Western Fraternal Life :: Michigan No. 225

Michigan No. 225

Bannister, MI

November 2018

Members met at the Bannister Veteran’s Monument for a service honoring those who have served and to pray for the safety of all who are currently serving. A new wreath, made by Sally Stoll, was placed on the monument.

Members voted to participate in the Rock-the-Block project proposed by Habitat for Humanity. Volunteers will focus on doing yard work and home improvements for those needing assistance.

Members discussed the service project, transportation, and registration for the upcoming National Convention. Our YELL! members have also received correspondence about their participation at the Convention.

We were thanked for our help in making the annual Fall Dinner and Holiday Bazaar successful events again this year.

New flooring has been installed in the entrance, kitchen, and food service area.

Sally Stoll reported on the State Meeting held at Owosso lodge. We were pleased to have Western President Craig Van Dyke attend the meeting and appreciated the presentation by Craig and Director Mary Bradley. We thank the Owosso members for hosting the meeting and serving a delicious dinner. Officers elected for the 2019 State Meeting were President Sally Stoll, Vice President Ann Van Deusen, and Secretary Ed J. Fornusek.

Families from St. Cyril’s Catholic Church and the Bannister Methodist Church have been invited to our lodge Christmas dinner and program. Members will be sending Christmas cards to all members over the age of 70. We have been busy baking and preparing for the Village of Ashley Country Christmas. The village will be welcoming over 20,000 visitors over the five weekends before Christmas. Members will be providing Christmas baskets for four local senior households. Many thanks to Sally Stoll for coordinating this project.

All officers and committees remained the same during the annual election of officers. A slate of delegates and alternates for the Convention was proposed and will be ratified at the January meeting.

A bowling and pizza party will be held on December 26 at Redwing Lanes in St. Johns at 1 p.m. A Red Cross blood drive will be held at the hall on December 27 from noon until 5:45 p.m. The 2019 Calendar of Events was approved by the membership.

Members thanked Kevin Sopocy for donating a dozen serving pitchers to our kitchen. Happy birthday wishes were extended to Ruth Malek, Ann Van Deusen and Ed F. Fornusek. Cash door prizes were won by Tom Bradley, Martha Sutton, and Ed J. Fornusek.

A moment of silence was observed and the Lord’s Prayer recited in memory of Bernard Feltman, Jr. Members extend prayers and sympathy to his family and friends.

We donated money and two tables full of gifts to the Mid-Michigan Foster and Adoption Coalition.

October 2018

Eleven bags of trash were picked up during the final Adopt-A-Highway of the year by members Bob Ladiski, Joe and Ruth Malek, Tom Bradley, Robin Wooley, John Chvojka, Ed J., Ed F., and Joanne Fornusek.

Thirty-seven members/friends attended an appreciation brunch at the Golden Corral for all the community and lodge work they do.

Diane Bradley reported that 17 members and 36 non-members enjoyed a bus trip to Firekeepers Casino in September. The next trip has been scheduled for April 2019.

Thank-you cards were received from the United Way and Ashley teachers Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Yarch, and Mrs. Clark from the Media Center for our donations. The Stuff the Bus project was able to supply 490 elementary classrooms in Gratiot and Isabella counties with supplies and gift cards. A thank-you card signed by the members of the Alma High School National Honor Society was also received.

New flooring will be installed in the kitchen, entrance, and food serving area during the first week of November.
We will again participate in the Ashley Country Christmas every weekend from November 16 until December 16. We’ll sell baked goods, garnet jewelry, Czech culture items, lodge cookbooks, and history books.

Members were reminded that we will be electing delegates to the 2019 National Convention. The annual Christmas potluck/program will be held on December 2. Meeting will begin at 10:30, followed by dinner and program. There will be visits from Santa and Svate Mikulas. Members and guests are asked to bring non-perishable donations for the local food bank.

We congratulate Sienna Singo for winning an Honorable Mention in the Western Photo Contest.
Members welcomed transfer members Elaine Latarski and Audrey Robinson.

Birthday wishes were extended to Sally Stoll. Get-well cards were sent to several members. Cash door prize winners were Bert Wassa, Bob Ladiski, and Joe Malek.

A moment of silence was observed and the Lord’s Prayer recited in memory of Margo Jones. Members extend prayers and sympathy to her family and friends.

September 2018

The lodge sponsored two classrooms and individual members also donated needed supplies to the local school for Stuff the Bus.

Tom Bradley, Bob Ladiski, and Ed Fornusek present a certificate of Honorary Membership to former Chairman of the Board Edward Rozsypal.

The July Adopt-A-Highway was completed by Joe and Ruth Malek, Amy Fornusek, Ed J. Fornusek, Bob Ladiski, Tom Bradley, Ed and Joanne Fornusek, and YELL! members Rachel and Christa Fornusek. The final Adopt-A-Highway of the year was September 25 on US -127.

