their highlighted projects were an opportunity for the YELL! youth to learn new skills, as well as a chance to give comfort to foster children and hospice patients.
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Feb
17
The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library (NCSML) has received a generous sponsorship for the next five years from Western Fraternal Life.
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Feb
06
New exhibition at NCSML features photography from Čičmany Village by Jaroslav Horečný. This article focuses on the houses that inspired the photographs.
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Feb
03
Memorize the following. The first letter of each of these words spells FAST. Pay attention and you could help save someone's life.
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Feb
02
No. 45 (Omaha, NE) made scarves for people in need. Directions included.
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Jan
18
Kosobud No. 106 (Lankin, ND) was established in 1901. In this article, members share their 116-year history.
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Jan
11
As Nova Cechie No. 247 (Flint, MI) celebrates 100 years, they share their history.
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Jan
06
On behalf of the Board of Directors, Management Team, and Home Office staff, we wish you a happy New Year.
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Jan
04
Cedar No. 7 (Cedar Rapids, IA) raised money to support the Cedar Valley Humane Society. The group held two fundraisers with support from the Matching Funds program.
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Dec
30
Jennings, KS came out in support of its fire department and Historic Building Preservation Fund for the 25th annual Fireman's Fun Day. It is a community event that combines a variety of activities and fun that all raise money for the organizations. Jennings No. 153 has been involved in helping for the last four years, and has utilized the Matching Funds to help increase the funds raised.
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Dec
28
North Texas No. 446 had a garage/bake sale for their local crisis center.
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Dec
21
Boleslav Jablonsky No. 219 used a bake sale to help cancer patients.
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Dec
14
The Western Fraternal Life's Family Benefit program continues to assist members in need. So far, Western has provided $30,000 to members since starting the benefit in 2011. The Family Benefit provides up to five, $1,000 awards annually for costs associated with senior care, child care, respite care, elementary and secondary education, or extracurricular activities. The following are recipients of the 2016 Family Benefit grants.
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Dec
07
Heroes villains, princesses, monsters, and creatures of all kinds came out in force for the annual Trunk-or-Treat event. Festivities were held in Western Fraternal Life's parking lot on October 25 in Cedar Rapids, IA. The most successful yet, the event hosted over 250 children that visited decorated vehicle trunks and were rewarded with candy. Members of Cedar No. 7, Heritage No. 13, Cedar Rapids No. 262, Hawkeye No. 423, and Home Office staff hosted the trunks and assisted guests to make the evening a success.
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Nov
30
On September 10 and 11, Zare Zapadu No. 44 held the 4th Annual Czech Fest for the community near Hayward, MN.
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Nov
23
Members of Cesti Vlastenci No. 153, Jennings, KS, were able to take advantage of the Highway 36 Garage Sale, Members in Action for building preservation.
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Nov
16
On September 17, 2016 the community gathered at the Moravan Lodge Hall for a polka dance with music from the J.D. Parr Czechland Polka Band organized by members of Moravan No. 128 (Rossville, KS).
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Nov
09
Dorothy Bonczynski, of Farwell, NE, is the winner of the 2016 Fraternalist of the Year.
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Nov
02
The Czech heritage of vizovické pečivo, or dough ornaments, with instructions of how to make your own.
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Oct
28
Recently, I have been on a quest to find low calorie desserts that I really want to eat. No rice cakes with a sprinkle of sugar for me! I decided to try out a couple to see which would follow my only two guidelines: needs to have chocolate (hello chocoholics!) and needs to be under 150 calories per serving.
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Oct
19
More than 1,000 people gathered in Bannister, MI for the 40th Annual Harvest Festival. Every year, the members of Michigan No. 225 help make this festival a success and add to its Czech flair.
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Oct
12
Zare Svobody No. 38 (Austin MN) raised money for Organ Donation Awareness Month in April using Community Matching Funds.
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Oct
05
The Northeastern Wisconsin Czech and Kolache Festival is the largest festival of its kind in the area. The festival takes place every year on the first full weekend of August at Heritage Agricultural Farm and Pavilion, five miles South of Kewaunee.
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Oct
05
A benefit was held in memory of the late Robert (Bob) Connot of Winner No. 237 utilizing Community Matching Funds to help his family.
