Archive for November 13th, 2012

2012 Poland’s Independence Celebrated and Veterans Day Honored by the Wisconsin Polish American Congress

On Sunday November 11, 2012 the Wisconsin State Division of the Polish American Congress hosted its 15th annual Polish Independence Day/Veterans Day banquet at the beautiful Polish Center of Wisconsin.


An over capacity attendance of 250 guests were in attendance, some from Appleton, Madison and Green Bay, Wisconsin, Chicago, and as far away as Los Angeles, California, Minnesota, and Pittsburgh. (Some 30-40 well-wishers had to be turned away when they were late with their reservation requests.) All who were present enjoyed a wonderful luncheon of traditional Polish favorites highlighted by Milwaukee’s Crocus Restaurant’s signature Polish mushroom soup.

During the reception prior to the banquet, pianist Thomas Gapinski and Violinist John Pienkos serenaded everyone with their medleys of favorite Polish folk and patriotic music.

U.S. Congresswoman Gwen Moore graced the event by her presence. Cong. Moore represents the Fourth U.S. Congressional District, and is the successor to both Congressman Clement J. Zablocki and Congressman Gerald Kleczka in the Milwaukee metropolitan area. In her remarks, Cong. Moore spoke of the importance of recalling the many contributions the Poles have made to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and nationally and the services to the freedom and well-being of the United States and Poland rendered by our veterans.

Mr. Frank J. Spula, President of the Polish American Congress and the Polish National Alliance fraternal and Vice Consul Konrad Zielinski of the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago each spoke at the event, which honors the 94th anniversary of Poland’s independence and coincides with Veterans Day in the United States.

Among those attending this year’s event were President Dolly Honeycutt and Vice President Sharon Zago of the Polish Women’s Alliance of America based in Chicago, National Director Paul Sadowski of the Polish Falcons of America, Past National Secretary/Treasurer Joyce Szarowicz of the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America fraternal in Chicago, along with representatives of all of Wisconsin’s Polish American organizations.

Several outstanding activists in Milwaukee’s Polish American community were honored at this year’s gathering. Each received the Congressman Clement J. Zablocki Civic Achoievement Award from the Wisconsin PAC. All were also honored by the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County Government, the national Polish American Congress, and the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland. This year’s honorees are:

Ewa Barczyk-Pease, President of Polanki, the Polish Women’s Cultural Club of Wisconsin and Director of the Golda Meir Libraries of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee;

Ann Pienkos, long time activist in Wisconsin Polonia and civic life;

Hedy Rabiega, past national Director of the Polish National Alliance and active in many local Polonia organizations.*

The Polish Museum of America of Chicago;


The ‘Gwiazda Polarna’ Polish American newspaper based in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

In addition, Nest 725 of the Polish Falcons of America was recognized for its 95 years of dedicated commitment to the Falcons causes of physical fitness, fraternalism and patriotic service. This year, 2012, also marks the 125th anniversary of the founding of the national Polish Falcons of America fraternal headquartered in Pittsburgh.

Major Leonard Jedrzejczak and Mrs. Ada Dziewanowska were each awarded the Paderewski Medal issued by the Polish Army Veterans Association of America for their many years of dedicated service to the causes of Poland’s freedom and cultural heritage. Major Jedrzejczak fought for the cause of Poland’s freedom in World War II. For more than six decades, Mrs. Dziewanowska has been nationally recognized as a leader in the authentic performing of Polish dance in America.

Master of Ceremonies for the event was Ernest J. Litynski, who was one of the recipients of the Cong. Zablocki Civic Achievement award in 2011.

At the close of the banquet, Atty. Claude Krawczyk gave a progress report on the fund drive to restore Milwaukee’s beautiful and historic Kosciuszko monument. At present, more than $120,000 has been committed to this project. Just $50,000 more is needed to achieve the goal of preserving this great symbol of Polish and American solidarity and patriotism for the benefit of future generations. The Wisconsin PAC strongly supports this project and has, along with its members and member organizations, contributed substantially to the cause.

Special recognition goes to the outstanding work provided by the planning committee of this year’s event: Sharon Haberski (coordinator), Judith Free, Jeanette Holmquist, Luanne Landgraf, Ernest Litynski, Nina Nowakowski, Angela Pienkos, Diane Reeve, and Anne Wal. All worked closely and expertly with Wisconsin PAC State President Mark Pienkos to make this a very special event for all who attended.

Don Pienkos

*Since 1995 and counting this year’s Cong. Zablocki Civic Achievement Awards recipients, a total of 73 outstanding community activists have been honored at our event in recognition oif their services to our city, state and nation.

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