Sally Stoll reported that 26 people enjoyed a night at a Lugnuts baseball game and fireworks display. We participated in three area parades this summer, Ashley Trading Days, Elsie Dairy Festival, and Ovid Carriage Days. Tom Bradley gave a report on the harvest festival and thanked those who worked to make it a success. Sally Stoll thanked members/friends who worked in the kitchen, made food, and monetary donations.

We welcome new member Rae Canada and transfer member Amy Mitosinka. An appreciation dinner was held September 22 at the Golden Corral for members/friends. We thanked Brent Andrews for donating and helping install new support rods on the pavilion doors.

A moment of silence was held in memory of Michael Lamski and Patricia Oakes. We extend sympathy to their loved ones.

A monetary donation was made to the Alma High School Food Pantry. A thank-you note was received from Gratiot County Parks and Recreation for the donation to Reed Park. Ovid-Elsie High School offered two tickets to a football game in appreciation for our donation of a new band uniform for the OEHS Marching Band.

Tom Bradley reported that an audit has been completed and all books were found in order.

Members voted to purchase an AED unit to be available at the hall. Once purchased, training will take place on how to use this life-saving equipment.

Members were pleased with the power washing and new painting job on the outside of the hall. New flooring will be installed in our kitchen area and food service area.

The lodge will hold its annual Holiday Bazaar on October 27 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. We will be selling Czech bakery and yeast dumplings, 100 anniversary cookbooks, Czech garnet jewelry and cultural items, lodge history books, and baking sheets. Table renters will offer a wide variety of items including, woodworking, needlework, beauty products, baked goods, jams, jellies and syrups, holiday decorations, and much more. A luncheon of homemade soups, sloppy joes, sandwiches, and pies will be available. Advance orders for Czech yeast dumplings can be made at 989-862-5591.

August 2018

Nearly 1,000 people attended the 42nd annual Dozinky in Bannister on August 5. A traditional Czech dinner was served in the Bannister ZCBJ Hall. Following dinner, program Chairman Tom Bradley welcomed everyone. Participants dressed in colorful Czech, Slovak, and Moravian costumes carrying flags, banners, baskets of flowers, and decorated rakes, wreaths, and scythes. The Star Spangled Banner and the national anthems of the Czech Republic and Slovakia were led by lodge president Bob Ladiski. A prayer for a successful harvest was offered by Methodist minister, Zella Daniels. Some favorite songs were played by guest musicians Joe Oswalda, John Mitosinka, John Hucko, Millie Okopal, Tom Koman, Stan Saylor, and Alex Taphouse.

All 76 members of the Bannister ZCBJ Czechoslovakian Folk Dancers, age 2 years to senior citizen, performed traditional folk dances. David Martinka played the Slovak Wooden Courting Flute and donated profits from his CD’s to the charitable work of our lodge. Sisters Samantha and Allison Radman charmed the audience with their beautiful singing of songs in the Croatian language.

Director Mary Bradley presented a check to Kevin Somers from WOES Radio. This will support broadcasting of Czech and Slovak music on the high school station. We are grateful to Kevin for providing and working the sound system for the festival every year.

Dancers presented a gift to Diane Bradley in appreciation of her time and patience in teaching the group.
Drawings were held for free door prizes. Bikes were donated by Western’s Home Office and No. 225. Bike winners were Martin Schrauben, Vivian Grohol, Calvin Schrauben, Avery Dreffs, and Maverick Horak. Cash prizes, donated by No. 225, were won by teens and preteens: Brooke Faber, Jaxon Ladiski, Cooper Martin, Adysen Koenigsknecht, Mary Sopocy, and Johanna Grohol. Czech dolls made and donated by Margaret Horak were won by Marlena Klein and Vicki Horak. A Slovak doll donated by Stacy Radman was won by Margaret Horak.
Following the program, children played games run by the YELL! group and adults danced to the music of the Bill Nemanis Band. We thank the members and friends who donate so many hours to help make this day so successful.

July 2018

The annual picnic meeting was called to order at Gratiot County’s Reed Park on July 8. Following the meeting, members enjoyed a picnic lunch and an afternoon of visiting and games.

We participated in the Ashley Trading Days Festival. Diane and Jim Korienek drove their 1968 convertible in the parade with 2018 Mother of the Year, Elaine Zajdlik, as their passenger. Emma Fox and Heather Ward handed out Western Fraternal pencils. Members also sold bakery, cookie sheets, and cookbooks during the festivities.
David Martinka, who plays the Slovak Wooden Shepherd’s Flute, explained that he would like to donate profits from the sale of the CD’s to the charitable work of No. 225. We thank David for his generosity.