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Sep
30
Thank you all for taking our recent Reader Survey. As a result of your input, we were able to determine what you most value in future issues of the Fraternal Herald. This issue is an example of the direction we will be taking the magazine in January 2017.
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Sep
28
Western and its lodges provide scholarships to further education.
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Sep
21
Zare Svobody No. 38 members built and maintain little libraries in their communities of Grand Meadow and Wabasha, MN.
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Sep
14
Back to School supply drives were organized by Western Fraternal Life lodges to help students.
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Sep
07
The Dvoracek Memorial Library in Wilber and the Struckman-Baatz Library in Western, NE were abuzz with bright, young faces this summer, in part because of the efforts of Saline Center No. 389's YELL! group engaging and volunteering.
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Aug
31
The American Legion Building in Morse Bluff, NE was in need of mortar repair on its brick walls. Plzen No. 9 members decided to apply for the Community Matching Funds program with Western Fraternal Life to help them with a garage and bake sale that raised funds for the repair.
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Aug
26
The MN WFLA Scholarship program is proud to announce thirty-four years of scholarships to its student lodge members.
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Aug
24
Fallen servicemen were honored in a special program on Father's Day at the Masonic Hall in Jennings, KS. This was organized by Cesti Vlastenci No. 153 and the Jennings Historic Building Preservation Committee.
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Aug
19
Have you every wanted to do something different than donate money to help our troops? It may be fun or more personal to send a package to our military men and women. Do you know what to send, or who to send it to? There are plenty of websites out there that specialize in sending things to the troops. Here are a couple of suggestions:
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Aug
17
The Strathcona, MN community looks forward to the Memorial Day picnic held every year by members of Boleslav Jablonsky No. 219.
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Aug
10
The sights and sounds of nature were enjoyed by families of the Iowa City, IA area at Bur Oak Land Trust's Turkey Creek Nature Preserve.
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Aug
08
In an effort to make all visitors feel welcome and become further embedded in the community, the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library (NCSML) recently collaborated with young adults from Achieving Maximum Potential (AMP) to create a public art mural inside the museum’s parking garage. The project was generously sponsored by Western Fraternal Life.
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Aug
03
Samo No. 32 had rummage sale for old school building, used Members in Action.
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Aug
01
Ann Day Freeman, Senior Vice President and Chief Underwriter for Western Fraternal Life, has been named Director of Exams for the Academy of Life Underwriting.
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Jul
29
The September Fraternal Herald will again be a ‘Special Edition.’ This Special Edition will highlight changes that may be made to the Fraternal Herald based on reader feedback we receive from the Fraternal Herald Reader’s Survey. We need your input to make sure we are on the “right track” with the changes to the Herald. You can find the Fraternal Herald Reader’s Survey on the back cover of this Fraternal Herald.
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Jul
20
Five Iowa lodges coordinated their Join Hands Day efforts in the fight against hunger. On May 15, Cedar No. 7 (Cedar Rapids), Heritage No. 13 (Cedar Rapids), Four Hundred No. 400 (Swisher), Hawkeye No. 423 (Cedar Rapids), Oxford No. 427 (Oxford), and a church youth group gathered in the Western Fraternal Life Annex to package 4,000 meals for Kids Against Hunger.
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Jul
06
We are proud to say that Western Fraternal Life members participated in Join Hands Day in 2016 with several hundred youth throughout the country volunteering to help their communities. The following pages give a brief synopsis of activities and the groups members partnered with.
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Jun
29
Czech Republic Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka took on a week-long trip to the United States and made a stop in Minneapolis, MN on April 2. During his visit, he met with more than 200 people at the CSPS Sokol Hall in St. Paul.
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Jun
22
Western View No. 246, Alton, KS, celebrates its 100th year anniversary this year. Member Emery Poore submitted this history of the lodge to commemorate this milestone.
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Jun
17
Congratulations to our members who are graduating this year!
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Jun
15
On April 2, Lipany No. 56 of Lynch, NE, held a Spring Tea. For the last 17 years, they have held themed tea parties. This year's theme was school memories. Tables were decorated with school supplies, old books, and autograph books.
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Jun
08
Our deepest sympathy goes to the family of Bradner R. Gilson, who passed away on May 19, 2016 in Topeka, KS.
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Jun
01
Zare Zapadu No. 44, of Hayward, MN has used the program to assist its pancake breakfast and bake sale. Another Minnesota lodge, Ledec No. 192, of Alexandria, used the program to provide purses full of supplies for survivors of abuse.
