With the approval of the resolution to consolidate with National Mutual Benefit, the delegates must now vote on four of the seven elected directors to be on the Board of Directors of the Consolidated Society.
According to Section 2.03 of the approved Merger Agreement, the four Western Fraternal Directors shall be elected by vote of the Western Fraternal supreme governing body prior to the effective time of the merger. Elected directors will hold office for a four year term, beginning at the effective time of the merger, until their successors are duly elected and qualified pursuant to the Bylaws of the Consolidated Society.
Ballots will be mailed to the qualified delegates July 13, 2020 and voting will start on July 15, 2020. Ballots must be received by 11:59 CDT on August 14, 2020. Any ballots received after this time will not be counted.
In order for your vote to count, you must vote for four candidates. If the ballot is returned with less than or more than the required four candidates, the ballot will not be counted.
The ballots must be returned to the accounting firm of Strohm Ballweg in the enclosed postage paid envelope. The results will be released during the week of August 17, 2020.
Mike Hosek, District 1
I am currently Director for District 1 (Nebraska). Although I have been a Director a short time, I feel my qualifications would make me a valuable board member of the new organization. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Accounting and Business Administration from Doane University in Crete, NE. From there, I worked in the banking/finance industry, for over 15 years. While in the finance industry I obtained my Life and Annuities license and also my Accident and Health license in order to sell insurance products. With this I was able to learn about the insurance industry as well. Currently, I am employed at Americom Communications, where I have been for the last eight years as their Operations Manager in charge of Accounting, Human Resources, Billing, and Inventory.
I have been a member of Lincoln Lodge 426 since I was a child and have been a very active member. I have been the Lodge Treasurer for the last five years and volunteer in several activities with our lodge, such as Join Hands Day, Kids Against Hunger, singing at nursing homes, ringing bells for Salvation Army, and placing flags at Veterans graves at the cemetery. I also am our Lodge’s Yell group leader and helped our Yell group with parade floats for the local Czech festivals and food stands helping sell Czech desserts. As a college student I played in a Czech band with past director Larry Vilda.
As you can see, I am very passionate about giving back through volunteering and creating a sense of community. I have been on the Pius X School Board for the last four years, I am on the Northeast High School Athletic Hall of Fame Committee. I am also involved in many activities at my church such as the Finance Committee, Knights of Columbus and was recently the Chairman of the Building Committee to construct our new church, which was just completed a few years ago.
Because this society is in a heavily regulated industry, we as a Board must be qualified to carry out our fiduciary responsibilities for our members. Currently I am on the Audit and Investment committees, which with my Accounting background gives me the qualifications to be an effective member of the Board.
I am very committed to keeping our Czech heritage, support for our lodges, and emphasizing Fraternalism in our new organization. I would appreciate your vote.
Brenda Vrieze, District 2
I have been honored in serving as a Board of Director for Western Fraternal Life since 2011. An effective director makes it a point to diligently listen to the members and to reflect the members' voice within the decision-making process in the organization. A director needs to be qualified and experienced, but it is also important to have passion, heart, and drive in ensuring the organization will continue to be sustainable in the future. It would be an honor to continue as your director as I will continue my focus and passion to protect our members, their families, and in keeping fraternalism alive. I would be proud on continuing with my efforts and my past family generation's efforts of maintaining a strong focus on the Czech and Slovak heritages now and in the future. I would be grateful to receive your vote for director on the new board.
Supervisor of Deposit Operations team in credit union industry
Manage operational functions and audits for adherence to corporate and regulatory compliance
Provide leadership and coaching of sales operations teams and financial industry operations team
Experience in accounting, finance, sales, legal, compliance, marketing, regulatory governance, process improvement initiatives, coaching, and leadership.
Experience in coordinating community and volunteer events
Served as District 2 Director since 2011
Member of audit, investment, fraternal, and governance committees
Passion for fraternalism and preserving the Czech-Slovak heritage
Lodge president, secretary, and correspondent
Participation in Junior Achievement program
Volunteered in United Way activities
Volunteered in Habitat for Humanity activities
Veteran's War Memorial
Member of Difference Makers team for community outreach programs
Pursuing Bachelor of Science - Communication, Purdue University
Donald Krall, District 3
I am currently WFL director from District 3 and am seeking election to the newly formed WFL/NMB consolidated Fraternal Insurance Company.
I graduated from Iowa State University in 1976 with a BS in Economics and Business. I, along with my wife and son, own and operate Krall Plumbing in the Cedar Rapids metro area. I am, and have been, involved with many fraternal, civic, church, and social organizations and activities.
For WFL, I am active in my own lodge and attend many fraternal, community, and civic events in our area and Statewide. I serve on the Colonades Board at ISU and also am a Director and Officer with the Iowa Fraternal Alliance.
I would like to be involved in forming the foundation and guidelines of the new Consolidated Company as your newly elected Director. I would like to insure to all our members that our Czech heritage and culture would be preserved and promoted so as to last another lifetime.
Duane Jirik, District 4
I am asking for your vote to be elected to the Board of Directors of the newly formed society created from the consolidation of Western Fraternal Life and National Mutual Benefit. This consolidation is a proactive and historical milestone for our Association, and with your help, will provide new growth opportunities for the next century. In discussions with members, a common aspect and concern was of the fraternal side of this society; the continuation, commemoration, and celebration of our Czech and Slovak heritage. From the very beginning of merger negotiations, our Czech and Slovak heritage has always been at the top of the list for me, as well. I know firsthand, that members work hard promoting our heritage within the communities in which they live and work. It shows! I promise you that this will continue!
