Western Fraternal Life :: Rip No. 144

Rip No. 144

Mosinee, WI

April 2020

We are sorry that we weren’t able to host the District 5 Meeting this year due to Coronavirus restrictions.
Members are remotely putting together blue bird house kits for the 7th and 8th graders at St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Stratford, WI. The students will pick up the kits from school and build them independently for our Join Hands Day project this year.

Everything else has been cancelled or postponed, including the highway clean up and planting flowers with preschoolers.

Our sympathies go to the Delores Kopchinski family.

March 2020

Members met at Pam Thompson’s home on March 2 to plan the District 5 Meeting. Please plan on attending on April 26, unless we must cancel due to COVID-19 updates. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. at Mosinee Town Hall. RSVP with Gladys Ruha at 715-573-9366. Text messaging is okay. Hope to see everyone there. Our lunch will be pork loin and potato dumplings.

We discussed details of Join Hands Day with Stratford students. Flowers will be planted with the 1st through 4th graders. We will be doing an Earth Day project of making blue bird houses with the 7th and 8th graders as well. Wood will be prepared by Andy Altenhoffen for this project.

Seven sets of hats, scarves, and head bands were crocheted by four members. They were donated to Circle of Joy.

We will sponsor a family for Thanksgiving through Circle of Joy.

Our lodge will also accept applications for a scholarship for our 2020 graduates this year.
Pam Thompson and Gladys Ruha were given money for supplies.

A corned beef and cabbage meal was served by Pam Thompson following the meeting.
Our sympathies to the family of Audrey Heinzen.

December 2019

Members met December 1 at Mosinee Town Hall for a chicken potluck and meeting. A moment of silence was observed for our deceased members.

Thank-you letters were read from Mosinee Circle of Joy, the Women’s Center, and Mosinee High School. Mosinee High School also sent a letter requesting our participation in the 2020 scholarship program. Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin sent a letter requesting our contribution to them as well. The letter explained all the projects that donations support. It was wonderful to learn more about them.

Chuck Romanowski was then introduced as the next person we are sponsoring for an Honor Flight in 2020.
Everyone was asked to turn in volunteer hours and collections. Card fronts, ink cartridges, and cancelled stamps were received.

A report was given on our sponsorship of the District Meeting in April. Everyone was invited to attend.
Elections followed and the current officers were unanimously voted into office again.

A donation to Mosinee High School was made in January.

Discussion followed requesting ideas and greater involvement in meetings and activities for 2020. We have lost several of our regular workers and really need additional involvement. The work is getting taxing for those trying to do everything.

Our fun activities followed with a 50/50 raffle, Patty’s raffle, prizes, and left-right game. Even though the weather was severe, everyone who attended had a great time.

September 2019

Our 50 and 75-year member picnic started out with a chicken potluck dinner with 33 people participating. Janice Wieloch and Janice Gresens were given their 75 pins and a nice gift. Thank you for your years of membership and all the help.


After dinner, our meeting was called to order by President Matke. A moment of silence was observed for our deceased members. An interesting article was read by Beverly Matke about a 99-year-old man who still farms and regularly attends monthly Western meetings.

Reports were given regarding Youth Sporting Heritage Days, Busy Bee Day Care raised garden planting project, and the National Convention.

Bylaw changes presented and voted on at the National Convention were discussed. Everyone was reminded to update their beneficiaries on their policies and annuities. Watch the Fraternal Herald for other updates relating to the Convention.

Gladys Ruha was congratulated for being named National and WI Fraternalist of the Year. We are so proud that she was selected.

The Convention’s service project was making meal packets to distribute to the hungry in Wisconsin. Convention attendees shared their experiences regarding food and entertainment as well. One of our favorite things was seeing a 9-year-old boy playing the drums in his dad’s Polka band. He was good. We enjoyed the button accordion player at dinner and receptions in director’s rooms. The Czech Choraliers, Oneida Smoke Dancers, and Gary’s Ridgeland Dutchmen Band were great entertainment. We also acknowledge our scholarship winners from Mosinee High School: Nolan Mancl will study music at Luther College and Carissa Welch will study dietetics emphasizing in geriatric care at UW-Stevens Point. Congratulations to both for receiving our local scholarships.