We welcomed new member Rasante Hobbs to our fraternal family. Members congratulated Nash Sosebee and Sienna Singo for being winners in the Youth Art Contest. Happy birthday wishes were extended to Martha Sutton, Christa Fornusek, Carol Smolka, Lisa Skaryd, and Tom Fox. Cash prize winners were Donni Fornusek, Joe Stasa, and Joanne Fornusek.

A moment of silence was observed and the Lord’s Prayer recited in memory of Leah Bill and Mildred Brain. We extend prayers and sympathy to their families and friends.

Eli Hall, from United Way of Gratiot and Isabella Counties, joined us to accept a donation of cash and classroom supplies for the annual “Stuff the Bus” Project. Each elementary classroom in the two counties will receive tissues, Lysol wipes, and a $50 gift card.

A thank-you note was received from the Ronald McDonald House for the pop tabs donated. They are able to pay 1/3 of their annual electric bill with the pop tabs that come in. Heart’s Content Adult Foster Care Home thanked us for the donation of clothing protectors/aprons for their residents. Member Vlasta Kopta, 101-years-old, is a resident at Heart’s Content and enjoys sharing these aprons with her housemates.

After a final count, 41 adults and 55 youth worked 497 hours to make 612 items for our Join Hands Day project for hospice patients. Diane Bradley thanked the MI Fraternal Alliance for a grant towards the expenses for this project. Diane and Tom delivered the pillow cases and blankets to the Foster Closet of Gratiot County. They were impressed by the program and suggested our YELL! group tour the facility.

Members donated money to Gratiot County Parks and Recreation in appreciation for the excellent facilities where we hold our annual picnic meeting.

A thank-you card was received from Elaine Zajdlik for honoring her as the 2018 Mother of the Year.

May 2018

Members met May 5 at the lodge hall. Tom Bradley thanked the lodge and St. Cyril’s Knights of Columbus for volunteering at the Red Cross blood drive co-sponsored by us. He also stated the first Adopt-A-Highway of the year was completed by Joe and Ruth Malek, Tom, Diane, and Isaac Bradley, Bob Ladiski, Ed J., Ed F., Joanne Fornusek, and YELL! members Mark Garrity, Gary Andrews, and Rachel and Christa Fornusek.

Fifty-eight members enjoyed dinner at the Golden Corral as a token of appreciation for all the volunteer work they donate to the lodge and community.

Members were reminded of Western’s Youth Art Contest, the Youth and Adult Photo Contest, and the annual golf outing.

We participated in parades for Ashley Trading Days on June 16 and Elsie Dairy Festival on July 14. Our Mother and Father of the Year rode in classic cars and the YELL! group handed out pencils along the parade route. We sold baked goods, cookbooks, and baking sheets in Ashley.

The lodge picnic will be held at Reed Park on July 8 with meeting at 10:30 a.m. and potluck at noon. Please bring school supplies for the “Stuff the Bus” project. Members and friends will be attending a Lugnuts baseball game and fireworks display on July 20. Contact Sally Stoll (989-847-2461) to make reservations before June 29. Dance practice for the Harvest Festival will begin on Monday June 18. Anyone interested in joining the ZCBJ Czechoslovakian Dance Group should contact Diane Bradley at 989-862-5378.

We extend congratulations to Sarah Sopocy for receiving a National Scholarship from Western Fraternal Life. Happy birthday wishes were extended to Diane Bradley and John Mitosinka.

A thank-you letter was received from the Saginaw Veterans Hospital. Thank-you cards were also read from the Ithaca Community Service Center and the Foster Closet of Clinton County. Members voted to donate to Ashley Trading Days.

A special dinner and program were held to honor Mother and Father of the Year. Teri Langstaff and Joe Smolka lit candles in memory of deceased mothers and fathers and in honor of our living mothers and fathers. The 2017 Mother and Father, Sally Stoll and Jim Korienek, were given gifts. Ann Vandeusen read poems about mothers and fathers and biographies introducing Elaine Zajdlik and Joe Ozwalda as 2018 Mother and Father of the Year. Elaine received her flowers and crown by her sons, David and Michael. Joe was escorted by his great-grandson Matthew and received a crown and a boutonniere. A hanging flower basket was won by John Mitosinka, and each mother/father received small summer plants.

April 2018

An Appreciation Dinner to thank members and friends for their dedication to the lodge /community was held on April 21 at the Golden Corral in Lansing.

Plans were discussed for Join Hands Day, which is scheduled for May 5. We will make items for hospice patients throughout Mid-Michigan.

Diane Bradley reported that 53 members and friends enjoyed the lodge sponsored bus trip to Firekeepers Casino. The next trip is scheduled for September 11. For information or to make a reservation, please contact Diane at 989-862-5378.

Our annual visit to a Lugnuts baseball game/fireworks display is scheduled for July 20. Please contact Sally Stoll (989-847-2461) to make reservations before June 29. Tickets will be $5.50 for members and $11 for non-members.