So why am I asking for your vote? Now more than ever, our industry has become increasingly regulated. As a long time board member, I uphold my fiduciary responsibility to each and every member, and that responsibility has required me to gain the knowledge needed in my role as a member of the Board. The transition of the two societies will be a lengthy process, and I want to be an intrical part of that to carry out and implement the promises that we made to you.
To give you a little background of myself and my family, I share that I have been a member of Western Fraternal for 54 ½ years. I am 55 years old having lived in New Prague, MN all of my life. I have an Associate of Arts degree in Law Enforcement and a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, having graduated magna cum laude. I was first elected to the Board of Directors in 1997 and have been the Chairman of this Board since 2008. I am currently employed by the Scott County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy sheriff. I have been married to my wife, Amy, for 25 years, and we have two sons; Izak who is currently deployed to the Middle East in the Minnesota National Guard, and Josef who is 12 and is an active “going into 7th grade boy.” He likes volunteering and flying.
Personally, I have always held Western Fraternal close to my heart! It has been an important part of my life from the beginning: from lodge Christmas parties to lodge projects to eventually serving on the Board of Directors. This organization has definitely been a way of life for me and my family. I have taught my children the same strong values I have, of being ethical, honest, and hard working. So, I ask that when you receive the ballot in the mail, please vote for me!
Mary Bradley, District 5
It has been an honor to serve as a board member for the past nine years and it would be an honor and privilege to continue as a board member for the consolidated organization. As part of a founding lodge family, that includes seven generations of members, I take the responsibility of a board member seriously and know that we are at a pinnacle moment to ensure that this organization is on the course to flourish for future generations. This merger brings new opportunities that we must strategically use to benefit each member and the organization as a whole. My passion for fraternalism and the Czech and Slovak heritage, matched with my professional experience and education, makes me a valuable member for the new board.
Chief Operating Officer for a national education non-profit
Lead and oversee organizational strategy and alignment
Work with complex financial structures and organizations
Provides support and training for executive leaders and governing boards
Collaborates with communities
Former education executive in Chicago and Michigan, and former special education teacher
Has served as District 5 Director since 2011, served as member of Investment (chair), Audit and Governance committees.
Volunteer at Bannister Czechoslovakian Harvest Festival and regular lodge activities
Bannister Yell group
Ashley Country Christmas
Coordinate and support activities for individuals with disabilities
Guide for blind and visually impaired skiers
Kaboom! Playground build
Youth sports coach
Bannister Czechoslovakian Folk dancers
B.S. Education, Central Michigan University
MBA Business, Central Michigan University
Juris Doctorate Law, Western Michigan University,Thomas M. Cooley Law School
Ed.D. Educational Leadership (ABD), Central Michigan University
Karen Ryba, District 6
I am excited about the merger between two healthy organizations and the endless possibilities being provided to Western Fraternal members. This is one of the reasons why I would like to represent you on the new board of directors.
Over the past 28 years, I have served on many profit and non-profit boards of various types and held several officer positions. I have also been an active committee member in areas such as strategic planning, marketing and public relations, fundraising, personnel/executive and fraternal collaborations. I believe in the mission of WFL and am dedicated to its sustainability and continued growth and prosperity in the new organization. I want to combine my past board experiences with my commitment to the success of the merger and serve you on the new board of directors.
In particular, my past experience with personnel and fraternal collaborations make me an ideal candidate for a board position. I am able to collaborate with a group of people who share similar goals, yet possess endless ideas of how to attain those goals. I know when to listen, and I know when to be heard. I am an honest and ethical candidate who holds fellow board members to the same level of integrity. And, as your board member, I will stand unified by its decisions and will act accordingly for the success of the organization. With this in mind, I will focus efforts on behalf of our beloved members to keep them, our Czech culture, and purpose of community in the forefront of our new board.
Ross Sestak, District 7
Ross Sestak is a 4th generation member of the Sestak family to reside in the Prague Oklahoma area. He is a 50-year member of Oklahoma Lodge No. 46. His family still owns and operates portions of land settled by his great grand fathers. He is owner and operator of their Lincoln and Pottawatomie county farming operation, along with his mother and children, where they raise wheat, soybeans, and cattle. He is the proud father to three children, one daughter-in-law and expecting their first grandson in mid-September. Ross Sestak possesses a vast resource pool of experiences that aid and contribute to his serving as a Board Member for Western Fraternal Life. Educationally, he holds a Bachelor’s and Masters of Science Degree in Agricultural Economics from Oklahoma State University. These degrees prepared him for financial and business responsibilities in the career world. Ross is an Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development/Ag with the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. He has 27 years of service with OCES. He served as an Insurance Agent for Western Fraternal Life for 14 years, until accepting a Board of Directors position at the 2015 WFL Convention where he is now in his second term. In the 19-year combination of service, he has given back to the grass roots organization that richly blessed generations of his family. Working with families to provide financial security in the event of tragedy and loss has given Ross a great deal of confidence in fraternal responsibilities. As President for WFLA Lodge No. 46, Ross is obsessive about his Czech heritage and works to preserve that heritage through his children and community.
As Director, Ross knows there is an earnest need to change with the times, yet not leave behind the direction, fortitude, and God given right on which our forefathers developed Fraternal organizations. Our motto and aim is Truth, Love, and Loyalty. We were founded on the truth of our Czech heritage, holding consistent the values and beliefs of our ancestors before us. The love we possess for our families, our brothers and sisters, and our fellow neighbors makes us a more cohesive unit and better citizens of the communities we call home. Ross knows we must remain loyal to the principles our organization was founded on. Based on his background, education and values, Ross Sestak is an excellent candidate for the Board of Directors for the company. He will uphold the financial, fraternal and family responsibilities to protect the interest of all members. Make him your choice for Director.
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Call 877-935-2467 to speak with a Western Fraternal Life Representative.