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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!

VP Trish: Halloween!

I am losing my mind finishing up my four-year report; I thought it was finished last week but I was mistaken.

Our house is decorated for Halloween with help from Ryanna and John. I enjoy decorating for Halloween; I think a lot of it is due to the fact that I haven’t decorated for months. I mean I work in the yard, flowers and so on, but as far as a Holiday, it has been months.

My theme is usually the cute one with jack-o-lanterns, mums and such. But this year, we added Lucille and some poor guy trying to get out of my basement!

Not sure about trick or treating, but businesses are stepping up to the plate. There is a local restaurant who gave out treat bags for Easter, so I am sure they will do the same for Halloween. Lowe’s is having a drive through curbside (one must register ahead of time), and the Pittsburgh Zoo is having a drive through event (must purchase tickets online early).

Regardless of how we celebrate, Halloween will be another fun day! I think I am going to introduce the kids to bobbing for apples!

YOUR Information

THINK! Seriously, think about this, does the Polish Falcons of America have:

  • Your current address
  • Your current phone number
  • How about an email address?
  • Here’s a good one – your current name!

Who is your beneficiary? I can’t tell you how many times a Member still has their parents as their beneficiary. And, I am talking about Members who are at least my age!

Do you have enough life insurance? Please don’t tell me you have more than enough because you have it through work.

If you need to update any of this or better yet, review your information, please contact us. Call 800-535-2071 or email one of us (vptrish@polishfalcons.org).

Keep safe! Wash those hands, taking as much time as it does to sing Sto Lat twice!!!

VP Trish: 2020 Convention

As I sit here finishing up my four-year report, I think of our upcoming Virtual Convention. The reality of this is, is that we don’t have a choice. The PA Insurance Department insisted that we have a Convention and take care of the business that must be handled this year.

There are a couple advantages to a Virtual Convention. Well, maybe one – no travel!

The camaraderie will have to wait until next year. The social gatherings, the Falconette Luncheon, the Legion of Honor Conclave and meeting, hospitality rooms, interactions, auctions, sight-seeing and fun! There is no doubt that Members of Nest 88, New Britain, Conn. will be fabulous hosts.

One of the things that I am disappointed in is that I do not get to present my PowerPoint and explain what I have been doing the last four years as your National First Vice President. I like to put up photos, explain who, what and where and I also like to acknowledge Members. Included in this blog are a few photos of events from the past couple of years; obviously, I am not able to explain everything.

I am hoping that all of our Delegates take the time to read our reports ahead of time. Each Delegate will receive a binder prior to the Convention which will contain reports and other information needed for the Convention.

Hopefully, all of the Nests have elected their Delegates. The deadline for National Headquarters to receive the mandate forms is October 20. Please visit polishfalcons.org/national-convention. The form is fillable, fill it out, save it, then attach it as an email and send to convention2020@polishfalcons.org. Again, deadline is October 20. Once we receive your forms, we need to verify membership and dues.

Looking forward to our Convention on Saturday, November 21.

Fraternal Information

In order for an organization to be considered a fraternal, the organization must have a lodge system. This is why the Polish Falcons of America has Nests and why each Member must belong to a Nest. The Polish Falcons of America is a 501 (C) 8 non-profit.

Fraternals were formed with a common cause in mind; the PFA is obviously ethnic-based. We do now permit those who are not Polish but have a genuine interest in the Polish culture and traditions.

Keep safe! Wash those hands!

Czolem!

VP Trish: Another Birthday Celebration!

Baby Ryan!

My Ryan had a birthday this week; our boy is 9! His celebration usually involves a trip to the movies, shopping, lunch out, browsing at Barnes & Noble and a day trip to Geneva.

We did have a very successful shopping trip to Ross. Ryan is his Nonni’s boy; he loves shoes! Later that day, we went to lunch. There weren’t many of us in the restaurant, which was fine with me!

The celebration took place at our house. Ryan’s theme was a combination – his love for cars (Maserati, Bugatti, Lamborghini) so it was Hot Wheels, but he also wanted a VIP reception.

