|District 4 Director Duane Jirik (l) and Vice President and Treasurer Jack Minder (r) present the Fraternalist of the Year clock to Mary Haggerty.|
Every year, Western Fraternal Life has the privilege of selecting a Fraternalist of the Year. This is someone who has exhibited leadership within the society, has served others, and been innovative. This year, there were many entries to select from. From those entries, Western is proud to announce that Mary Haggerty has been chosen as the 2018 Fraternalist of the Year.
Mary Haggerty has been a life-long member of Zare Svobody No. 38, Austin, MN. She became actively involved ten years ago at a low point for the lodge when membership engagement and funds had declined. Haggerty, the granddaughter of a founding lodge member, really wanted to see the lodge come back from decline. She joined with a handful of members, friends, and family to reinvigorate the lodge. In service to the lodge, she has taken on the role of lodge secretary for the past eight years and challenged members to consider how to expand their service and impact for others. She regularly attends State, District 4, and National Meetings for Western.
No. 38 Vice President Bonnie Sawyer summarized, “Although her demeanor is quiet and understated, don't let her fool you. Mary Haggerty truly personifies leadership and evangelization for Western Fraternal Life.” As an example from this year, Haggerty organized a group of members to help another member with yard work because of health reasons. She often sends cards for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, memorial, and notes of encouragement.
Years ago, Mary and her husband Ken Haggerty began the lodge's annual fundraising event, the garage sale. In 2017, they organized and managed the event by collecting sale items at their home, transported items for those who could not deliver, marked everything, and staffed the sale over three days.
Haggerty has also actively recruited youth members to the lodge. She is a retired teacher and plays an advisory role with the YELL! group for the lodge. She was the one to invite Ellie Haeska to come to a meeting, which led to deeper involvement with YELL!. She also helped identify and engage with youth groups like 4-H, Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts for Join Hands Day activities. Sawyer stated, “Through Mary's leadership, we have expanded the number of youth members who are connected and involved with Western.”
"Although her demeanor is quiet and understated, don't let her fool you. Mary Haggerty truly personifies leadership and evangelization for Western Fraternal Life."
She is an advocate for education. Beyond youth engagement, she had conversations about supporting youth and it led to the lodge scholarship program. In 2017, the lodge was able to provide four scholarships to support education for lodge youth.
In addition to her volunteer work for the lodge, Mary is an active member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Goodhue, MN. She serves as church trustee where she is responsible for church guidance and decision-making with the parish priests. She is also active in lay ministry, serving as lector, money counter, and member of the Counsel of Catholic Women (CCW). As a church ambassador, Haggerty welcomes missionaries into her home for a meal, and volunteers wherever needed. She also served for many years as a Council Representative, playing an active role in planning and leadership.
Mary Haggerty was presented with an engraved clock (shown on the front cover) for being this year's Fraternalist of the Year. The clock was presented to her by Vice President and Treasurer Jack Minder and District 4 Director Duane Jirik on June 23 at the State Meeting. Western's Member Program Manager Kelsey Logan added, “Mary has been a pillar in her lodge for many years. She works very diligently to create exciting community projects and come up with projects that spread positivity in her community. Mary always has a smile on her face and we are very proud to have her represent Western as the 2018 Fraternalist of the Year. Congratulations, Mary!”
Members of Western are welcome to nominate a Fraternalist of the Year each year, with nominations due May 1. For complete details and nomination form, please visit this page.
Western Fraternal Life thanks and credits No. 38 Vice President Bonnie Sawyer for nominating Mary Haggerty and providing this and much more information with her nomination.
Call 877-935-2467 to speak with a Western Fraternal Life Representative.