Tag

covid19

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.

A Note Regarding Awards Presentations

Czolem Druhny i Druhowie!

I received an inquiry regarding Legion of Honor awards for 2020. Due to the fact that everything has been postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Nests will not be having award banquets or presentations this year. One of the questions was; can a Nest apply for awards but not present until next year at their 2021 awards presentations? In essence they would be presenting two years of awards at one time.

After my discussion with First Vice President Patricia Del Busse, we agreed on the following resolution regarding the Legion of Honor awards for 2020.

  1. Nests should submit award applications for qualified individuals this year.
  2. Awards can be presented at any time a Nest chooses to do so once the applications are reviewed and approved. There is no need to wait for a banquet or other event, it can be done during meetings or other Nest events.
  3. If an award cannot be presented this year because it is only done during a Nest banquet, then it can be presented at next year’s banquet. It should be done in this order; the 2020 awards first and then the 2021 awards.
  4. Banquets should NOT be the deciding event on when awards can be presented.
  5. Anyone that deserves an LOH award this year should be awarded regardless of when they will receive it.
  6. National Headquarters will dispense all approved awards to the Nests via U.S. Postal Service.

Please let us know if this clarifies the issue or if anyone has other questions. You can contact me by email at cieslaed@rcn.com, or Druhna Del Busse at vptrish@polishfalcons.org.

Thank you!

Edward Ciesla
Legion of Honor Grand Master

#GivingTuesdayNow: Support your Nest!

05/12/2020 Update: Contributions now being accepted through May 31, 2020.

Support your Nest!

#GivingTuesdayNow (May 5) is a global day of generosity and unity, a day to come together and give back in response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19, no matter who or where we are.

If able in this difficult time, PFA National Headquarters is asking Polish Falcons Members to make a contribution to support their Nests.

Our Nests have been closed for five weeks or longer. There is little or no income and bills still need to be paid. How much would you have spent at your Nest over the course of five weeks? Are you able to donate that amount or a portion of it?

Today through May 12, let us come together as Falcons for our Nests. This is your chance to show support for your Nest and make a donation to help the Nest get through these challenging times. No amount is too small. Thank you for giving.

Click here to make your contribution.

Coronavirus COVID-19 Relief Program

04/08/2020 Update: Applications Now Available Here.

Several years ago the Polish Falcons of America created a Disaster Relief Program to assist Members who were affected by a natural disaster. Since that time, PFA has provided thousands of dollars in assistance to our Members. In light of the current situation as a result of the world-wide pandemic, the PFA National Board of Directors voted to approve a new program to provide assistance to those Members affected by the virus.

Applications for the program will be available on the PFA website starting on Wednesday, April 8, 2020. The program will be open until December 31, 2020, or until the funds available are exhausted. Because of the limited funds available, applications will be handled on a first come, first served basis. The amount of each grant is $250.

Below are the requirements for the program.

Eligibility Requirements

  1. An individual Member who has been infected with the coronavirus.
  2. An individual Member with an immediate family member who has been infected with the coronavirus. Immediate family member is defined as a spouse, children, parents or in-laws, or someone who is dependent on the care of the Member.
  3. An individual Member who has experienced a significant financial setback as a result of the coronavirus. These applications will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  4. The applicant must be a Member of PFA in Good Standing (which means all National Dues must be current at the time of application).
  5. Grants are available to one per household.

If you have any questions about the program, please contact Physical Education Director Chris Puskar at cpuskar@polishfalcons.org or by calling National Headquarters toll-free at 800-535-2071.

If you would like to make a donation to help support this program and increase the number of grants available to Members in need, please send check payable to Polish Falcons of America, Attn: Chris Puskar, 1016 Greentree Rd., Suite 201, Pittsburgh, PA 15220.

Class of 2020: We want to celebrate you!

Polish Falcons of America wishes to celebrate the Class of 2020, since sadly, most will not have a graduation ceremony next month due to COVID-19. If you are a PFA Member graduating from High School or College this year, we would like recognize your accomplishment in the summer issue of the Sokol Polski. To be included, please send an email to cpuskar@polishfalcons.org with your full name, Nest number, school and degree (i.e. high school diploma, certificate, bachelor’s, etc.) by Friday, May 1, 2020.