Gladys Ruha shaving President Craig Van Dyke's hair at the Convention.

After the meeting adjourned, we collected card fronts, stamps, and ink cartridges. We also acknowledged our oldest member present, Anna Pecha, and youngest member Cameron. Janice Wieloch conducted the Heads and Tails game and door prizes were awarded.

We participated in the Patty Raffle raising money for our scholarships.

Youth Sporting Heritage Days was held at Wausau School Forest on August 24. We had 166 youth between the ages of 8 and 16 registered at the beginning of the day. Six members participated in the event. Marcel Wieloch set up, took down, and coached archery for the entire day. Sharon Altenhoffen, Janice Wieloch, Carmen Ganter, Gladys Ruha, and Pam Thompson manned an all-day sign up for our bike giveaway. Two bikes were given away.

After the long day, several of us participated in the volunteer appreciation cookout at Randy Falsted’s (chairman of YSHD) home in Mosinee.

We plan on playing Bingo at a Mosinee nursing home during the last two weeks in October. If interested in participating, call Gladys Ruha at 715-687-4025. Don’t forget about Spooktacular on October 19 from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. We are an official sponsor of this event. Volunteers are needed.

July 2019

The July 7 meeting was held at the Stratford Historical Museum. A moment of silence was observed in honor of all of our departed. Thank you notes from the students of St. Joseph's class were shared. We also read parts of the Fraternal Connection.

Reports were given describing the Join Hands Day planting activity with Mrs. Schmidt and Valerie Bradfish students at St. Joseph's Catholic School in Stratford. Valerie Bradfish was given a popcorn plant as a thank you. The students liked how it really smelled liked popped popcorn. Then pictures and details of the highway clean-up with the 4-H were shared.

The State Convention was discussed. Gladys Ruha was congratulated for becoming the State Fraternalist of the Year.

Janice Wieloch shared her experiences at planting vegetables with the preschoolers. We will have to plan this activity earlier next year. YELL! kids would like to plant trees for wildlife as well.
Members decided not to buy school supplies this year due to the closure of Mosinee's St Paul's Catholic School.
Our September meeting will be held at Jurastic Park and include a tour. Items are being collected for our annual Salvation Army hygiene kits.

We discussed and assigned tasks for the August picnic scheduled for the 4th. Youth Sporting Heritage Days is on August 24, and we will do another Spooktacular. We are reviewing potential people to make a donation to Honor Flight which will be decided later.

June 2019

On June 1, four members attended the Wisconsin State Meeting in Milwaukee, WI. This is the second year that it was a one-day meeting rather than a two-day. This was Pam Thompsons last year as WI State President. Katie Janette is the new State President.

Czech dancers from Marquette at the WI
State Meeting.

Gladys Ruha was honored as Wisconsin Fraternalist of the Year. This honor is well deserved with all of her hours of dedication to our lodge, Western, and her community service in the Stratford area and beyond. Please join me in congratulating her on receiving this award (photo in Spotlight section).

Carmen Ganter and Sharon Altenhofen congratulate their sister, Gladys Ruha, as Wisconsin Fraternalist of the Year.

Mark your calendars for the August 5 community picnic where we will be honoring our 50 and 75-year members. Please bring a non-perishable food item for the food pantry and any of the items that we collect (stamps, card front, and ink cartridges).

April 2019

April is our month of projects and external meetings. Five of us attended our District Meeting. Pam Thompson has attended three District Meetings as WI president.

Our YELL! group has been active with conducting Bingo at a nursing home and helping a senior member by raking and cleaning up her yard.

The reflective owls we donated were well received. Members attended a Squeeze Box night. 

