Members met January 13 at the lodge hall. Discussion about our participation in the Ashley Country Christmas took place. Members were thanked for all their help baking and working at various jobs in the Christmas Village. We will present $1,000 to Elba Township for use of the township hall for the Czech Store the five weekends before Christmas. North Pole Postmaster, Ed Fornusek, collected 1,337 letters to Santa, which means Macy’s will donate $1,337 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Sally Stoll and Ruth Malek delivered food supplies to four senior households who were very grateful.
Fifty members and guests enjoyed the bowling party held the day after Christmas. We treated bowlers to pizza and soft drinks.
The Mid-Winter Jamboree will be held on February 24. A potluck dinner will begin at noon, followed by an afternoon of music and dance. Due to a conflict, the date for the April trip to Firekeepers Casino has been changed to April 23. For information or to reserve your seat, please contact Diane Bradley (989-862-5378).
We welcome our newest member, Landon Kremer to our fraternal family.
Christmas greetings were received from Jim and Diane Korienek, Cindy and Bill Houska, Alyce Moon, and Virginia Young. Members also thank Virginia for her donation to the lodge. A thank-you note was received from the Elsie Food Bank for our donation of over 1,300 non-perishable food items and a check.
A letter and check from the Members in Action Program was received from Kelsey Logan for our participation in the Ashley Country Christmas. Members expressed appreciation for this support from Western. Get-well cards and wishes were sent to several members.
Happy birthday wishes were extended to Bob Ladiski and Ed J. Fornusek. Prize winners included Ann Van Deusen, Diane Bradley, and Bob Ladiski. Everyone present received a large candy bar as well.
A moment of silence was observed and the Lord’s Prayer recited in memory of Nancy Fillmore and Luis Briones. Members extend prayers and sympathy to their families and friends.
Diane Bradley reported that some adult and YELL! group members delivered toys and a cash donations to the Gratiot County Foster Closet. A representative of the Foster Closet gave a tour of the facility, explaining how they serve children and families, especially when they first come into the system.
Sally Stoll reported that we will be providing food baskets to two single and two married senior households.
Joanne Fornusek thanked all who have been helping with the Ashley Country Christmas. A special celebration took place when this year’s first train arrived, marking the 100th train since the celebration started five years ago. Many gifts were awarded to visitors and the family who won the lodge’s gift basket posted pictures and a great thank-you on Facebook.
Director Mary Bradley discussed some of the Home Office plans in preparation for the National Convention in July.
Cash door prizes were won by Joe Malek, Isaac Bradley, and Tom Bradley. Each family present for the meeting received a beautiful poinsettia plant.
Christmas greetings were received from Katherine Hucko, Marilyn Bernath, and Mary Ellen Wingle. Members also thanked Mary Ellen for her donation to the lodge.
More than 1,300 non-perishable food items were donated to the area food bank and senior households. We thank Alma High School math teachers Ed Fornusek, Jamie Puffpaff, and Kelly Kindel, and their students for their outstanding and generous donations.
Following the meeting, a special Christmas dinner was enjoyed by all. Families from St. Cyril’s Catholic Church and the Bannister Methodist Church were also invited. The youngest children entertained the audience by playing Christmas carols on their rhythm band instruments. The Michigan State University Russian Singers sang carols and hymns in English, German, and Czech languages. Svate Mikulas (Pastor Zella Daniels) arrived, accompanied by an angel (Leesie Ladiski) and devil (Rachel Fornusek) to tell the story of Christmas. As the story unfolded young members came together on the stage to form a live nativity. Mary (Helena Grohol) and Joseph (Jaxon Ladiski) were joined by angels, shepherds, and wise men. Svate and his helpers distributed apples to all who had been good during the year. The devil also carried some coal in case anyone was on the naughty list. Excited children heard the sound of jingle bells and welcomed Santa (Roger Reha) to our celebration. Santa and Svate then handed out gifts to all present.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Call 877-935-2467 to speak with a Western Fraternal Life Representative.