Category

Uncategorized

2nd VP Dan: An Update

Photo: Chase, Abigail, Jack

Goodbye 2020! Welcome 2021. Who would have ever thought that our world would change so much this past year, and where will 2021 bring us?

2020 was the year of Zoom! I am not a fan! While I must admit this is a great way to get things done and see everyone, I still prefer in person. It has also enabled us to have more meetings, not only the Board, but also District Presidents, Nests Presidents and other Officers. Our Board of Directors will also be meeting this year in their sub-Committees done with Zoom.

We already know that our second phase of the National Convention is postponed until 2022. National is moving forward and still planning many of our regular 2021 events. Some of them will be in the fall instead of spring or summer. By now, states have started the vaccine shots and many people have received them. Our lives are slowly trying to get back to some kind of normal.

Just on a personal note, I am a grandfather again with the birth of my first granddaughter, Abigail (already a Falcon Member!). She joins the family with her two brothers, Chase and Jack. My son Josh and his wife Erica will be busy with these three! High school basketball season finally started here in Connecticut. After a lot of debate, the season was placed on hold in November and now started in mid-January. This season will be cut almost in half with a limited schedule. My daughter Mallorie has joined the coaching staff this year. For years our staff coached against hers, but she’s now back home in the high school she played for.

While this pandemic is still going on, please everyone and your families stay safe and healthy. Hopefully we all get through this soon.

Czolem!

Dan Michalak
Second National Vice President

Message from John Denning: My Battle with COVID-19

We almost made it a complete year without getting the virus. My wife and I have been working from home since early March 2020, taking all the precautions, washing our hands, social distancing, not seeing family and friends, etc. When we had to leave our home for shopping, we wore masks, face shields and gloves.

On March 1st, I started to notice that something was not quite right. My pulse on my Fitbit was running extremely high, and my heart felt like it wanted to explode out of my chest. Along with that, I also noticed chest pain and tightness and a lot of uncontrolled coughing, neck pain and a headache. I just assumed that I was getting a cold, so I treated it as such for a few more days.

On March 8th, I decided to go and get tested for Covid-19 and my results came back POSITIVE. The doctor at MedExpress said that I needed to go straight to the ER at my local hospital, and she wanted to call 911 to transport me there. I told her that I only lived a few blocks from the hospital and that I would drive over myself and get checked in. I called my wife and broke the bad news to her.

Once I got into the ER, they started running tests and bloodwork, along with a chest X-ray that came back showing a problem with my lungs. The ER doctor said that just to make sure they wanted to run a CAT scan of my lungs. My wife was now on her way home and wanted to get tested also to see if she had the virus, so she went straight to the testing center. Sure enough, POSITIVE test results. Now she wanted to come to the ER where I was but the Covid-19 protocol states no visitors.

My CAT scan results came back positive for blood clots in my lungs, and my oxygen level was very low. My heart rate was also racing because of the breathing problem from the clots, causing my heart to work harder and it put me in A-Fib. At this point I am trying to keep my wife calm; she is going crazy because she can’t visit me, and they decided that they were going to admit me in the ICU Covid-19 wing. After several hours of being in the ER waiting in the hospital to get me transferred to the Covid-19 quarantined isolation room, I then also realized that none of my family was going to be allowed to visit.

The next test my doctor said he wanted to run was an Echocardiogram of my heart to make sure that the clots had not moved into my heart valves. The test came back negative, but they still could not get my heart back in rhythm and this was a big concern.

When you are in the hospital, you have a lot of time to think about a lot of things. As most of you know, I am the Polish Falcons of America National Sales/Marketing Director. I have always made sure that if something bad were to happen to me, that my family would be financially stable. I have a substantial amount of life insurance that would take care of paying off our mortgage and provide a nice monthly income for my wife. As I laid in that hospital bed, I thought to myself, “What if this gets worse and I need to go on a ventilator or even pass away from the complications of Covid-19?” We have all read or heard the nightmares that come along with this horrible Virus. Then my thoughts turned to our son, Caleb, who is planning his wedding for this coming New Year’s Eve. I think, “Please God don’t take my life and have them go through this during what is supposed to be one of the best years of his life.” I cannot even imagine my wife doing this on her own without me by her side. As these thoughts kept racing in my mind, I had one peaceful thought – finances were not going to be their problem if Covid-19 would end my life. I have that covered, thanks to my life insurance.