Dance practice starts June 18, contact Diane Bradley at 989-862-5378 for information. July 8 is the lodge picnic at Reed Park, North Star with meeting at 10:30 a.m. and potluck at noon. We will be doing the Stuff the Bus Project, so please bring classroom supplies. July 14 is the Elsie Dairy Festival. We will participate in the parade.
Members congratulate Frank Mikus on the endowment of his insurance policy. Director Mary Bradley presented us with the Points Award certificate and commended us on the activities we participated in and for having the highest number of points across the whole Association.

Following the meeting, a special dinner/program was held to initiate new members and honor 50 and 75-year members. Gary Andrews, Mark Garrity, Meggan Andrews, and Isaac Bradley presented the flags. President Ladiski led the singing of the national anthems of the United States, Czech Republic, and Slovakia. Members were instructed in the motto of the Association by Sarah Bradley (Truth/Pravda), Ellie Bowles (Love/Laska), and Anmarie Andrews (Loyalty/Vernost). Participating in the Rite of Initiation were Samantha and Allison Radman, Layne Studt, and Cathleen Miller-Ackels.

Then we honored those who have been members for 50 and 75-years. Honored guests were escorted to the front to receive their pin, lodge sash, flower, and the congratulations of the officers and District Director Mary Bradley. Accepting her 50-year pin was Janice Gulick. A very special 75-year member honored was Thomas Bradley Sr. We thank these members for their many years of membership and service to the lodge and community.

A moment of silence was observed in memory of Bessie Tihelka. We extend prayers and sympathy to her family and friends.

Members donated to the St. Cyril’s Knights of Columbus Golf Outing. A donation was made to purchase needed items for patients at the Saginaw Veterans Hospital in addition to supplies donated by members.

February - March 2018

One hundred members and friends enjoyed the 13th annual Mid-Winter Jamboree and potluck dinner. Fourteen musicians volunteered their time and talent to entertain with ethnic music.

Members voted to donate $100 to the YELL! lock-in expenses.

The officers and trustees conducted an end-of-year audit and found all financial records in order.

Adopt-A-Highway dates have been set for April 16, July 16, and September 24 at 6 p.m. An appreciation dinner has been scheduled at the Lansing Golden Corral for April 21 at 11 a.m. to thank all who volunteer for the lodge and community.

All members present for the meeting received a large candy bar, and cash prizes were won by Ed Fornusek, Joe Malek, and Joe Smolka.

A Red Cross blood drive, co-sponsored by us and St. Cyril’s Knights of Columbus, will be held at the hall on April 18 from noon until 6 p.m.

Join Hands Day will take place on May 5 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. We will be sewing items for Friends of Hospice. Even if you don’t sew, we need volunteers to iron and stuff neck and hand pillows. May 6 will be our annual Mother’s and Father’s Day celebration. Meeting will begin at 10:30 a.m. There will be a potluck at noon, followed by a program honoring mothers and fathers.

We welcome several new members: Betsy Sue Hull, Arleen Allen-Hunter, Darial Hunter Jr., Asia and Amyah Allen, Marek and Derek Lockhart, Eugene Stewart, and Evan Van Heukelom.

A letter was received from Youth for Christ thanking us for the donation. A card and generous donation were received from Jim Fabus and family thanking us for everything we do for the community. An Easter card, written in Slovak, was received from Katherine Hucko and family. Katherine also taught us about some of the Easter traditions in her country.

Celebrating March birthdays were Lorraine Fett, Joe Malek, and Joanne Fornusek.

A moment of silence was observed and the Lord’s Prayer recited in memory of Joan Mesaros and Donna Des Chenes. Members extend prayers and sympathy to their families and friends.

A collection of children’s clothes, shoes, slippers, and other supplies were donated to the Clinton County Foster Closet. We also added a monetary donation to help support children in the foster care system.

Members donated clothing and supplies for the Foster Closet.

The YELL! group held their 2nd annual lock-in at the hall on March 10 and 11. Ten YELL! members and three friends joined to make items for children in the Gratiot County Foster Care system. Children who are placed in foster care often have to leave their homes quickly and without any of their personal belongings. The YELL! members made 40 pillowcases and five fleece blankets, so these children can have something of their own wherever they go.

The Foster Care Closet, based in St. Louis, lets each child pick out their favorite pillowcase as a symbol of having a place to rest their head. YELL! members also included a Thinking-of-You card. 

During the lock-in, members also enjoyed making their own pizza and ice cream sundaes. They played games and participated in team building activities. In the morning, a pancake breakfast was prepared for the group. Overnight chaperones were Meggan Andrews, Donnielle Fornusek, and Sarah Bradley. Helping with sewing and preparing breakfast were Diane Bradley and Joanne Fornusek. Marilyn Sopocy also sewed some fleece hats, jackets, mittens, and small blankets to add to the donation.

