Family Benefit Recipients

Family Benefit Recipients

Dec 14, 2016

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.

Eleanor Bowles, No. 225, Bannister, MI received a $1,000 grant to aid in the care of her husband, Carl, who is in a nursing home and has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Carl takes 15 pills a day and the money will help in paying for his medication.

Brenda Fromm accepts the Family Benefit check from Director Duane Jirik.

Brenda Fromm, No. 2, New Prague, MN requested funds from the Family Benefit program to benefit their two boys who are significantly behind in grade-level reading. The Fromm’s will use the money to secure one-on-one tutoring and enroll the boys in supplemental reading programs. Brenda wrote, “Access to these programs would have a tremendous life-long impact on our children.” They will participate in a five-week program and 45 hours of tutoring to help them catch up and put them on the path to success.

The Family Benefit will aid Sandra Herrmann, No. 332, Weyerhaeuser, WI with medical expenses accrued over the last two years. From January until April of 2014, husband Gary was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer. He underwent surgery, 38 bouts of radiation, and was put on hormone therapy. Between May and December of 2014, Sandra was diagnosed with inoperable lymphoma of the abdominal area. She went through six months of chemo and 20 radiation treatments. May through December of 2015, Sandra suffered a fractured vertebrae causing debilitating pain and leg spasms. Six months of physical therapy, an expensive bone growth drug, and daily injections for the next two years added up. October brought an emergency appendectomy surgery for Sandra and bladder cancer surgery for Gary. In February of this year, Sandra had emergency bowel obstruction-resection surgery brought on by the chemo and radiation. The emotional and financial expenses are astronomical after two years of health issues and the money will help alleviate some of the financial burden.

Joan Kotas presented Marvin Kohout with a $1,000 check from the Family Benefit Program.

Marvin Kohout of No. 389, Western, NE was severely injured in January of 2016 while working on his farm. Marvin injured his right hand when grain shifted causing a truck to roll forward and pin him against a shed. He spent five days in the hospital and underwent two surgeries to repair multiple broken bones in his wrist, both bones in his arm, and a shattered elbow. Marvin is scheduled for another surgery in the future. He had to do physical therapy three times a week for a while and is down to once a week. Though his progress is slow, he is starting to get some feeling back in his fingers. The benefit money will help cover the cost of traveling to therapy appointments and hire help needed on the farm. 


Sandra Herrmann and Daniel Novak both received the Family Benefit.

Daniel Novak, No. 332, Weyerhaeuser, WI is a disabled Army vet and has suffered with Type 1 Diabetes for 48 years. His doctors put him on a strict diet and insulin injections. Complications have caused neuropathy and vascular issues in his legs. Daniel was referred to Vitreo Retinal Care for laser treatment, Vitreo Retinal surgery, and cataract surgery. To gain better control, he was put on a portable insulin pump. Last fall, he spent over three months in the hospital after his big toe and part of his foot were amputated. The Family Benefit will go towards the cost of travel to medical appointments and bills accumulated over time.

You can apply for the Family Benefit between May 1 and July 1 of 2017. Each member is asked to write 150 words or less on how this benefit will help his or her family. An independent third party selects the winners. Members may apply for this benefit each year.

Category: Member Benefits

Darcy Hilton

Member Programs Coordinator

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Call 877-935-2467 to speak with a Western Fraternal Life Representative.