Ryanna helped me convert my family room to a VIP Lounge with candles, balloons, Christmas lights, a mirror ball and special lighting. Ryanna had her invitation-only guest list as she greeted visitors at the door. Upon verifying their identification, she opened the barrier (decorated with the black and white checkered flag print) to allow access.

We had soft pretzels, cupcakes and apple cider. While inside we played Simon Says, pin the tail on the donkey and drop a clothespin into the milk bottle (no one else in my family knew what I was talking about (including John!)).

Daddy (Jim) and Gaga (John) joined us for dinner which was pizza followed by more fun. We played wiffle ball, Simon says (again!), water balloon toss (as I was telling all that John and I are much more experienced in these silly games, I broke a balloon while trying to catch it. I was drenched from my neck to knees! All were quite amused!). Of course, the egg toss and this time, Ryanna threw a low toss so when Gaga went to catch it, the egg broke filling his sock with egg!

Ryanna helped me decorate Ryan’s cake to look like a drag strip! The favors were hot wheels pencils, glow sticks, and erasers. Ryanna loves to help – passing out the favors, serving everyone their pizza and also their cake.

It was another fun filled day/evening simply enjoying ourselves. It is cool also that my grandkids are having so much fun doing what I used to do. When I was a kid, my brothers and I played wiffle ball in the middle of the street with our neighbors, the Pawlowski’s (they are why I am a Falcon) every spring/summer evening when the weather cooperated. Every birthday party, we played pin the tail on the donkey and clothespin drop; this was prior to crafts and renting out a place for a birthday party.

Again, making the best out of the current situation and having so much fun! Happy 9th Birthday to my very special baby boy!

Now my wheels are spinning regarding the Polar Express in my family room!!!


An Important Note Regarding Insurance

Often times, when approached about purchasing insurance, the response is that I have insurance at work! I don’t need any! Do you realize that more often than not (almost always), once you leave that job (whether you make a career move, retire, the company downsizes, whatever!), you will no longer have that life insurance.

Compare the rates of a 30-year-old versus a 60-year-old. By that time, there may be health issues as well.

I am asking all of you to ask this question of your employer. When I leave here, does my life insurance come with me? Once you have that answer, you may want to give John Denning a call!


I have reached out to all the Nest Presidents (wellness check) and have been in touch with most. Fortunately, most are doing well and being very resourceful regarding the future of their Nests (especially those with buildings). There are ten Nests left; please contact me for a brief chat!

It is a bit chilly this morning, but so pleasant!

Hope you and your families are doing well! Please keep in touch!

Czolem!

VP Trish: Flowers, Fraternals & Snickerdoodle Bread

It’s getting dark way too early for me!

It is that time of year when our days are getting shorter. But as much as I love the summer, I truly enjoy all four seasons. My flowers are very happy with the slightly cooler temperatures (although, it is going to be in the 90’s today and tomorrow!). Pretty soon, I will be decorating for Fall and Halloween but just not yet!


It doesn’t take much to motivate me to bake, but here is another recipe I recently found. If you are a fan of snickerdoodle cookies, you will love this!

Snickerdoodle Bread

Beat:

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 2 cups sugar

Add:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup sour cream

Mix together, then stir into the wet ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom (this is an extra spice I add when using cinnamon)

Stir in:

  • one package cinnamon chips

Grease loaf pans, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar (you may also make muffins which I tend to do!)

Bake: 350 for 35-38 minutes


What are Fraternals?

The Polish Falcons of America is a Fraternal (501(c)(8)).

Fraternals are nonprofit organizations that offer fraternal benefits and highly regulated financial products to Members. We are benevolent organizations that, because part of our operations exist in the business world, must meet contemporary business operation standards as well. Our services, products and personnel must be high quality according to accepted business standards, so that our organizations may serve as good stewards of our Members’ funds.

Lodge System – Polish Falcons calls ours, Nests.

