On Wednesday, July 23rd, registration began for the 28th National Convention of Western Fraternal Life Association. Members representing 73 lodges traveled to Cedar Rapids Iowa to take part in this historic event. Among the several new activities were a Youth Conference as well as a Fraternal Service Project. Within those 73 lodges, 241 delegates came to share their voice during the proceedings.
Wednesday night at the get acquainted party, members and guests were treated to a local magician named Tim Stolba. Tim, also a Western member, first came around and greeted the members by preforming magic tricks table-side. He then thrilled the audience with a full show that was really impressive and fun for young and old alike.
The Convention officially began on Thursday morning with the presentation of the colors. The United States flag was presented first by local color guard, then the pledge of allegiance and the United States national anthem was sang by Celia Kolarik. After the color guard had stepped (according to ritual) the flags for the Czech Republic as well as Slovakia were presented. The flags were carried by Izak Jirik and Sidney Trousil from the Youth Conference. After those flags were presented, Izak Jirik and Bob Ladiski sang the Czech and Slovak national anthems.
A memorial was said for deceased members. Candles were lit by the Board of Directors representing their districts. After the memorial, the state flags from each state Western has lodges in were presented by the Youth Conference attendees. Roll call was done and the election of the president and vice presidents of the convention was held. The president was Doug Ryant and the vice presidents were Larry Luther, Pamela Kotval, Alois Ruman, and Edward J. Fornusek.
President Van Dyke, along with Chairman of the board Duane Jirik and members of the management team gave speeches to start the convention. The speeches were on topics such as the financial stability of the organization, remembering our "why" of Western, and giving updates on Home Office programs. Past president Jim Wolfe was spoke briefly mentioning that his retirement was going well, "every day is Saturday and every night is Friday night!"
There was discussion of several bylaws. Several passed with little or no discussion while others had passionate remarks from members. The specific bylaws that were passed will be discussed in the upcoming Fraternal Herald.
Come back next week for more information about the Youth Conference, Fraternal Service Project, and the banquet!
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Call 877-935-2467 to speak with a Western Fraternal Life Representative.