February 2018

A $1,000 donation to the Elba Township Board was given for upgrades and maintenance related to the Ashley Country Christmas. We use the Township Hall for the Czech Bakery and Store during five weeks of the Christmas celebration.

January 2018

Sally Stoll received thanks from the senior citizens who received Christmas baskets, and were grateful for the visit and groceries provided. Our lodge and the Knights of Columbus of St. Cyril’s Church co-sponsored a Red Cross Blood Drive on December 26. Tom Bradley thanked volunteers. Our next drives are scheduled for April 18 and December 27.

Members and guests enjoyed the annual bowling party held on December 27. We pay for the bowling, shoe rental, pizza, and soft drinks. December 26 will be the bowling party for 2018.

Our participation in the Ashley Country Christmas was discussed. Joanne Fornusek thanked volunteers who helped with baking and working at the village over the five weeks. A total of 77 members and 9 friends donated their time and talents for another successful year. Members voted to donate $1,000 from the proceeds to Elba Township.

The Mid-Winter Jamboree is scheduled for February 25. There will be a potluck dinner at noon, followed by an afternoon of listening and dancing to Czech and Slovak music. A bus trip to Firekeeper’s Casino is scheduled for April 3. For information please contact Diane at 989-862-5378.

We welcome new members Emma Collins and Emmett Searles and transfer members Chase Roland and Susan New to our fraternal family.

Thank-you notes and holiday greetings were received from Wilma Stambersky, Ellie and Mike Bowles, Gladys Patrick, Jim and Diane Korienek, and the Red Cross Blood Drive coordinator. Christmas wishes and a donation were received from Mary Ellen Wingle.

Tom Bradley reported that we earned 333 points for our fraternal activities for 2017. He commended us for our outstanding commitment to serve the community and the lodge.

January birthdays were celebrated by Joe Smolka, Ed J. Fornusek, and Bob Ladiski. Everyone in attendance received a large Hershey bar.

A moment of silence was observed and the Lord’s Prayer recited in memory of John Bernath and Dorothy Kwiatkowski. Members extend prayers and sympathy to their families and friends.

Joe Smolka shared the goals of Central MI Youth for Christ, a program where students (grade 6-12) interact with positive role models to make good decisions and be positive leaders in their school. Members voted to make a monetary donation to the program.

The annual letter from President Craig Van Dyke was read, highlighting the 2017 accomplishments and detailing future goals, including the Convention and Youth Conference in July 2019.

December 2017

The December 3 meeting was called to order by President Bob Ladiski using a gavel presented to us by Flint No. 247. The gavel was hand carved from a tree on the lodge property. Bob welcomed Ed Rozsypal and Janice Schlytter, our newest members from Flint. All members were presented with a poinsettia plant from us.
We donated gifts to Gratiot County Foster Care services (gift cards and 50 fleece hats made by our YELL! group). Over 1,100 cans of food were collected for the food banks and for Christmas baskets. Members thanked Ed J. Fornusek, and fellow math teachers, Jamie Puffpaff and Kelly Emilie for having a food drive in their classrooms.

Two thank-you letters were received for the donation made to the high school food pantry which helps fight student hunger. A Christmas card, written in the Slovak language, was received from member Katherine Hucko.
Happy birthday wishes went out to Katherine Hucko and Tom Bradley. Special birthday wishes were sent out to Vlasta Kopta who will celebrate her 101st birthday on December 25.

Members and guests enjoyed dinner and a Christmas program. Families from St. Cyril’s Knights of Columbus and Religious Education program took part in our program this year. Young members and guests played Christmas carols on their rhythm band instruments. Russian singers from MI State University sang several songs in Czech, Slovak, German, and English. Svate Mikulas (Thomas Bradley) arrived to tell the story of Christmas, accompanied by an angel and a devil (Mary and Emily Sopocy). As the story was told, the older children gathered on stage in a nativity scene. Mary and Joseph were joined by angels, shepherds, and kings. Then Svate Mikulas and his helpers passed out apples to the good children and adults. The devil had some coal for those who hadn’t been so good. Jingling bells announced the arrival of Santa Claus (Roger Reha) who joined Svate in handing out gifts to the children.
Upcoming events include our meeting on February 11 at 1:30 pm. We will have a collection for Foster Closet of Clinton County. February 25 is our mid-winter jamboree with potluck at noon, followed by an afternoon of music and dance.

November 2017

Members met at the Bannister Veterans Monument on November 12 for a short service to honor those who have served in our country’s armed forces. A moment of silence was observed for those no longer with us and for the safety of all who are currently serving.

We will be donating to the Foster Closet of Michigan/Clinton County. They provide clothing, toys, shoes and baby equipment to children placed in foster care.

Sally Stoll reported on the annual Fall Dinner and Holiday Bazaar, she thanked all who helped make the events so successful.

A thank-you note was received from our YELL! group for the money donated to buy materials for their service project.