After four up-and-down days in the hospital, my A-fib reset and my pulse regulated, and I was able to come home. I guess I do not need to mention how happy my wife is about that.

I will end with saying – please do not ever take life or loved ones for granted. Life can literally change in a minute. As I know here from experience as well, make certain your loved ones would be taken care of if you suffer any life changing event.

Esther Kim’s Real Life Story: A Mixed Legacy

“The thing I regret the most about my father passing away as suddenly as he did was because he had no life insurance, because he had no long-term plan, his funeral was just what we could afford based off of donations from the church.” -Esther Kim

“When I think about my father, I want to be able to laugh and smile. I don’t want to have to think of all the negative implications that resulted from his poor financial planning.” -Esther Kim

Click below to watch Esther Kim’s story. Then, be sure your loved ones are protected. Contact John Denning at 800-535-2071 or jdenning@polishfalcons.org to learn more.

VP Trish: Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child!

Years ago, when I first heard about the Elf on the Shelf, I was totally baffled by folks wanting to participate in this nonsense. I mean, it is Christmas time! There’s cleaning, decorating, shopping, and baking responsibilities added to our already overwhelming lives! Who has time or desire for something else to do!!??

Well! A few years ago, Mimi (Ryan & Ryanna’s other grandmother) decided that this is a wonderful thing; Fisbee arrived at their home. When I would go down there, the kids would be so excited to show me what Fisbee had been doing. Ryanna would take my hand and lead me to Fisbee! The excitement and the joy! The kids decided that I needed an Elf and sure enough an Elf arrived at my home.

All of a sudden there was an Elf who needed a name; the name Sparkle was chosen. Sparkle jumps from location to location and periodically brings a gift (like their hats for the Polar Express!), but usually she just hangs out. On December 6, she ran into St. Nicholas! Some days, she leaves us a note. Ryanna finds it interesting that Fisbee writes like Mommy and Sparkle writes like Nonni!! Wonder why?

Sparkle also doesn’t make messes and misbehave. I mean, the Elf flies back to the North Pole every night to report to Santa, so why would she be naughty! Plus, she helps! When I purchase wrapping paper, there is no need to hide it because Sparkle takes it up to Santa! Sparkle is also a baker (she is mine after all!).

Ryanna expected Sparkle to have a new outfit this year and sure enough she did. Notice her pretty plaid skirt, her fuzzy vest and of course, her footwear!

The greatest joy of all is seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child! The Elf is a perfect example!


I am trying to get into full swing with my baking, using some of my typical recipes but I thought I would share this one:

Cranberry Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Beat until creamy:

  • ¾ cup softened butter
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn syrup
  • ¼ cup sugar

Add:

  • 2 ¾ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla

Add:

  • 1 cup cranberries (fresh if possible)
  • ½ cup chocolate chunks (same aisle as chocolate chips)
  • ¾ cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Using a scoop, please cookies on greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 for 9-11 minutes.

Generally, I chill my cookie dough; this is one that doesn’t need it (think it is because of the corn syrup?).


Looking forward to sharing the oplatek with many of you during our Virtual Oplatek.

Please encourage the younger Members who are graduating next year to visit our website regarding information on our Scholarship Programs. Our program is funded by donations from Members, and they want to see their kindness go towards helping a Member on their road to a higher education.

Czolem!

VP Trish: Polar Express! (and Nest info)

Obviously, our ways of celebrating and enjoying have been drastically modified this year. Our ride on the Polar Express was no exception. I remember when I had mentioned to Ryanna that we wouldn’t be able to ride the Polar Express this year (Two years ago, we rode one in Ohio and last year, one in New York.), she asked if we could do this at home. This got my wheels spinning, and the only thing I think that could have made this better would have been if I had played the audio version of the Polar Express Story in the car (which we have and have listened to previously), but I hadn’t thought to do that!