VP Trish: Some Random Thoughts

Random thoughts (some of mine, some of others)…

  • Do we need a laundry basket for just clean clothes? I mean we carry dirty clothes down in the basket; is it a good idea to use the same basket for the clean ones?
  • Masks protect others from us. Isn’t it simply considerate to wear a mask on those rare occasions when one must go out?
  • If you wear glasses, wash them with shaving cream! Not only will they be the cleanest ever, but they won’t fog when you sport your mask!
  • Should one take his/her car out every now and then or simply start it periodically?
  • Those of us who are still fortunate enough to work now, shouldn’t we be helping others? Possibly make donations to a food bank?
  • Our churches still need our weekly offerings.
  • Retail workers are working hard; please ask how they are and say thank you. And of course, be nice! (This should be the norm!)
  • Get fresh air even if all you do is walk around your yard.
  • Have a routine – pretend you are heading to the office even if it is in your home office or your kitchen. (Put clothes on, not fresh pajamas!)
  • Embrace this opportunity.
  • Think of three positive things as a result of this current situation.
  • Imagine how much more challenging this might have been years ago, prior to all of this technology.
  • When using reusable gloves (generally at home, latex), be sure to wash your hands while still wearing your gloves.
  • Supporting a local, small business makes sense. I am thankful for them.
  • Possibly pay your cleaning person, nail tech or hairdresser. Maybe not the entire amount, but they aren’t working now (if you still are).
  • Key an eye on neighbors to be sure someone is checking in on them.
  • Send a letter or a card. Not all have internet or are on Facebook, and even if they are, old-fashioned mail is always a treat!
  • Sing (you know) like no one is listening. Dance like no one is watching.
  • Read a book, magazine, something. Do more than watch TV and surf the net.
  • Try out a new recipe.
  • Breathe, embrace, appreciate.
  • Wash your hands and stay home. We will all get through this!

While this is not something any of us are doing by choice, I am finding many things that I am enjoying as a result of this stay-at-home order. I do enjoy working from home, but I truly miss the interaction with the Membership. I have emailed and spoken with a few but not like being in the office.

Of course, I miss my colleagues.

Hang in there; life is still good! Czolem!

An Important Update from Polish Falcons of America

The health and safety of all our Members is of the utmost importance to the Board of Directors, Executive Management and staff of Polish Falcons of America. We hope that each and every one of you is coping as best as possible in these unprecedented times. If you, a family member or friend has been directly affected by COVID-19 please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. Following is an update from National Headquarters about the status of the organization and the things we are doing to deal with the crisis.

Relief Program

Earlier this week we announced a relief program for our Members. Complete details can be found here, or by contacting National Physical Education Director Chris Puskar at cpuskar@polishfalcons.org. You can also call National Headquarters toll-free at 800-535-2071.

This program, and our Disaster Relief Program, are funded primarily through the generous contributions of our Members. If you want to make a donation to help your fellow Members, please send directly to National Headquarters at Polish Falcons of America, Attn. Chris Puskar, 1016 Greentree Rd., Suite 201, Pittsburgh, PA 15220.

National Convention

At a recent meeting, the National Board of Directors voted unanimously to postpone the National Convention scheduled for this July in New Britain, Conn. This decision was not taken lightly as the Convention is the Supreme Governing Body of our organization.

Another important factor here is the fact that Nests and Districts must meet prior to the Convention to elect delegates and nominate National Directors. The Board did not believe there was a safe or effective way to do this in time for the Convention. In order for everyone to plan for the Convention, the decision was made to postpone the Convention.

The obvious question is: What are we going to do about the Convention? We do not have an answer yet. Be assured that the Executive Committee and Board are exploring all the options for the Convention. I expect that an announcement for the Convention will be made by the end of April or early May at the latest. We are mindful that Nests and Districts will need time to plan their important meetings.

Future Leaders Conference

Since the Conference was going to be held in conjunction with the Convention this year, this event is also being postponed. National Physical Education Director Chris Puskar is also working on alternatives for the Conference. An announcement concerning the Conference will be made by the end of April.

National Golf Tournament

As of today, the National Golf Tournament is still scheduled for this August with Nest 610, Erie, Pa., as host. We are monitoring this situation closely and are prepared to make any changes if necessary. Please watch for any announcements via email or posted here.

