Western Fraternal Life :: Zare Svobody No. 38

Zare Svobody No. 38

Austin, MN

March-April 2020

Members have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in the same spirit that our Czech ancestors, who founded ZCBJ over 120 years ago, supported each other to survive in a new country. In response to a media call for fabric surgical masks, a small group of members (including youth) cut fabric and elastic according to a pattern provided by the Center for Disease Control. The masks were delivered to Olmsted Medical Center in Rochester, MN for use as needed.

Another media request was for laptops for students without access to electronic devices to enable them to participate in online distance learning. A laptop was delivered to the designated location in Rochester, MN for this purpose. Other members have provided home-schooling for children and assisted family members who are at high risk by getting groceries and running other errands as needed.

All members have been making an extra effort to support each other and reduce social isolation by staying in contact via emails, phone calls, and cards. Being part of a “lodge family” and responding to needs in the community are especially important during times like this global pandemic.

February 2020

On February 15, members and guests gathered at Mower County Senior Center for the monthly meeting.
We have two 50-year members this year. Bonnie Sawyer awarded Barb Smalley her 50-year pin at the ladies’ gathering. Frank Van Alstine will be invited to our May meeting to get his pin.

Members decided not to submit a candidate for Fraternalist of the Year. The District 4 Meeting will be hosted by No. 44 on May 3.

Members were reminded of our upcoming garage sale April 30 and May 1-2. Any good used merchandise will be accepted.

The National Scholarship forms were due March 1. The state scholarship forms are due May 3. Forms for the lodge scholarship are available from the secretary and due by July 1. Ellie Haeska and Kenny Schafer’s names will be sent to the Fraternal Herald for the graduate drawing. If there are other members who qualify, please let us know.

Beth Pestka reported on lodge projects that have been worked on. Cancelled stamps were cut and sent to St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Spring Valley. A fraternal project of making valentines was done and they were distributed to the residents of the Wabasha Nursing Home. The YELL! group packaged and sold recycled cards.
We conducted a giving heart project at our meeting. On a paper heart, we listed something that each of us did to make the world a better place.

We had a birthday project at our March 21 meeting.

The two $5 winners were Ellie Haeska and Ron Kos. Ken Haggerty led dirty Bingo.

December 2019

On December 7, Beth Pestka catered a delicious Christmas dinner for members. Following the meal, Santa made an appearance with a gift for all the good members.

Our YELL! group is actively making plans to establish a beehive in the spring. They plan to tap into the expertise of Adam Blahnik who has several hives.

Barb Smalley informed us that the roof that needed repair for St. Vincent de Paul has been completed. They were thankful for the donation that we made.

Carolyn Greeley suggested that the garage sale we sponsor might be used for the Matching Funds program. More discussion to come later. There was also discussion on when and where it will be held. In the meantime, start collecting items.

Beth Pestka reported that we donated 41 pounds of canned and dry goods to Channel 1 from our November drive. She also mentioned the heritage event making the Blahnik sticky rolls at her home the middle of October.
Bonnie Sawyer congratulated the officers for doing an awesome job. Work gets done when we all work together.
In January, we collected good, used or new socks for the sock drive.

The afternoon ended with Bingo.

November 2019

On November 16, members gathered at the Mower County Senior Center for the meeting.

The winter wear collection was donated to the Dorothy Day Hospitality House and the Epilepsy Foundation. Beth Pestka will check on various options to donate the winter clothing for next year.

A very warm thank-you was read from James Chrz upon receiving his 75-year pin. The lodge is always thrilled to hear from members.

Ken Haggerty compiled a 2020 form for our scheduled meetings. The schedule will be sent to members.
Our 2020 elections were held with the following result: President Bob Baley, Vice President Bonnie Sawyer, Secretary Mary Haggerty, Treasurer Dorothy Denisen, Correspondent Ellie Haeska, and Point Person Beth Pestka. Auditors will be: Fran Nelson, Melissa Haeska, and Verne Baley. YELL! leaders are Carolyn Greeley and Cathy Bly.
The YELL! group will be doing two seasonal activities. They are also exploring the idea of starting and maintaining a beehive in the spring.

At our November meeting, we collected cans and dry goods. They were donated to Channel One.

Beth Pestka catered the Christmas meal at our Christmas party on December 7.

September 2019

On September 21, members gathered at the Mower County Senior Center in Austin for a meeting. Thank-you notes were read from Kendra Weber and Ellie Haeska for the scholarships that we awarded them. We are happy to be involved in their education.