April 2019

Members met April 8 at the Wieloch home. A moment of silence was observed in honor of Arne Ruha.
The National Convention and State Meeting was discussed. We decided to give the lodge scholarships on the awards night.

For Join Hands Day, we will plant flowers with St. Joseph students in Stratford. We'll also do a youth project with Busy Bees Daycare in Arpin, WI at the end of May.
Jayda and Alyza shared their volunteering at Maple Ridge Assisted Living in Plover, WI. They entertain residents on birthdays.

After the meeting, Jayda and Alyza helped YELL! members make helper owls. These reflect light to prevent birds from crashing into windows. They are going to be donated to Mead Wildlife for people to take home.
A wonderful lunch was served by Janice Wieloch.

March 2019

Members met March 3 at Pam Thompson’s home.

We received our District 5 invitation for April 28 at Big Flats Town Hall in Arkdale. The Secretary Newsletter reminded us about the Fraternalist of the Year due date of May 1.

A thank-you note was received from Randy Falsted regarding Sporting Heritage Youth Day and an invitation to participate again on August 24. This is a great event for children age eight and over. Admission is free at the School Forest in Mosinee. Look for registration form online.

Emails were read from Kelsey Logan regarding points and a general policy regarding reissued checks that have not been cashed. Our uncashed check for Mosinee Scholarship will be reissued to the recipients of the scholarship rather than the school.

Our total points earned in 2018 was 144 and we will receive the maximum grant for the top level.
Janice Wieloch has been confirmed as a 75-year member.

Our financial paperwork will be checked over after today’s meeting for math accuracy. We will order tote bags and t-shirts.

Members discussed potential speakers and presenters to invite to our meetings. Then we thought a presentation about maple syrup would be interesting. Jurustic Park in Marshfield is being considered for a tour. We thought this outing could be combined with a meeting at the Ruha home.

Our YELL! group will do a project of reflective owls that can be put in windows to prevent birds from flying into them. This will take place in April and be donated to Mead Wildlife.

An April project will happen with Valerie Bradfish’s third and fourth graders. We haven’t settled on an activity yet.
Members will participate in Mosinee High School with another Western Scholarship for a four and a two-year student.

Flyers for Mondays at the Mead were handed out to help increase attendance.

We discussed having a K9 presentation at our summer picnic and will continue to discuss after more information is gathered. Some programs at the library were also discussed.

We enjoyed fellowship and corned beef and cabbage after the meeting. The treasurer’s bookwork was verified after the meal.

February 2019

Members met February 3 at Arne and Gladys Ruha home. A moment of silence was observed for our deceased: Irene Seidl, Louise Francl, Enid Tousey, Timothy Coulthurst, and Percilla Grandahl.

There was a thank-you note from Community Center of Hope for our monetary donation and the Mead for our involvement with Spooktacular.

The names of our 50 and 75-year members were read. Janice Wieloch said that she should also be on as a 75-year member.

The National Convention invitation to the youth was read and discussed. Mosinee Scholarship request was read and discussed. Pam Thompson passed our 2018 paperwork around. Everything was presented and discussed. We decided to donate to Mosinee High School toward two scholarships. We plan to have six members attend the National Convention.

We will buy Marge Gibson a Western t-shirt.

Our Calendar of Events was discussed, adding a July 7 meeting at the Wieloch residence. Meeting ideas were discussed, including inviting Lady Arapned to talk about Alpaca wool and other Alpaca products. Other ideas included, seed exchange, bees and honey, quilting, ginsing tour, homemakers, tour of Jurustic Park in Marshfield, or tour of Upham Mansion. More research will be done and discussed again at our next meeting.

Monetary donations were made to Mosinee High School and the food project for National Convention.

We showed Christmas items that were purchased from Dollar General for 2019’s Christmas party.

A wonderful valentine’s meal was served by Arne and Gladys Ruha.

Auditing of the financial records took place after the meal.