Last Friday, Conductor Nonni put on her conductor hat and climbed aboard her beautifully decorated train (Gaga wrapped battery-operated Christmas lights around the luggage racks, the hood and the wreath that he had secured to the grill along with a Rudolph nose. He also affixed reindeer antlers and Polar Express flags to the racks, placed a Polar Express sticker on the front window and attached a Polar Express license plate to the front of the car). The first stop was to pick up Ryan, Ryanna and Mama. The kids donned the hats that elf, Sparkle (another story) brought, then came out of their house to the sound of a locomotive (YouTube!). Once they showed their tickets, they jumped in. While riding around the neighborhood enjoying the decorations provided by the community, they sipped hot chocolate and ate cookies. When we chugged through Mon City, Santa was in his little house so we stopped to visit with him. Of course, we had to social distance.

Once aboard again, we continued on our journey. When we arrived back at the station, (the outside of the station was decorated with lots of lights including their climbing dome) there was a visitor with Gaga. It seemed that Santa made an early stop to Ginger Hill! The family room had been decorated including a tree and lots of other decorations.

Santa gave each of the kids a bell ornament (if you know the story, this is very important!). Probably the best surprise for the kids was the “sleigh” that Santa used that night. We took a walk to my garage and were surprised to find that Santa had driven to our house in a red corvette! Santa allowed the kids to sit in the car, start it, and bring up the headlights!

Ryan & Ryanna understand that the real Santa never leaves the North Pole as he is too busy. His helper, Bernie (a friend of John’s), was able to get out of his extremely warm suit and spend some time with us. Each of the kids gave Santa some candy as a thank you! Santa will receive cookies in a couple weeks!

The amusement, the joy and the fun made this night another wonderful experience that I am blessed to share with my grandchildren. I would love to hear how you are celebrating all the while keeping you and yours safe.


Nest Information

Each Nest Financial Secretary received their end-of-year packet of paperwork around Halloween. Most of the forms are not due until February 28. BUT, if your Nest has the National Office collect your Nest dues, we need the roster and forms returned to us (deadline was last week). Please submit this or there will be no changes made to your Nest dues bills.

Each Nest President received a letter via email regarding the election of Nest Officers. The point of the letter is about the Nest elections. “Since these are unusual circumstances, especially concerning gatherings, the Board of Directors approved the recommendation of the Legal Committee that a Nest can extend the term of its current Officers for an additional year. This would eliminate the need to hold a meeting to conduct an election this year. Please note that a Nest can still conduct a meeting, virtually or in-person, if it chooses to do so.”


Keep safe! Enjoy the preparations for Christmas, try not to get bogged down by the work and simply enjoy the season.

VP Trish: Sweet Potato Crunch

This recipe is one that my grandmother always made; I thought she created it. I have shared this with many, giving my grandmother, Jule credit for it. Finally one day, I asked her how she came up with it, to which she replied, “I didn’t, I found it in a cookbook!” I was so amused, all this time bragging about her culinary expertise! But seriously, it is really good for those of us who enjoy sweet potatoes!

Cook 2 pounds of sweet potatoes (I used canned, as did Jule).

After cooking, drain, mix and mash. Then add the following:

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg

Pout this mixture into a 1 ½ quart casserole dish.

Mix:

  • 1 cup graham crackers (broken into small pieces)
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup brown sugar

Sprinkle on sweet potato mixture.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes!

It is fabulous!

VP Trish: Thanksgiving Pumpkin Roll

Had too much fun with Halloween! After a few modifications, our house is decorated for Thanksgiving! As much as I love to decorate for Christmas, I enjoy Thanksgiving. My blessings are plentiful!

November celebrates several birthdays in my family! My baby brother and I are the 14th (Brad was born on my 5th birthday, best gift ever!), John is the 25th (my wild man is turning 60!) and my youngest son, Gregory, was born on November 30th.