Members discussed the Fraternal Herald with the excellent coverage of the National Convention in Green Bay, WI. Seven of our 110 members were in attendance and found the Convention very enjoyable.

Secretary Mary Haggerty received a letter that Jacob DiNicola was awarded Honorable Mention in the Photo Contest. Congratulations Jacob!

Our share of the personal hygiene care bags from the State Meeting were donated to the Silver Creek Corner. It is a facility to help with substance recovery.

Mary Haggerty, and her husband, are putting together the bakeless bake sale letter. Included in the letter is a brief description of the past year’s activities.

We had a generous collection of school supplies at our meeting. Melissa Haeska agreed to take them to a needy school in Minneapolis.

Our yearly donations were made to the Building Fund for St. Vincent de Paul, Minnesota Scholarship, Mower County Senior Center, and Red Cross.

Winners of $5 were Dorothy Denisen and Jim Blahnik. Ken Haggerty led the fun-filled Bingo game.
At our October 19 meeting, we had a harvest meal and winter wear drive.

July 2019

On July 13, members and one guest gathered for an indoor picnic at the Senior Center in Austin. Following the meal, the meeting was called to order.

Fran Nelson thanked the group for their concern and support regarding her health.

Bonnie Sawyer summarized the MN State Meeting held June 22-23 at La Quinta Inn, Rochester. There were 45 participants. The meeting, service project, raffles, banquet, documentary, and evening music all went well.

Thanks to everyone who donated food, items, and time to make this a successful event. The personal care bags from the service project will be donated to a local group.

Carolyn Greeley read thank-you notes from Melissa and Pat Haeska and from Ann Day Freeman for being included in an enjoyable State Meeting.

Participants in the National Convention were delegate Beth Pestka, Bonnie Sawyer as alternate, youth delegate Ellie Haeska, and four additional members.

Lodge scholarship awards were announced for Kendra Weber, Garrett Greeley, and Ellie Haeska. Garrett was present at the meeting to read his excellent essay and receive his letter and check. Kendra will be mailed a letter and check. Ellie received her award and check during the National Convention.

Drawing winners were Garrett Greeley and Bonnie Sawyer.

May 2019

On May 18, members gathered at the Mower County Senior Center in Austin, MN for their monthly meeting. Lunch was served by the YELL! group.

Our garage sale on May 2-5 was a success. Goods for the sale were donated from about ten different sources. A gift card was given to Pat and Melissa Haeska for hosting the sale. Our lodge made money and the Epileptic Foundation was the recipient of much of the leftover surplus. Thanks to all who made this sale a success.

We were happy to report that Kendra Weber was awarded a National Scholarship. Our 75-year members, James R. Chrz and Robert Sokol, were unable to attend the meeting, so their pins will be sent to them.
A memorial service for our deceased members was held at our meeting. We visited veteran’s graves and gave them a flag and flowers on May 24.

Bob Baley was selected as our lodge’s Fraternalist of the Year. Melissa Haeksa wrote Bob’s essay and framed it. Cathy Bly read the moving essay describing Bob.

Bonnie Sawyer reported on the April 28 District Meeting. No. 127 conducted a May basket fraternal project. The meal and kolache were delicious.

The State Meeting was Jun 22-23 in Rochester.

The National Convention is July 18-19 in Green Bay, WI. Beth Pestka and Ellie Haeska are representatives from our lodge. The lodge will pay for registration for any members who wish to attend the meeting.

YELL! leaders Carolyn Greeley and Cathy Bly reported on what the YELL! group is doing. They plan to have pictures displayed at the State Meeting of the YELL! group members. They set up goals each month for their group to achieve. Some of their activities include, cleaning road ditches, making and putting out wood duck houses, the milkweed project, and making greeting cards.The YELL! group helped at State Meeting as well.

Scholarships were awarded at our July 1 meeting.

We ended the afternoon with Bingo.

March 2019

On February 16, members gathered at Mower County Senior Center for our meeting and a chicken soup meal. We donated money to the Kids Against Hunger project for the National Convention.

The Subway gift card for Jeanne Rolfson was reimbursed. We also paid airfare for the suitcase filled with socks for St. Vincent de Paul.

A reminder was given to our young people in the lodge about scholarships.

We nominated Bob Baley for Fraternalist of the Year. Melissa Haeska filled out the form.

Mary Haggerty had been to Sokol MN for a Czech meal to celebrate her birthday. Information about Sokol was passed out to the group.

We conducted our Giving Heart project. It is heartwarming to hear some of the good acts our members do.