National Headquarters Operations

It is important that all Members know that Polish Falcons of America is still open for business. While most of the staff is working remotely, we are still processing all our business as usual. We are accepting new applications, accepting premium and dues payments, and paying all claims. You can contact the office by email at info@polishfalcons.org or by calling toll-free at 800-535-2071.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns at tkuzma@polishfalcons.org. Please stay healthy and safe.

Czolem,

Timothy L. Kuzma
National President

An Update Regarding Coronavirus COVID-19

The Executive Officers, National Directors and staff at Polish Falcons of America National Headquarters are carefully monitoring the evolution of the coronavirus (COVID-19). We are all committed to providing you the highest quality service, while ensuring the health and safety of our employees.

Due to recent actions from the Governor of Pennsylvania, we have taken steps for most of the staff to work remotely. There will be a limited staff in the office to perform the essential services for our Members, while other staff will be working from home. Our goal is to deal with your matters diligently, efficiently and without interruption.

If you call the office, our automated system will answer the call. Please follow the prompts to leave a message and someone will get back to you as soon as possible. Our email and website are fully functioning. All of us are ready to respond to any inquiries received via email or through the website.

We are here for you and well-positioned to help you with your needs, whether it is a new application, change of address or a claim. We believe strongly in providing open communication for the Members and will continue to do so throughout this crisis.

We appreciate your understanding and we thank you for your trust. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require further information.

Czolem and stay safe!

Timothy L. Kuzma
National President

Statement Regarding Coronavirus COVID-19

Statement from Polish Falcons of America National Headquarters Regarding Coronavirus COVID-19

The Polish Falcons of America is carefully monitoring the coronavirus situation and its impact on the entire organization. As a fraternal organization, we recognize that the social interaction of our Members is a critical aspect of the Polish Falcons. Whether it’s a regular Nest meeting, an awards dinner, or just stopping at the Nest for a drink with friends, we all have to be aware we should take measures to reduce personal contact as much as possible.

To that end, we have already decided to cancel the National Volleyball Tournament that was scheduled for the end of March. In addition, the National Bowling Tournament, scheduled for late April, is also cancelled. While the Bowling Tournament is still more than one month away, we based our decision on the latest guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control which is advising that all gatherings of 50 or more in the next eight weeks be cancelled.

We are considering rescheduling both of these events for later this year. National Physical Education Director Christine Puskar and Bowling Manager Janet Knauber have already started looking at options. All entry fees for the Bowling Tournament are 100% refundable. Information regarding refunds will be announced later this week.

As of today, this does not affect any other of our National events scheduled in 2020, especially the National Convention. However, we are closely watching new developments and if anything changes we will certainly let all Members know.

At National Headquarters, as of today there will not be an interruption of our business operations. Almost half the staff will be working remotely until further notice. The Office will remain open for regular business hours. You will still be able to contact the staff and Executive Officers by email and phone. We will be as responsive to our Members’ needs as always.

Nest and District Activities

National Headquarters recommends the following actions be taken by Nests and Districts as it relates to local activities and programs:

  1. Follow the advice of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and cancel all activities scheduled with 50 or more people over the next eight weeks.
  2. Follow all regulations from state, county and local officials regarding any restrictions placed on businesses in your area. States are beginning to limit activities for non-essential businesses, bars and restaurants. We strongly advise everyone to comply with these requirements. Even though there may not be restrictions in place, we still think it advisable to consider closing the Nest voluntarily until further notice.
  3. For Districts that have important Plenary Meetings scheduled in the near future, we suggest postponing those meetings until a later date. We are also investigating possible alternatives regarding the schedule for these meetings.
  4. Consider a method to contact members and ascertain their wellbeing.
  5. Use regular email communications to Members to keep them informed about important news at the Nest or District.

Additional information is available for Members and their families on the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. Keep in mind that the elderly and sick are highly vulnerable to this disease.

Polish Falcons has faced many challenges in its history, and we will get through this as we have done time and again. There will be hardships and sacrifices in the coming weeks, but now is the time to stay true to our dedication to the principles of a fraternal organization where we band together to aid and assist one another.

With all that is happening keep in mind that this is a highly volatile situation and circumstances may change quickly. We will do our best to send notices and keep our Members informed. The best resource is the website, www.polishfalcons.org. As always, if you have any questions or need more information, please contact National Headquarters toll-free at 1-800-535-2071, or by email at info@polishfalcons.org.

Czolem,

Timothy L. Kuzma
National President