Fraternals must have a type of lodge system that holds regular meetings and through which most of the local work of a fraternal benefit society is accomplished. The lodge system serves as the foundation for a representative form of government, also required under law. In addition to sound insurance management, we must be able to demonstrate ongoing fraternal and benevolent activities. Our Nests and Districts do a wonderful job helping within our communities.


National Convention 2020

If your District hasn’t had their Plenary Meeting regarding your National Director, please do so soon. This meeting must be held by September 21, 2020. The National Convention will be held on November 21; obviously virtually.

Each Nest is entitled to one Delegate for every fifty Members or a fraction thereof and two alternate Delegates duly elected by a majority vote on a secret ballot at a special meeting of the Nest at least 60 days prior to the Convention. This must be held by September 21 also. These Delegates are in addition to the Nest Executive Officers.

A Delegate to the Convention:

  • shall be a benefit Member in good standing
  • a citizen of the United States
  • at least 18 years of age
  • shall have been a Member of the Falcons for at least one year
  • shall have been a Member of the Nest he is representing for at least one year
  • shall not be an officer, delegate, representative, agent or employee of any other fraternal doing a life insurance business
  • may be a benefit Member of the Legion of Honor

Keep safe and healthy!

Czolem!

VP Trish: “Train up a child in the way he should go…”

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (I just love this probably due in part to the fact that my dad worked on the railroad!)

Today is September 1st. The beginning of the month and the beginning of the school year. This is quite an interesting beginning. Ryan and Ryanna are attending class in person. Hopefully, the benefits will outweigh the risks. My prayer is that whichever decision was made regarding the education of our children, they have a wonderful, exciting learning experience!

I have noticed quite a few folks have begun decorating for the fall. I am not quite ready to do that, but it won’t be long. There is a huge pumpkin growing in our garden. Pretty cool as we didn’t plant it and it is the only one on the vine so it is a good size. It is already orange! I thought we should pick it but upon some research, I see that it should stay on the vine as long as possible! Another interesting tidbit is that pumpkins need about an inch of water a week. The article also told me to not get water on the leaves when watering! Well, what about rain??!! So, anyhow when you cut the pumpkin, try to leave at least 6 inches of stem. I like the stems longer! And do not carry the pumpkin by the stem!

 

Whole Life Insurance

Ordinary Whole Life Insurance is the most common type of permanent insurance; it provides you with the certainty of a guaranteed amount of death benefit. Whole Life Insurance plans also give you the freedom to pay-up your premiums at a future date in time.

Examples:

  • 20-Pay: Premiums are paid for 20 years. After 20 years, the policy is paid-up and remains in force for the life of the certificate holder.
  • 10-Pay: Premiums are paid for 10 years. After 10 years, the policy is paid-up and remains in force for the life of the certificate holder.
  • 5-Pay: Premiums are paid for 5 years. After 5 years, the policy is paid-up and remains in force for the life of the certificate holder.
  • Single Premium: A unique type of Whole Life Insurance, the insured pays one premium amount.
  • This is an excellent planning tool that can transfer wealth to your family tax free.
  • This policy stays in force until your death.
  • Permanent protection that matures when you reach age 121!
  • Over time, the policy accrues cash value.
  • You may borrow up to 90% of the cash value from your policy.
  • Your beneficiary will receive the benefit upon your death even if the policy is not paid up!

If you have any questions or would like any information regarding our life insurance products, please contact our Marketing Director, John Denning at 800-535-2071 or jdenning@polishfalcons.org.

VP Trish: Birthday Celebrations!

Ordinarily, Ryanna and I (we) celebrate her birthday for a week. We go shopping a few times, a couple lunches, a trip to Washington County Fair, a movie and then the best, High Tea at the Westin William Penn Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh (site of the 2012 PFA National Convention).

Obviously, movie theaters are closed and the fair was cancelled. We did meet her Gaga for lunch one afternoon after a brief shopping trip to a small mall (am surprised this place is still open, it’s rarely busy there even prior to the COVID!).