The State Meeting will be June 22-23 at La Quinta Hotel in Rochester, MN. Registration will begin at noon and the meeting will commence at 1 p.m. Registration is $15 per person. We would like an estimation of the number of members who plan to attend by May 20. There will be a service project. Ken and Mary Haggerty and the YELL! group will be donating items for the raffle.
Jerry Denisen and Millie Baley were our two $5 winners. Dirty Bingo ended the afternoon.

On March 16, members gathered at the Mower County Senior Center. Our lodge had attained the Shining Star award. We are one out of 19 lodges in the country to get that award.

Invitations were sent to our two 75-year members to attend the May meeting and celebration. If unable to attend, we planned to send them pins. We brainstormed ideas for Join Hands Day.

The birthday project held at our meeting will be donated to the Grand Meadow Food Shelf.

The District 4 Meeting was hosted by Owatonna on April 28. Beth Pestka and Dorothy Denisen donated items to be raffled off.

We had our annual garage sale May 2-5 at Pat and Melissa Haeska’s.

A group of members will again be visiting and distributing memorials for veterans at several cemeteries. Many thanks to those who have protected our country.

The lodge is sending special thoughts out to Robert Baley, Jerry Denisen, and Millie Baley. The YELL! group, Dorothy Denisen, and Bonnie Sawyer served lunch at the May meeting. Ken Haggerty and Dorothy Denisen were our cash winners. Dirty Bingo was played.

January 2019

On January 19, members gathered at the Mower County Senior Center. Bonnie Sawyer treated us to a delicious chicken dinner from Hy-Vee.

We conducted a sock drive at our meeting. Socks will be sent to St. Vincent de Paul in Cour d’Alene, ID. Member Barb Smalley is the Development Director at the facility.

Pat and Melissa Haeska will once again host our annual garage sale on May 2-4. It is time to clean our closets again.

It was reported that this year we have two 75-year members, James Chrz and Robert Sokol. They will be honored at our May meeting, and if they are unable to attend, their pins will be sent to them.

We agreed to offer scholarships to our young people. Forms can be obtained from Bonnie Sawyer or Mary Haggerty. The application is to be returned to the lodge by July 1.

The lodge nominated Bob Baley as candidate for Fraternalist of the Year. Whatever the outcome, Bob is our winner.

We are sad to announce that member Jeanne Rolfson is moving from our area. The lodge showered her with gifts, including a teddy bear which was hugged by all the members. We wish Jeanne all the best.

We conducted the Giving Heart Project at our February meeting. Bonnie Sawyer and Mary Haggerty served lunch.
The afternoon ended with a Bingo game.

January 2019

On December 8, members gathered at the Mower County Senior Center for a meeting and Christmas party. Beth Pestka catered a delicious meal and we celebrated Ken Haggerty and Jerry Pestka’s birthdays.

Bonnie Sawyer and Beth Pestka gave updates on our State Meeting (June 22-23) and National Convention (July 18-19) coming up this year. Beth Pestka has scheduled musical entertainment for the State Meeting. It was also in agreement that the lodge pay for registration for any member of the lodge who wanted to attend the National Convention being held in Green Bay, WI.

Calendars of our monthly meetings and activities were passed out to each member. We’ll send this to the Home Office as well.

Santa made a visit with presents to our members. We noticed Santa had grown considerably taller since last year. The snow is probably deeper in the North Pole this year.

At our January 19 meeting, we had a sock drive for St. Vincent de Paul. Dorothy Denisen and Mary Haggerty served lunch.

Our two $5 winners were Robert Baley and Mary Haggerty. A fun game of Dirty Bingo ended the afternoon.

November 2018

On November 17, our lodge enjoyed a lasagna meal and meeting.

Dorothy Denisen read Ellie Haeska’s essay and thank-you note for the scholarship she received from us. We continue to emphasize that our future is in the youth.

Members chose our delegate for the National Convention. Beth Pestka will represent our lodge with Bonnie Sawyer as an alternate. There is a possibility that Ellie Haeska will be our young member.

Beth Pestka reported on a planning meeting for the State Meeting scheduled for June 22-23 at the La Quinta Inn in Rochester, MN. Cost of registration will be $15 per person. Beth is working on organizing entertainment. Our YELL! members will be helping and there will possibly be a service project.

Dorothy Denisen reported on our bakeless bake sale. We have collected $455 with 16 members contributing. Many thanks to our members for making our sale a success.

We collected can and dry goods at our November meeting and donated it to the Austin Salvation Army. Our members were very generous.

