|Four generations of the Krikava family gather to celebrate Czech culture in Minnesota.|
Alton Krikava takes questions from Czech Republic television reporters.
|Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, (c), met with Duane Jirik, (l), and New Prague City Council member Amy Jirik, (r). Photo courtesy of Patrick Fisher/The New Prague Times.|
|Information about Western was submitted by Pamela Kotval for a commemorative book.|
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.
Sobotka stated that he hoped to use the visit to strengthen the bonds between the Czech Republic and the United States, and had a desire to meet with Minnesotans with Czech ancestry. "There are 85,000 people (in MN) who trace their orgin to the Czech lands," Sobotka commented. "The American Sokol plays a very important role in preserving the Czech identity and our cultural heritage."
Czech culture was celebrated during the reception for Sobotka. Members of the Domaci Czech Folk Dancers and the Czech Heritage Jr. Royalty danced for him. Zare Zapadu No. 44 members Juna and Leo Krikava danced as part of the Young Children's Sokol Dance Group in this presentation. (They are the children included in the above photos.)
"The children performed very well. They were happy and excited to be there," Marie Krikava remarked.
Later, Alton and Marie Krikava, along with their family, were interviewed by Czech TV reporters.
|Joan Sedlacek put together a display.|
"The reporters interviewed Alton in Czech. They talked to him about the family coming to America, and how our daughters are fifth generation," Marie Krikava explained.
"We are very happy that the Prime Minister visited. We have a son that currently lives in the Czech Republic as a Lutheran missionary, and other friends and family there as well. They were excited to see us on the news.
Czech culture is alive and well in Minnesota. Everyone is very proud of it," Marie Krikava commented.
The Prime Minister met with Governor Mark Dayton, business leaders, and officials from area communities. District 4 Director Duane Jirik was invited as a representative of Western Fraternal Life.
Jirik commented, "I feel honored that he chose to visit Minnesota. There was a very good representation of Western members present."
Jirik also thanked Pamela Kotval and Joan Sedlacek, both of Hopkins No. 11, Hopkins, MN, for their efforts in putting together information about Western Fraternal Life for Sobotka’s visit. Kotval submitted pictures and a summary about Western to be included in a commemorative book given to the Prime Minister about the many Czech-related organizations in Minnesota. Sedlacek put together a table-top display about the Minnesota lodges as well.
Call 877-935-2467 to speak with a Western Fraternal Life Representative.