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May
25
Relieving hunger took a creative twist in Hopkins, MN when the ICA Food Shelf and ResourceWest utilized the Empty Bowls Fundraiser to help keep its shelves full of provisions for the local community. A total of $74,627 was raised in 2016 through Empty Bowls.
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May
18
Lodges just want to have a little fun sometimes. Getting out of town and going to the casino is one thing that many people enjoy doing. Michigan No. 225 (Bannister, MI) and Lincoln No. 426 (Lincoln, NE) both hosted bus trips to the casinos in March.
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May
11
Many of the youth members of No. 34, Hutchinson, MN, are fishing fans. They were excited to do first aid kits and thought it would be a great idea for kids and adults in the community.
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May
06
Western Fraternal Life Association- that is what each of us are members of. Association is defined in the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws of Western Fraternal Life Association as the corporation formed, organized, and incorporated under the fraternal beneficiary association of laws of the State of Iowa, and carried on for the sole benefit of its members and their beneficiaries and not-for-profit and having a lodge system, with ritualistic form of work and representative from of government. Now, I do not know about the rest of you, but I like to think of Western Fraternal Life Association as a family. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines family as all the descendants of a common ancestor. Even though we may not come from a Czech or Slovak descent, Western Fraternal Life Association accepts us all and we are a family. I say that because I have attended meetings at my local Lodge No. 44, Záře Zapádu, District 4 Meetings, MN State Meetings, and last year my first Western Fraternal Life National Convention. Western reaches out to community by way of the Members In Action program. My lodge has been fortunate to use this program, and we not only use it to help our lodge family, but our extended community family too.
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May
04
The members of Kosobud No. 106, of Lankin, ND, decided to help their feathered friends and make it easier to watch them in their communities.
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Apr
29
How many of you are 50 years old?
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Apr
27
The spicy, meaty smell of Czech sausage, known as Jaternice, filled the air of Tulelake Home Ec. Building at the Tulelake-Butte Valley Fairgrounds for the 56th Annual Jaternice Dinner over President’s Day weekend.
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Apr
21
I welcome the opportunity to report another year of strong financial growth. A summary of our financial statements are listed to the right. Western Fraternal Life's assets continue to grow and now exceed $287 million. Our net gain from operations was positive once again. The surplus ratio, a measure of our ability to meet our insurance obligations, remains strong at 109%.
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Apr
20
The members of Jan Zizka No. 67 in Yukon, OK have carried on elements of this tradition for over ten years in their community with a dance.
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Apr
13
A good time for grandparents, parents, and children may seem like a hard event to plan, but the YELL! members of Saline Center No. 389, Western, NE handled the task with finesse as they came up with activities for the Family Fun Night and Recruitment Party held January 30.
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Apr
06
A new exhibition, entitled Bohemian Boudoir: Czech Vanity Glass, at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library will feature items donated by Western member Rosemary "Rosie" Bodien. Visitors will be able to see these items from April 23 to July 17 in the Smith Gallery at the museum. The collection is named for her parents and is called the Ladd and Lydia Straka Loss Memorial Collection.
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Mar
30
Dan Zeiger is an example of an agent who wholeheartedly believes in fraternalism,
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Mar
23
Football, music, food, and good company were the ingredients of a fun day in Lynch, NE. In October, members of Lipany No. 56 hosted their second annual Octoberfest event. They invited all District 5 members, friends, and family via mailed invitations and word-of-mouth. Approximately 30 people turned out for the occasion.
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Mar
16
"When you have a small lodge with members scattered across greater distances, you have to become creative," Ellie Haeska commented. She and her fellow Zare Svobody No. 38, Austin, MN members didn't shy from the challenge to raise money without a fundraiser event, and wrote a fundraising letter in the fall of 2015.
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Mar
09
Comfort and joy can be found in a warm and beautifully-made blanket. Several Western Fraternal Life lodges across the United States have been inspired to make blankets for others.
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Mar
01
Christmas is a magical time of year, and it's made even more magical in the small Village of Ashley, located near Bannister, MI.
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Feb
24
The veterans at Eastern Nebraska Veteran's Home (ENVH) in Bellevue, NE enjoyed a meal on December 19, 2015, made and served by members of Zest No. 296 from Omaha, NE. This lunch was a way to say thank you to the veterans for their service.