December 2018

Members met December 2 for a community party at Mosinee Town Hall. We had a potluck dinner. A moment of silence was observed for all 2018 bereavements and members unable to attend.

Thank-you notes were read from Honor Flight, Community Foundation regarding Honor Flight, Jan Wieloch, REGI for donation, Stamps for the Wounded, and Karen Spoehr for memorial gift in honor of Evelyn Wildman. We read a list of donations made during the year.

Our guest speaker, Bill Reid, gave a presentation describing his Honor Flight. He witnessed two firsts for Honor Flight participants, having the flight delayed due to weather and seeing some of the monuments under night lights. The event of a lifetime had more than 1,000 people greet them in Washington, D.C. and hundreds in Mosinee. He thanked us for sponsoring his journey.

We decided to have Western listed as a sponsor for 2019 Spooktacular at the Mead.

Reports were given regarding our trip to REGI Center. The birds were fun to meet and learn about. Many of the bird’s individual personalities could be seen. We were reminded that the REGI Center is always looking for donations of meat from hunting. If you want to donate any unusable meat, it can be taken to REGI Center or Zillman’s Meat Market in Wausau.

We were asked to come up with ideas of what we should do next year, then submit ideas to officers for the January/February planning meetings. Members were asked to submit volunteer hours so that annual reports can be completed in January.

Elections followed reinstating the same officers as last year: President Beverly Matke, Treasurer Gladys Ruha, and Secretary/Correspondent Pamela Thompson.

Mary Stepan received her Honorary Membership certificate. She was invited to come to our Christmas party, but was unable to. We will set up a time to deliver the certificate to her.

After the meeting, Janice Weiloch conducted a game called Heads and Tails. After the game, we handed out door prizes and had a raffle for the scholarship fund.

Several people turned in volunteer hours and items for our collections to include stamps, box tops, and Moola. We then drew for our big prizes: a Christmas tree donated by Bob Stepan and our chocolate box.

November 2018

Members met November 10 at Pam Thompson’s home. A report was given on the success of the Spooktacular Event with 287 people in attendance.

Photos were shared of the YELL! group playing Bingo at St. Rita’s. An update was also given regarding the highway clean-up.

The budget for our Christmas party was reviewed. Tasks assigned to people were also reviewed for the Christmas party.

We donated money to Circle of Joy and Community Center of Hope. Gladys Ruha made a motion to postpone paying officer salaries from December to January. This motion was seconded and passed.

Director Brenda Vrieze will forward confirmation of our donation to the State Scholarship fund when she receives it from the foundation. She will also send us more placemats and napkins for the Christmas party.

Correspondence from Mosinee High School thanking us for our scholarship donation was read.

We worked on reviewing the point forms. We also compiled the data for the Monetary Donation form that is due in December. Members then went to Olive Garden for supper.

Our Christmas party was December 2.

We delivered pillow cases to the fire department.

October 2018

Members traveled to Black River Falls for the 2018 WI State Convention on October 6. While waiting for everyone to arrive, we enjoyed breakfast and kolache made by No. 196.

The River Falls mayor gave a wonderful presentation about all the things available to do and see in Black River Falls.

Senior Vice President and Chief Underwriter Ann Day Freeman, from the Home Office, was our honored guest. She presented many new happenings at the Home Office and discussed the National Convention. Statistics regarding Wisconsin membership were also presented showing that many states are represented by our membership. Members in these other states are encouraged to participate with lodges in their local area.

Changes regarding our scholarships were also presented. A very successful basket raffle raised money to further fund the scholarship endowment. Thanks to everyone who contributed items for the raffle.

After our evening meal, we enjoyed a presentation by a local police officer, Ethan Schaefer, and his K-9 companion from Czechoslovakia, Ilo. One of the interesting facts was that all of the commands are given in Czech.

On October 13, we joined with Rib Mountaineers, a 4-H group, to clean up two miles of Highway KK near the school forest. It was a beautiful day, just before the first snow.