We decided to hold things here at our house. The theme was Nightmare Before Christmas! The kids and Jaylyn came over at noon to have our tea. Ryanna was thrilled because I did find a loose tea strainer but the best were the sugar cubes! We had tea (several choices), ate silly little sandwiches and a few crumpets for dessert (cookies, carrot cake and biscuits). We had tea cups, tea pots, cloth napkins, flowers (from her Gaga) and fun.

Later in the day, her Gaga (John) and Dad joined us for dinner. Gaga cooked Ryanna’s favorite chicken along with mashed potatoes and corn. Ryanna requested an ice cream cake (I also had to bake a cake for Ryan.). Ryanna gave everyone a small jade plant as a favor and had a list of activities for us.

The front yard and porches were decorated. The canopy was set up; balloons were everywhere along with other decorations, and lights were hung on the side porch and the lamppost.

First, we played musical chairs (Ryanna won!). Then we did the egg toss (John and I won), then the balloon toss (which John and I lost on the first toss), kids won, then cornhole (one of Ryanna’s requests for a gift). Dad (Jim) and the kids played wiffle ball and hung on the dome. The day and evening were perfect. (Reminds me of a Falcon Nest picnic!)

Funny how we thought we were making the best of a bad situation and ended up deciding that this was the best birthday celebration yet! Happy 8th Birthday to my very special baby girl!

Would love to hear how you are modifying plans these days!

Term Life Insurance

  • Term Life Insurance is in force for a limited period of time (i.e. 10 years, 20 years, or 30 years, and JD defines it as renting the insurance.).
  • It can be renewable (at the end of the Term period of time, you may purchase it again at your current age).
  • It can be convertible, which means that you can convert it into a Whole Life policy (permanent plan).

Keep safe! Czolem!

VP Trish: Kindness, Appreciation & Generosity

Nest 97 Member, Genevieve Borovicka, just celebrated her 99th birthday! Happy Birthday and Sto Lat! One of the surprises for Gramma was a phone call from polka great, Jimmy Sturr.

The gentleman pictured here with Druhna is her grandson, Ken Meier. Ken received a Dr. T.A. Starzynski grant back in 1994 ($750). Ken was the first Nest 97 Member to receive a grant and his sister, Kristine, was the third Nest 97 Member receiving a grant in 1999 ($800). Ken now serves as Nest 97 Treasurer, a position his grandfather once held.

Gramma was so excited and grateful that she decided to do her part and donate on a regular basis to the Dr. T.A. Starzynski Scholarship Program, contributing to the program’s sustainability. Each month, Druhna sends in a $10 check (along with silly jokes she cuts from magazines) and has done so over 300 times! We look forward to her correspondence each month!

The Polish Falcons, our recipients and I are very appreciative of Druhna Genevieve’s kindness. Perhaps there are a few more Genevieves out there?

When I attend National events, especially youth ones, it is always so nice to recognize previous scholarship recipients in attendance. It warms my heart when recipients are still active within the Polish Falcons.

Reasons to insure your children:

  • Scholarships are one of the many benefits of Membership
  • Juvenile insurance guarantees insurability later in life (if Lord forbid, something happens and your child becomes uninsurable)
  • The younger a person is when they obtain life insurance, the lower the cost

Keep safe! Czolem!

Druhna Chris: Memories

Druhna Lottie Fik was an amazing person. She was a great leader in the Polish Falcons of America. I am glad I was able to participate in the events that she planned and organized. As a youth in her gym class, I remember many events where Druhna had us out on a field in the beating sun getting ready for a mass exhibition for a Zlot. I remember holding my arms out at shoulder length for a long time – so that we would remember that when you did the National Drill, you had your arms at shoulder height and straight. We marched until we were about to drop over, but when we marched out on that field for the exhibition, we were a sight to see! Druhna was tough, but the events she planned were an important part of my youth, and I thank her for every single minute she put into making them a success.