Our annual election was held with the following results: President Bob Baley, Vice President Beth Pestka, Secretary Mary Haggerty, Treasurer Dorothy Denisen, Correspondent Ellie Haeska, Inside Guard Robert Baley, Activities Director Ken Haggerty, Points Person Bonnie Sawyer, Auditors Ken Haggerty, Verne Baley, and Fran Nelson, and YELL! leaders Carolyn Greeley and Cathy Bly.

Our Christmas party was December 8. We extended a special invite to new members. Beth Pestka catered the meal.

October 2018

On October 20, members and guests gathered at Mower County Senior Center for a potluck harvest meal/meeting. October birthdays were celebrated for Jeanne Rolfson, Jerry Denisen, and Bonnie Sawyer.

The thank-you letter and scholarship essay submitted by Garrett Greeley was read.

Mary Haggerty composed a letter summarizing lodge activities for the year and announcing the 8th annual bakeless bake sale fundraiser. We sent it to all lodge members.

Bonnie Sawyer reported on a lodge activity at St. Vincent de Paul where five members and one YELL! member attended.

Members have donated warm winter clothing and blankets to the Dorothy Day Hospitality House and collected more items to be delivered later. A thank-you note was read from this group.

We were reminded of the food collection at the November meeting to help support the Food Shelf at the Austin Salvation Army.

There was discussion about the MN State Meeting to be held June 22-23 at LaQuinta Inn in Rochester, MN. A planning meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. on November 3 at 1605 8½ Avenue SE in Rochester, and all members are invited. We will be hosting the State Meeting, along with No. 44 and No. 127. Bonnie Sawyer is the State President and will be chairing the meeting.

At the November 17 meeting, elections were held and 2019 meeting schedule finalized.

Donations were made to the MN Scholarship Fund, Mower County Senior Center, and the Red Cross.
Dirty Bingo was played after the meeting.

September 2018

On September 15, members gathered at Mower County Senior Center for lunch and a meeting. We have three new members, juveniles Lydia and Abraham Bly and adult Margaret Dalmeida.

Fran Nelson thanked us for help cleaning her yard in May. Robert Baley thanked us for giving him a special birthday party.

Verne Baley read the scholarship essay and thank-you note from Kendra Weber. We wish her success in her educational pursuit.

Members are happy to report that we have 122 points this year so far. That number qualifies us as a Shining Star lodge.

Members were very generous in donating school supplies for a needy school.

Mary Haggerty is in the process of constructing a bakeless bake sale and yearly update letter to be sent to all members.

We made our yearly donations at the meeting to the MN scholarship fund, Mower County Senior Center, and the Red Cross.

Members had a harvest meal and meeting on October 20 with a winter wear drive. We will have our annual elections in November.

July 2018

Members met July 7 at Mower County Senior Center for a potluck and meeting.

Thank-you notes were received from Marie Krikava’s family for the memorial, Judith Belshan for the 75-year pin she received, and Pat and Melissa Haeska for the gift certificate we gave for hosting our annual garage sale.

Bonnie Sawyer reported on the State Meeting held in Hopkins. We had four members in attendance. There were four young people from our district awarded a state scholarship.

District 4 will be hosting the MN State Meeting at the La Quinta Inn in Rochester, MN in 2019. Lodges 38, 44, and 127 will hold a meeting for more planning.

Beth Pestka reported that she had recently heard some good reviews on the Fraternal Herald. Keep up the good work.

We celebrated Mary Haggerty being awarded the 2018 Fraternalist of the Year at the State Meeting. Bonnie Sawyer provided the balloons and bubbly for the celebration.

Four, $200 scholarships were awarded to young people at our July meeting. Garrett Greeley received a scholarship in memory of his deceased uncle, Francis Blahnik. Ellie Haeska was awarded a scholarship in honor of her dear friend Robert Baley. Kendra Weber was awarded a scholarship in honor of special member Millie Baley. Kathryn Haeska received a scholarship in honor of her grandparents, Ken and Mary Haggerty.

Our next meeting is September 15 and we will collect school supplies for a school to be determined. Bonnie Sawyer and the Haggertys will serve lunch.

May 2018

On May 19, the YELL! group and two leaders, Carolyn Greeley and Cathy Bly, treated the lodge members with a special lunch.

A memorial from Karen Nyenhuis’s family was read. Marie Krikava’s family sent a notice about her death and upcoming funeral memorial at the Brick Hall on June 15. The deaths of two members, Paul Oxley and Robert Blahnik, were also acknowledged. Bonnie Sawyer read a memorial for all deceased members and lit a candle with a moment of silence.

A flyer for No. 44’s celebration in September with Molly B. was passed around.