As you know, I love to bake and now is the time to really get into full gear! I make pumpkin roll for Thanksgiving then the cookies start. This is not my recipe, but I shall share it:

For each 29 ounce can of pure pumpkin, you will have enough to make five rolls.

Cake:

Beat:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin

Add:

  • ¾ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Grease a 15 X 10 jelly-roll pan, then add a sheet of waxed paper and grease that also. Pour batter evenly into pan.

Bake at 375 for 13-15 minutes.

Immediately flip cake onto sugar sprinkled tea towel. Peel off the paper, sprinkle more sugar, roll the cake in the towel, and allow to cool.

Filling:

Beat until well-blended:

  • 1 8 oz. package Philadelphia Cream Cheese (softened)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter (softened)
  • 1 tablespoon (not an error) vanilla extract (I only use pure vanilla)

Unroll cake and towel, spread cream cheese mixture on cake. Roll, wrap in plastic wrap. (I also wrap in foil because I like to freeze mine). Or refrigerate for at least one hour.

These make wonderful gifts for those you are thankful for and give a delicious preview of what’s to come!


The end of year mailing went out last week to each Nest Financial Secretary. It contains all the reports that the National Office requires. There is a memo with the deadline dates for each form.

If your Nest has a trust fund, there is a new form for updated signatures.

There are also two sheets of forms for the Nest referral program.

If you have any questions at all regarding the forms required, please contact me.


Hope you all voted! Keep safe and healthy! Wash those hands!

VP Trish: Virtual Golf

The golfers who participated in the virtual golf had a zoom meeting last Friday to gather and see who the winners were. There was a nice group and it was wonderful to see faces!

Courtney did a fabulous job with this event, she handled it all – from registration, to scoring and everything in between and afterward! Thank you Courtney!

First, Courtney showed all the photos submitted. (Click here to view all photos.)

We had decided that Nest 8 (the Paterni family) had the best photo with the way the sun was shining!

Nest 45 won for best dressed as they held a sign with their Nest name and a few were wearing St. Louis shirts.

The top five scores in each division were in a drawing. Courtney then drew the names! (Click here for full results.)

Pat Heineman told us that Nest 45 is prepared and looking forward to seeing all of us there in April for the National Bowling Tournament.

Jim McCall said that Nest 610 is ready for us for the National Golf Tournament next year!

Hopefully, we will be able to gather together (and not just virtually) next year!

Courtney had asked me to give a toast:

Good evening!

As we gather (even though virtually), just like any other Falcon event, we have Members from all over – Michigan, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, Florida and PA from Erie, to Donora, to Easton and parts in between.

We gather to participate, enjoy the great game of golf and share.

While we would rather be in person, we are still able to see each other, enjoy camaraderie, laugh and create more memories.

Here’s to:

  • Health to the World
  • Honor to those who seek it
  • Happiness in our homes

While the pain of parting is nothing compared to the joy of meeting again!

To goodbyes that they never be spoken, to friendships, may they never be broken!

Obviously, I really miss our events as I got emotional while saying my little toast! Hoping all are keeping safe and staying healthy!

Czolem!


Falcon Lingo

Druh— The term by which Falcons have traditionally addressed one another. Literally it means “friend” or “comrade.” A contemporary definition would be “brother.” The feminine equivalent is “Druhna.”

Czolem— The official Falcons’ salutation, literally translated as “To the forehead” or “Hail!” “Czolem” is one of the oldest forms of Polish salutes and is used as a greeting, a farewell and as an expression of best wishes.

Gniazdo— Literally, a “Nest” and traditionally the name given to the local or neighborhood unit or the National Falcons’ organization. The equivalent name for the “lodge” in the Polish National Alliance is “towarzystwo” or “grupa.”

Sokolnia— The name given for the building owned by the Falcons’ Nest. Historically, the sokolnia housed a gymnastics hall where Falcons conducted their physical education classes and competitions; however, it is not essential that a Falcons’ hall include such facilities. While many have owned their own “sokolnia,” others have simply rented facilities where they conduct meetings and physical education programs.


Wash those hands!