I remember when Druhna would come to Pittsburgh for a District IV gym class to get everyone ready for the National Zlot. I was not a particularly good gymnast. I was not the first one picked to do special things on the mats or to be the center of the pyramid. In fact, I usually held someone else up doing something complicated and cool. But nevertheless, I would attend the practices when Druhna Fik would come. I never thought that she knew who I was or that I was a part of the gym class in Pittsburgh. It was just exciting being a part of the group.

Then a few years back, I was attending a National Bowling Tournament and I ran into Druhna Fik while I was there. I will never forget this moment because she made me feel so special. We both said hello and were riding the bus to the club, so we sat together. The thing that stuck with me the most was that she knew who I was and where I was from. She said, “So here is my Pittsburgh protégé taking over the National Instructress position. I am so proud of you.” I was so surprised to know that she knew who I was and that I was from Pittsburgh that I just beamed with pride and of course a few tears in my eyes. We rode the bus to the club, and she told me she was proud of me taking over and that she enjoyed seeing all the photos from the events I had already run.

It was not until I started working as the National Instructress that I realized how impressive Druhna Fik was. I know how hard and time consuming it is to get just a fraction of the people of the PFA organized and attending a Volleyball Tournament or a National Zlot or Camp for a week. She had many more participants whom she had to organize. She was always full of energy and happy to be at a Falcons event. I am so glad that I got to ride the bus with her at the Bowling Tournament and to know that she was proud of me! I am immensely proud to have had her as a mentor during my youth in the PFA gym classes.

VP Trish: Making a Difference

Just about from the beginning of life, people (in addition to family members) make an impact on you. Quite often, these people are teachers but more for me were Falcon Leaders. Druhna Lottie Fik was someone who made a tremendous impact on me while growing up. (Many of you will agree!)

Back when I was young, we were afraid of authority figures. Druhna was not to be messed with but in time, one learned to respect her, not fear her.

Druhna Fik was truly an amazing woman way ahead of her time. In my opinion, she was very blessed to be married to Stanley (as he was to be married to her!). Think about this, in 1962 after 22 years of marriage and three children, Lottie became only the second woman to be a Chief Instructress of the Polish Falcons. This required quite a bit of travel!

Druhna held this position from 1962 until 1981. During this time, Druhna worked with three men – Edward Biestek (1960-1963), Gustav Pieprzyny(1963-1970) and Edmund Pett (1971-1981).

Back in those days, Druhna would write a new drill for each girls’ division every four years. Each National Zlot would have a new routine. These routines were beautiful and done to Polish music. My favorite is still the ball drill that we performed in 1972 at Notre Dame. I can remember Druhna giving the commands and counting in Polish. Marching was a big deal and I loved the way we marched!

Gymnastics was a major part of our program and Druhna wrote optional routines for each piece of equipment – high low bars, balance beam, vault and free-ex. Talk about creativity and talent.

Our National Drill has changed throughout the years. When Poland was still under Communist rule, the drill had only three rotations symbolically not facing the west. When we added the fourth turn, we needed to find an ending for the drill. At an Instructors’ meeting hosted by Druhna Marian Weslowski, we worked on the drill. Druhna Fik was there and suggested the ending that we still use.

It was always wonderful to spend time with Lottie, she always had a smile and was very supportive. Druhna even bowled in the National Bowling Tournaments. When Druhna Marian started National Camp in Angola, N.Y., Druhna Lottie was there helping with singing and dancing. Talk about dedicated! Druhna was 80 years old, sleeping on a cot in a cabin with several other women!

Even after Druhna retired, her involvement continued. She attended National Zlots helping with the youth Members from her Nest and District, as well as Instructors Clinics hosted by Druhna Marian. I have fond memories of Druhna calling me to discuss music and other things pertaining to the youth programs.

Even though most of us hadn’t seen Druhna in a while, so many of us still thought of her and asked about her often. Druhna Joan Beilfuss of Nest 907 (who spent many summers with Lottie) used to keep me posted. Obviously, her daughter Felicia and other family members would share Lottie stories.

Druhna Lottie’s legacy will live on. She was an amazing, strong wonderful woman who touched the lives of so many!

May Druhna Lottie rest in peace! Czolem!