July 2018

Members met July 1 at the Wieloch’s home. Hotel reservations were made for the State Meeting.

Bingo at Home with Friends was July 7. Isabella’s Day Care turtle project was July 25.

Members attended Mead Wildlife Farm Tech Days.

Invitations to our August community picnic celebrating 50 and 75-year members were mailed.

Following our meeting, we had a three hour work session to trim stamps, cut out turtles, and cut and sew pillow cases and fleece blankets for our fire station project.

The Honor Flight contribution hasn’t been made yet. We need to determine who the donation will be honoring. Jim Campbell and Mike Thompson received the Jefferson award for starting Honor Flight.

Agnes Mikes’ obituary was submitted to the Fraternal Herald.

Janice Wieloch took over Patty’s raffle at August’s community picnic. We will save back some of the greeting card fronts to make cards for Cedar Ridge Assisted Living or a vet’s group. Regi Center was the location for September’s meeting.

Members donated money to Youth Sporting Heritage Days. Two bicycles will also be purchased as part of the event. Backpacks were donated to Mrs. Holzum’s class again this year.

Donations were made to Honor Flight. Pillowcases with teddy bears and blankets were donated.

July 2018

Our meeting was at 1:30 p.m. on July 1 at the Wieloch home. Correspondence from the Home Office was reviewed.

Hotel reservations were made for the State Convention.

Bingo at Home with Friends was July 7. Isabella’s Daycare turtle project was July 25. Turtle shapes were prepared after July 1’s meeting. Six people attended and helped Mead Wildlife at Farm Tech Days on Wednesday. Invitations to the August community picnic celebrating our 50 and 75-year members were mailed.

The Honor Flight contribution hasn’t been made yet. We need to determine who the donation will be honoring. Jim Campbell and Mike Thompson received the Jefferson Award for starting Honor Flight.

Agnes Mikes’ obituary was submitted to the Fraternal Herald.

The Regi Center will be our location for the September meeting. Our meeting day and time has been changed to 1 p.m. the second Saturday at the Regi Center.

The butterfly lady will not be our guest speaker in August due to cost.

We made a monetary donation to Sporting Heritage Days. Two bikes will be purchased as part of the event. Backpacks will be donated to Mrs. Holzum’s class again this year. Please check into uses for plastic medicine containers. Janice Wieloch will take over Patty’s raffle at August’s community picnic. We will save back some of the greeting card fronts to make cards for Cedar Ridge Assisted Living or a vet’s group. We assigned people to all of the tasks necessary to make our picnic successful.

A wonderful 4th of July lunch was served by Janice Wieloch. Following our meeting, we trimmed stamps and cut out/sewed pillow cases and fleece blankets for our fire station project.

June 2018

Members met June 11 at Gladys and Arne Ruha’s home. A moment of silence was observed for Agnes Mikes. Our condolences go out to the family.

Thank-you notes were read from Frank Rindfleisch for the get-well card and Rachel Schmuhl for the Christmas stockings for Isabella and Cameron.

The new Salvation Army commander gave Marcel and Gladys a thank-you note and a donation receipt while they were delivering our packages.

Pam Thompson gave a report regarding the highway clean-up with Rib Mountain 4-H Mountaineers. Carmen and Becky Ganter and Pam Thompson joined 17 members of the 4-H group. Two miles of roadway in Mosinee were cleaned, which included six bags of garbage, two bags of aluminum cans, and several boxes. We plan on doing this again next year and/or helping with the Rib Mountain State Park clean-up day in 2019.

Our scholarships were awarded at Mosinee High School on May 30. Dacota Bernardy received the technical school scholarship and will attend the Northcentral Technical College. Christina Wenman, class president, received the university scholarship and will attend UW-Milwaukee.

Our Bingo with Home with Friends will be a YELL! project. The date will be determined by the availability of the YELL! members. Our turtle art project will be with Isabella’s Childcare Center.