Members reported on the State Meeting held in Bannister on November 5. We were happy to welcome Vice President of IT and Secretary Don Nieland from the Home Office.

Plans for our participation in the Ashley Country Christmas were discussed.

Five large tables full of toys were donated to the foster care system of Gratiot County. Following the meeting, YELL! members made fleece hats for children in foster care.

We will be sending Christmas cards and lodge calendars to all members age 70 and above.

A moment of silence was observed in memory of Rod Aldrich and Sally Hnetynka. We extend our sympathy to their families and friends.

Annual elections were held with most officers and committees remaining the same. Teresa Ladiski and Ann Van Deusen will now chair the Mothers’ and Fathers’ Day program. Joanne Fornusek will be the correspondent.
December 26 is the Red Cross Blood Drive from noon to 6 p.m. at the lodge hall. December 27 is a family bowling party at Redwing Lanes in St. John’s from 1-3 p.m. Bowling, shoes, pizza, and soft drinks will be provided.

October 2017

Tom Bradley reported that we were involved in 41 projects serving the community and lodge this year. He commended us for our willingness to volunteer in service to others. Thirty-eight members/friends attended an appreciation dinner at the Old Country Buffet in recognition of their efforts.

The final Adopt-A-Highway was completed by Joe and Ruth Malek, Bob Ladiski, Tom Bradley, Ed and Joanne Fornusek, and YELL! members Gary Bradley and Rachel Fornusek.

Our Mother and Father of the Year (Sally Stoll and Jim Korienek) will ride in Jim’s car during the Ashley homecoming parade.

Members/friends filled a bus and enjoyed a day trip to Firekeeper’s Casino.

Sally Stoll and Bob Ladiski attended the MI Fraternal Alliance conference.

Plans were finalized for the fall dinner, Holiday Bazaar, and our participation in the Ashley Country Christmas.
Our next meeting and Christmas party is December 3 at 10:30 a.m. with potluck at noon, followed by a program. Please bring non-perishable food for the food drive.

On December 26, the blood drive is 12 to 6 p.m. The family bowling party is 1 to 3 p.m. on December 27.
Birthday wishes were extended to Sally Stoll.

A monetary donation was made to Alma High School Food Pantry.

August 2017

Members were very busy participating in community service projects and social events. Several members welcomed the bus delivering school supplies from the United Way “Stuff the Bus” campaign to Ashley Community Schools. Every elementary school in Gratiot and Isabella County received supplies from this collection. We received two thank-you notes from classrooms expressing their appreciation.

Tom Bradley and Sally Stoll gave a report on the successful Harvest Festival and thanked all who donated time to make this celebration possible.

The July Adopt-A-Highway pick up was completed by Joe and Ruth Malek, Ed J., Ed F., and Joanne Fornusek, and YELL! members Sarah, Christy, and Mary Sopocy, and Christa Fornusek.

Our Mother and Father of the Year, Sally Stoll and Jim Korienek, participated in their third parade during Ovid Carriage Days. Thanks to Jim for the use of his classic car and to his wife, Diane, for driving. Congratulations on winning a ribbon for Best Car in the parade.

Members/friends participated in the Gratiot County American Cancer Society Relay for Life. Our group walked for 82.75 miles during the 12 hour relay and raised about $1,200. We also enjoyed a baseball game and fireworks at Lansing Lugnut Stadium.

Members voted to purchase 2,000 Western pencils for giveaways in our Halloween bags, at Christmas, next year’s parades, Harvest Festival, and Stuff the Bus. We also renewed our membership in the Gratiot County Chamber of Congress.

The annual Holiday Bazaar will be on October 28 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. The lodge will be selling Czech bakery and yeast dumplings, 100th anniversary cookbooks, Czech garnet jewelry and cultural items, lodge history books, and baking sheets. Table renters will offer a wide variety of items, including woodworking, needlework, beauty products, baked goods, jams and jellies, holiday decorations, and much more.

Members will meet at the Bannister Veterans Memorial at 1 p.m. on November 12 for a short ceremony before our meeting. We will invite St. Cyril’s Knights of Columbus families to join us again for our Christmas dinner and program.

We welcome new members Rachel Ladiski, Abigail Thomas, May Vander Meer, Layne Studt, and Allison and Samantha Radman.

A moment of silence was observed and the Lord’s Prayer recited in memory of Ronald Houska, Henry Vander Meer, Joann Kusnier, Betty Denovich, and James Maddix. Members extend prayers and sympathy to their families and friends. Thank-you notes were received from the families of Daleta Pontack and Betty Denovich for kindness shown at the time of their loss.

July 2017

Members participated in Ashley Trading Days. Tom and Diane Bradley were honored as Grand Marshalls of the parade. Our Mother of the Year, Sally Stoll, rode in the parade with John Chvojka. YELL! members Brianna and Hannah Bush handed out Western pencils. We also sold Czech bakery, lodge cookbooks, and baking sheets.