Our annual garage sale at the Haeska’s was a success. It was reported that we made $715. Many thanks to Pat and Melissa for the accommodations. We will buy a gift card for them at the Whistle Shop to show our appreciation. Some of the excess from the sale was donated to the Epileptic Foundation.

Our District 4 Meeting was a success. No. 38, 44, and 127 were all awarded the Shining Star for 2017. The State Meeting will no longer accept cancelled stamps, but St. Ignatius Church in Spring Valley is collecting them, so we donated our collection to them.

Bonnie Sawyer reported that we held a clean-up time for lodge member Frances Nelson. We ended it with an enjoyable picnic lunch.

We visited the graves of veterans on May 25 and had a small memorial.

The lodge paid registration for members who attended the State Meeting in Hopkins on June 23. We discussed the 2019 State Meeting and Beth Pestka is checking several options.

The YELL! group continues to make greeting cards, have put up two wood duck houses, collect pop tabs, and maintains two heavily used mini-libraries. Fathers of some of the members are doing volunteer coaching. The plan is for a meeting of the YELL! group at Whitewater State Park in June.

Cathy Bly and Melissa Haeska were awarded their 50-year pins. Our three 75-year members were not in attendance, so their pins will be sent to them. Congratulations to all.

We held a meeting on July 7 with a potluck. Lodge scholarships were awarded.

April 2018

Members ate a St. Patrick’s meal, listened to Irish music, and met on March 17. A thank-you note was read from St. Vincent de Paul for the 135 new and used socks we donated.

We achieved the Shining Star Award. Much thanks to Bonnie Sawyer for reporting the points.


The birthday project we held at our meeting was a big success. The cake mixes, frosting, candles, and cards will be donated to the Grand Meadow Food Shelf.

Edward Zich became an Honorary Member and turned 96-years-old on March 14. We wish him the very best.
Members discussed the death of Karen Nyenhuis and sent the family a memorial.

Kathryn Haeska will graduate from college and her name was sent to the Home Office for the drawing.
Joe Haggerty was re-instated as a member and his wife Jill became a new member.

We hosted the District Meeting on April 29 in the Oakland Hall. Bonnie Sawyer provided candles and Bob Baley lit the candle to honor the deceased. Verne Baley read the poem for the deceased members. Hy-Vee catered the event. Jeanne Rolfson, Beth Pestka, Bonnie Sawyer, Melissa Haeska, and Mary Haggerty provided desserts. Mary Haggerty did decorations. Raffles were provided by the Haggerty’s and Bonnie Sawyer.

Our annual garage sale was May 2, 3, and 4 at Pat and Melissa Haeska’s residence.

Lodge scholarship forms are due by July 1. The State Meeting was set for June 23. We will discuss that at our May meeting. Join Hands Day has been tentatively set for May 21. Mary Haggerty was nominated as a Fraternalist entry from No. 38.

Congratulatory letters will be sent to our 50 and 75-year members. They will be invited to the May meeting to receive their pins. At the May meeting, our YELL! group will be serving lunch.

February 2018

Members met on February 18 at Ken Haggerty’s home. We discussed the Sock Drive, collecting over 134 pairs of new or good socks that were taken to St. Vincent de Paul.

Congratulatory letters will be sent to our 50 and 75-year members. They are invited to join us at the May meeting to receive their pins.

We will be hosting the District Meeting on April 29 in Oakland, MN.

Our annual garage sale will be held at Pat and Melissa Haeska’s house on May 2-4.

The lodge will offer five $200 scholarships to its youth. Applications can be obtained from Mary Haggerty or Bonnie Sawyer. The deadline to apply is July 18.

We collected cake mixes, frosting, and candles for our birthday project at the March meeting to donate to the food shelf.

January 2018

On January 20, members convened for a meeting. Socks were collected for St. Vincent de Paul. Additionally, tabs were collected from Paul and Marilyn Oxley. Ken Haggerty donated 1,000 envelopes for cards made by the lodge.

As a New Year’s Resolution of sorts, we decided to give back at every meeting. This month’s activity was to send a card to someone who you think deserves or needs a note.

A thank-you note was read for donation to the MN State Scholarship Fund.

Three members received 75-year pins and three members received 50-year pins.

December 2017

On December 9, Beth and Jerry Pestka catered a Czech Christmas meal. Members appreciate their generosity. Santa made an appearance and a meeting was held.

A donations was made to the YELL! group for a fun activity. Jeanne Rolfson passed the gavel to Bob Baley Jr. as President.

A meeting was held January 20 with a sock drive.

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