We received an invitation to the State Convention that will take place on October 6. Our delegates will be Pam Thompson, Janice and Marcel Wieloch, Carmen Ganter, Sharon Altenhofen, and Gladys Ruha. Gladys will make the hotel reservation.

Mead Wildlife asked for volunteers with Farm Technology Days on July 10-12. Winged Wonders were at the Mead on June 24. We are asking them to be a guest speaker at our August picnic. Invitations will be sent to our 50 and 75-year members to attend our picnic on the second Sunday in August. This is the new day for the picnic this year because the Mosinee Town Hall was not available for the first Sunday.

We will donate to the Honor Flight again this year. A recipient will be named in the future. Additional ideas were presented for meeting locations to try for additional people to attend.

Members discussed the Historical Society in Stratford during their antique quilt display and Regi’s Center. We discussed volunteer options to include Wausau Hospital, and collecting additional items for the Salvation Army, such as laundry detergent, dryer sheets, and purchasing tokens for people trying to restart their lives.

The bear and pillowcase project continued at the July 1 meeting. We made pillowcases at Janice Wieloch’s home. Fleece blankets will also be made to add to the pillowcases. Several blankets that Marcel and Janice Wieloch received from St. Joseph’s Indian School will be included in the project.

May 2018

Members met on May 6 at Pam Thompson’s house. A moment of silence was observed for John Estok, Evelyn Tautges, and an opted-out member. Our condolences go out to the families. Thank-you notes were read from two people for get-well cards we sent.

Home Office correspondence was reviewed regarding the point system and some of its changes. We decided to order some Western logo items: chip clips, tote bags, and bookmarks.

Pam Thompson gave a report regarding the District 5 Meeting.

We planned to join Rib Mountain’s 4-H group with their highway clean-up but it was postponed due to weather.
Gladys Ruha reported that she met with Jaco Kotz regarding pillowcases filled with blankets, bears, and items for children that the fire department help disperse. Mary Jo will help sew the pillow cases at the July meeting, they need 8-10. Gladys will shop for the fabrics.

Bingo with the YELL! group members was planned for either June 10, 16, or 23 with Home with Friends.

Due to cancelling March’s meeting, we added a June 10 meeting at the Ruha home.

We made a monetary donation to the Salvation Army.

Carmen Ganter suggested we join the Rib Mountain State Park clean-up next year or a turtle art project with preschoolers. We will look for a group to do these with.

Janice Wieloch would like to invite the butterfly lady to speak at our August picnic. Last year she raised 1,000 butterflies and tagged 300 of them. An invitation will be extended.

Salvation Army care bags were put together by Pam Thompson, Janice Wieloch, Gladys Ruha, Marcell Wieloch, Sharon Altenhofen, Carmen Ganter, and Bev Matke to be delivered May 10. Lunch was served by Pam Thompson after the meeting.

February 2018

Members met at the Ruha home to plan for events and prepare annual paperwork. A moment of silence was observed for Earl Bavlinka.

Discussion centered on potential events. We decided to play Bingo at two nursing homes, do a road or park clean-up, art project with St. Paul’s preschool, Join Hands Day with Head Start, and sew pillow cases with a bear inside for rescue professionals to give to children in crisis.

Dates were determined for the summer community picnic and Christmas party. The outcome of points earned for 2017 was discussed.

We made personal care kits for the Salvation Army donation project at the March 11 meeting. A monetary donation will accompany the kits.

Our get-well card monetary gift was increased and the community service hour worksheet was worked on. We also completed the Financial Statement report. Card fronts and stamps were collected to mail in.

Janice Wieloch and Agnes Mikes celebrate February birthdays with an ice cream cake.

After the meeting adjourned, a valentine game was played and we enjoyed a wonderful lunch hosted by Arne and Gladys Ruha. We also had an ice cream cake to honor Agnes Mikes 93rd birthday and Janice Wieloch’s upcoming birthday.

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