Members sold Czech baked goods, lodge cookbooks, and cookie sheets.

Adopt-A-Highway was completed by Joe and Ruth Malek, Tom Bradley, Ed J., Ed F., and Joanne Fornusek, and YELL! members Sarah, Christy, and Mary Sopocy and Christa Fornusek.

We congratulate Cooper Dreffs for being a winner in the Western Art Contest and Sarah Sopocy who was awarded a scholarship from the MI Fraternal Alliance.

Members met on July 9. Happy birthday wishes were extended to Martha Sutton and Bert Wassa. A moment of silence was observed and the Lord’s Prayer recited in memory of Daleta Pontack and Fred Stehlik.

Eli Hall from United Way accepted our $500 donation (cash and classroom materials) for the “Stuff the Bus” project. Each elementary classroom in Gratiot and Isabella counties will receive $100 in classroom supplies.
Members donated $50 to the Gratiot County Parks and Recreation Commission. We also participated in the Gratiot County Relay for Life on August 12.

May 2017

The first Adopt-A-Highway of the year was completed by Ruth and Joe Malek, Dale and Dana Yelsik, Tom and Diane Bradley, Ed J. and Christa Fornusek, and Ed F. and Joanne Fornusek.

We sponsored a blood drive with the Knights of Columbus on April 19. We thank all who volunteered to help surpass the Red Cross goal.
Twenty-eight members and friends attended an appreciation dinner at the Old Country Buffet for all community and lodge work done.
Join us July 9 for a picnic/meeting at 10:30 a.m., potluck at noon, Reed Park, North Star. On July 14, we have the Lugnuts game and fireworks. Contact Sally Stoll at 989-847-2461. On July 10, Adopt-A-Highway at 9 a.m. on US 127. To volunteer call 989-862-5378 or 989-862-5591. On August 6, Czechoslovak Harvest Festival with dinner at 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under, and preschoolers are free. Program at 2:30 p.m., dance at 4 p.m. with Bill Nemanis. Free admission. August 12 is Relay for Life at Breckenridge High School. Contact Anmarie Andrews 989-862-4351 or Ed J. Fornusek 989-862-5290.
Ellie Hall, from United Way, spoke at our meeting about the “Stuff the Bus” project. She explained that 23% of students in Gratiot County live in poverty and cannot bring their own supplies to school. Teachers spend hundreds of their own money for their classrooms. The goal is to provide $100 of supplies for every elementary classroom in the county. Members will sponsor one classroom as a lodge and individuals will bring supplies to the picnic in July. Ellie also invited members to watch the bus arrive at local schools and help unload these gifts for the teachers.
Thank-you notes were received from Marilyn Sopocy, Toys for Tots, and the Veteran’s Center for donations made. Sharon Peck also expressed her appreciation for her 75-year pin.
We congratulate our high school graduates: Katelyn Kalocy, Dylan Kinnamon, Shyler Stehlik, Kyle Malek, and Sarah Sopocy. Happy birthday wishes were extended to Diane Bradley. Cash prize winners were Lisa Skaryd, and Ed and Joanne Fornusek.
Members voted to donate one new band uniform ($465) to the Ovid Elsie High School Marching Band.

A special dinner/program was held to honor the Mother and Father of the Year. Dylan and Mengsi Malek lit candles in memory of the deceased fathers and mothers of No. 225 and in honor of our living mothers and fathers. A poems was read by Isaac Bradley and Craig and Isabella Popiolek honoring mothers, fathers, and grandparents. Sally Stoll and Jim Korienek were named the 2017 Mother and Father of the Year. Sally was escorted to receive her flowers and crown by her son, JC. Jim was escorted by his wife Diane. Drawings were held for hanging flower basket and each of the mothers and fathers present received summer plants.

April 2017

Thank-you notes were received from the family of Josephine Vondruska and the Village of Ashley. A beautiful Slovak Easter card was received from Katherine Hucko as well.

Congratulations were extended to Mary Egres whose policy endowed.

Fifty-three members and guests enjoyed a bus trip to Firekeepers Casino on April 4. Our next trip is scheduled for September 12. You can contact Diane at (989-862-5378) for information and reservations
Adopt-A-Highway dates were set as follows: April 20 at 5:45 p.m., July 10 at 9 a.m., and September 25 at 5 p.m. Other dates to remember are: June 8-10, Ashley Trading Days (lodge bake sale and joining in parade); July 13-16, Elsie Dairy Festival (parade participation); July 9 lodge picnic, meeting at 10:30 a.m., potluck at noon, Reed Park, North Star; and July 14 Lugnuts game/fireworks: Contact Sally Stoll at 989-847-2461.
We welcomed new member Myah Cerny.