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Feb
19
Many of the Czech and Slovak traditions and customs originated in pagan times and later intertwined with Christian religious beliefs. Springtime pagan rituals usually involved some way of manipulating nature to make sure a bountiful harvest occurred. Of course, each region and sometimes villages or families customs, changed over the centuries but below are some of the common ones.
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Feb
17
Every harvest season, farmers wait in long lines for two to four hours in their trucks at their local co-op and grain elevators. Seeing this, the members of Loup Valley No. 437 in Ord, NE were inspired to make a difference and made plans for a project they call Feed the Farmer.
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Feb
17
For over 25 years, people in the community of Alexandria, MN, have gathered for a puzzle party held by Ledec No. 192 members. This year, the public event will take place on March 19 at 8 p.m. at the hall.
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Feb
10
In 2016, Western Fraternal Life is joining forces with the American Fraternal Alliance, our national trade association, and dozens of other fraternals to promote the ongoing contributions of fraternals to our current federal policymakers by asking them to co-sponsor a Congressional Resolution (formally known as H.Con. Res.19). I sincerely hope you will join me in this effort.
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Feb
03
Western Fraternal Life is pleased to recognize the following agents and managers for their accomplishments in the year 2015.
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Jan
13
I am both humbled and honored to be serving as your Director of District 7.
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Jan
06
On October 3, 2015, the 50th OK Czech Festival was held in Yukon, OK.
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Jan
06
2016 Message from the President of Western.
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Jan
01
One of my favorite things in celebrating Czech culture are the Kroje. Often seen at festivals or other events where Czech and Bohemian descendants are celebrating their heritage in the United States, these costumed dresses are both beautiful and a great deal of effort for the girls and women wearing them. I learned many interesting things about the Kroj that make it more than just a pretty dress. First, it is a specialty of the Czech Republic and the colors and materials on various dresses vary from region to region, but not every region has its own colors. If you were to try and patch together your own Kroj, you may have a difficult time because many people familiar with the colors and textures would know that they did not go together properly. A ladies’ Kroj consists of skirt, blouse, vest, collar, apron, hat or hair adornment, and shoes. Here are some interesting facts about the pieces of the ladies’ Kroj:
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Dec
24
Many members of Western have a strong Czech and/or Slovak background, and celebrate their heritage in a variety of ways today. In this blog, I discuss the origins of Czech-Slovak Christmas traditions.
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Dec
16
No. 44, Hayward, MN hosted their annual Czech Fest on September 12 at our Brick Hall.
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Dec
02
Because of the Members in Action grant, two students with a passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) helped form a new group in our community for youth who love STEM as well. It is called the New Prague Newtonian Science Club, and it will be led by Anna and Brian Prchal, with guidance from their mom Jodi Prchal (a teacher in the district).
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Nov
20
One of the beautiful aspects of being involved with Western Fraternal Life is knowing that your history, often generations of family history, is being preserved. Through the Fraternal Herald, minutes, and lodge histories, we have been able to encapsulate over a century’s worth of memories. Now, it’s time to pass the story collecting on to another generation.
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Nov
18
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Nov
11
The following are recipients of the Family Benefit for 2015:
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Nov
06
With Veteran’s Day just around the corner, it is the right time to start thinking about the best way to care for our nation’s bravest heroes. There are several ways to take care of our vets, both overseas and at home. Many well-meaning folks send things to veterans overseas, and while it is always appreciated, some things are more needed than others. I asked my veteran husband, and some of his friends, to come up with a list of things they would like most in care packages.
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Nov
04
Western No. 84 and School District #32 hosted a Box Lunch Social on Labor Day at the Rock School House site South of Table Rock.
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Oct
30
On Tuesday, October 29, Western Fraternal Life lodges in Cedar Rapids hosted the fourth annual Trunk-or-Treat event for the community.
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Oct
16
Meet Jack Minder. He's been with Western for close to 35 years. We sat him down to discuss his time at here.
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Sep
18
Ann Freeman, Senior Vice President and Chief Underwriter, writes about what it means for Western to win this award.
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Sep
04
The results are in for the 2015 Golf Outing, a benefit for the Western Fraternal Life Education and Charitable Foundation.