Our sympathies go out to the family and friends of Clio Foster and Josephine Vondruska.

Members donated to the Saginaw Veteran’s Hospital and to the Knights of Columbus golf outing.

Following the meeting, a special dinner/program was held to initiate new members and honor 50 and 75-year members. The presentation of flags was led by YELL! group members Gary Andrews, Christa and Rachel Fornusek, and Isaac Bradley. President Ladiski led the national anthems of the U.S., Czech Republic, and Slovakia. Members were instructed in the motto of the Association by Sarah Sopocy (Truth/Pravda), Ellie Bowles (Love/Laska), and Anmarie Andrews (Loyalty/Vernost). Participating in the Rite of Initiation was Ruth Malek who stood in for her granddaughter, Lucy Malek. As the 50 and 75-year members were called, they were escorted to receive their pin, lodge sash, flower, and the congratulations of officers and District Director Mary Bradley. Accepting 50-year pins were Mark Korienek, Joseph Houska III, and Darrell Aldrich. John Bernath accepted on behalf of his wife Marilyn. Joseph Houska Jr. was our 75-year member honored.

February 2017

The YELL! group meet on February 19 to elect officers, plan service projects, and social activities for 2017.
Magdalena Lopez, a legal advocate for Women’s Aid, attended the meeting to accept a monetary donation and items from the members. She shared that the Safe House serves the needs of women and children who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. It has been at capacity for the last 1½ years. The staff visits local schools, offering prevention programs and educating students in recognizing signs of abuse. They also serve men who are victims of abuse by providing shelter through motel vouchers, as well as counseling and legal support.

We welcome new members Harper, Owen, Kaycee, and Kelsey Nash, Gail Mahoney, Isaiah Justman, Keenan Briggs, Lucas Malek, and Dennis Strode.

A letter was received from Member Programs Manager Kelsey Logan, congratulating us for earning an Outstanding Lodge Award and commending us on the many community service and lodge projects.

Tom Bradley explained the point system that will be used for the 2017 awards program.

Vlasta Kopta and her family thanked members for helping make her 100th birthday such a great success. A thank-you note was also received from the Gratiot County Historical and Genealogical Society.

A moment of silence was observed and the Lord’s Prayer recited in memory of Erwin Kuester and Billy Clark. We extend prayers and sympathy to their families and friends.

We will purchase 1,000 pencils from the Home Office to distribute at local parades and other community events.
Mark your calendars for the April 4 bus trip to Firekeeper’s Casino. For information please contact Diane Bradley at 989-862-5378.

April 9 is the presentation of 50 and 75-year pins and initiation of new members. Meeting at 10:30 a.m., potluck at noon, followed by a program. We will be collecting for veterans.

December 2016 - January 2017

At least 53 members were involved in baking, working in the Czech bakery and store, and in various jobs around the village for the Ashley Country Christmas. More than 8,000 goodies were made and sold, as well as Czech garnet jewelry, lodge cookbooks, history books, and Czech/Slovak culture items.
The Red Cross was grateful for blood donations made during the drive held at the hall and co-sponsored by St. Cyril’s Knights of Columbus. The next drive is scheduled for April 18.
Sixty-seven members and friends attended the annual bowling party on December 28. Bowling, shoes, pizza, and drinks were provided by us.
We will renew our membership in the Gratiot County Chamber of Commerce.
February 26 is our Mid-Winter Jamboree with a potluck at noon, followed by music and dance. Admission is free.
Our regular meeting is 1:30 p.m. on March 12. We will have a used clothing and small working appliance drive. Items must be clean and in good repair.
We welcome Billy Shevrovich as the newest member.
Penny Nieman crocheted and donated (in the name of our lodge and memory of her mother Lillian Luckhardt) 25 bed capes to hospice, 180 baby hats to local hospitals, and 50 hats to the MI Fraternal Alliance. This is the 11th year she has donated her time and talent in service to others. We thank her for her generosity.
A thank-you note was received from Gratiot County Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots program. Elsie Food Bank thanked us for the non-perishable food and for having sorted, counted, and boxed it. Two Alma High School teachers thanked us for the poinsettia plants given in appreciation for helping with the food bank collection. More than 800 cans of food were distributed to the food bank and local families. Wilma Stambersky thanked us for the poinsettia and cards.
Christmas greetings were received from Jim and Diane Korienek and Western’s Fraternal Department.
Home Office President Craig Van Dyke congratulated us for hosting the 40th Annual Harvest Festival and commended the members for preserving their culture and heritage.
Happy birthday wishes were extended to Ed J. Fornusek and Bob Ladiski.
A moment of silence was held for Ron Long, Shirley Hofferbert, and Mary McNutt.
Donations were made to moving a local log cabin from the 1800’s to the Gratiot County Historical Society and to the Elba Township for upgrades and maintenance needed for Ashley Country Christmas.

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