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Sep
01
Peter Janowski named Western Fraternal Life Fraternalist of the Year No. 391 Luxemburg, WI.
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Aug
14
The final piece about the Convention is all about the first Fraternal Service Project with Kids Against Hunger.
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Aug
07
Read about the Youth Conference at the National Convention
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Jul
31
The National Convention on July 23rd and July 24th.
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Jul
09
One of our scholarship winners, Rachel, discusses her time during her study abroad trip.
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Jul
01
Western Fraternal Life is sponsoring the Year of Beer, including the “Beer, Please” exhibit at the Museum. Western supports our Czech and Slovak heritage by sponsoring interesting and education events like this as we have for over 115 years.
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Jul
01
Western Fraternal Life partnered with the charity Kids Against Hunger for a service project at the conclusion of Western’s National Convention on Friday, July 24 at the Marriott in Cedar Rapids.
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Jun
26
Western was proud to sponsor a free kids movie at Collins Road Theatre again this summer. Read all about it on this weeks blog!
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Jun
11
Have you ever wondered how flag day got started? Read the history of Flag Day here.
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Jun
05
Check out the second of two blog about this years scholarship winners.
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May
28
Check out the first of two blogs about our scholarship winners this week. Learn a little about our winners and their future aspirations.
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May
01
Our blog contributor, Maggie, explains the differences between traveling in America and the Czech Republic.
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Apr
24
Let us help you de-clutter your home with some help from our de-cluttering expert, Krysti Jasper.
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Apr
20
With the National Convention only 3 months away, read about a historic Convention that took place in 1937.
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Mar
23
Are you thinking of planting a vegetable garden, but have no clue where to start? Check out this blog for helpful hints on creating a great starter-garden.
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Mar
16
Do you know Darcy? You might talk to her about your lodge articles, scholarships, or questions about your member status, but she does so much more as editor and publication coordinator in the Fraternal Department!
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Feb
20
Another in a series by a former ex-pat, Maggie Slepickova Grove who recounts her experiences in the differences between socializing in the Czech Republic versus America.
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Jan
30
What's better than saving money and being crafty? This blog shows you how to make a couple everyday items that help you save some dough!
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Jan
23
Western's New Business Supervisor, Melissa Clapp, has been a seamstress for over 25 years. We asked Melissa for her thoughts on this topic and this time of year she always gets the same type of question...
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Jan
19
Despite Martin Luther King Jr. enormous influence and accomplishments, creating a holiday in his name wasn't an easy task. Read all about it in this blog!
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Jan
02
Let's kick off this new year right with tips from our wellness committee member, Chris Cole.
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Dec
11
This time of year can be stressful, but here's some tips to put your mind more at ease.
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Dec
04
December 7 marks the 73rd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Read about Western's response in this historical archive blog!
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Nov
20
Want a unique table setting this Thanksgiving? Check out Thanksgiving's day craft!
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Oct
31
Learn all about our very deserving Fraternalist of the year, JoAnn Parks!
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Oct
20
Big changes have been happening at Western, read about it all here!
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Oct
03
Want to know how to keep those carved pumpkins lasting all month? Check out this blog!
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Sep
26
Everything you need to know about the National Convention in 2015.
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Sep
19
Learn more about our youngest employee, Chris Cole.
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Aug
01
For the second year, Western sponsored the movie at the Collins Road Theatre in Cedar Rapids.
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Jul
11
This blog starts a series of posts from Maggie Slepickova Grove. Maggie has spent years in the Czech Republic and will be recounting her experiences in this blog!
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Jun
20
Check out the results of the seventh annual golf outing.
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Jun
13
Read about the recent changes Western has been making in this week's blog.
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Jun
06
lemonade pops, cucumber salad and more makes for a great start to summer.
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May
16
Read about this Czech inspired Cedar Rapids tradition in this weeks blog!
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Apr
18
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Apr
04
Western's rich cultural history in the arts is explored in this historical blog.
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Mar
07
Eating well while saving money can be difficult but i can be done! Follow these tips for eating well on a budget.
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Feb
28
How did we become "Western Fraternal Life"? Find out here!
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Feb
14
Learn more about our New Business Supervisor, Joan!
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Feb
07
Have some fun sharing valentines day gifts with classmates, co-workers, or your little ones. Learn how to make some great Valentine's Day crafts on this week's blog.
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