Archive for October 1st, 2017

Mark Pienkos Named Polish American of the Year

The first day of Polish Heritage Month brought great news to Polish American Congress – Wisconsin Division of (PAC-WI) with Milwaukee Society of the Polish National Alliance naming this year Dr. Mark Pienkos as Polish American of the Year.

In conjunction with this recognition, the Milwaukee City Council presented him with congratulatory resolution and Milwaukee’s Mayor,Tom Barrett, proclaimed October 1, 2017 to be Dr. Mark Pienkos Day.

The award ceremony took place during the Annual Pulaski Day Banquet commemorating the death of General Casimir Pulaski (Generał Kazimierz Pułaski) and the 1929 resolution of U.S. Congress designating October 11th as General Pulaski Memorial Day.

The title of Polish American of the Year is traditionally awarded to Americans of Polish descent for their outstanding community service and Mark’s contributions to various communities fit the bill perfectly.

Known as “Dr.P.” to his students and coworkers, he devoted the entire forty four years of his career in education to helping “kids of all ages” succeed. From teacher, counselor and principal at elementary and high school level, to superintendent for the Washington-Caldwell School District and Traver School in Lake Geneva, he also taught courses for teachers in Aurora University and Lake-Sumter Community College.

Judge Daniel Konkol, current director of Milwaukee Society of the Polish National Alliance presents the award to Dr. Mark Pienkos

Given his penchant for politics, Mark also held several elective positions in communities of his residence and various democratic parties (see the biography on his website).

But most notably for Polish American interests, Mark is also an active member of the Polish American Congress (PAC). After presiding over Wisconsin Division of this organization for several years, he now serves as its Vice President, as well as a representative to the National Council of PAC Directors and the PAC National Vice President for Public Relations. He and his family have been also the long time members of Polish National Alliance (PNA).

Mark is also known for his love of sports that came to fruition in the book “1917-2017: One Hundred Years of White Sox Baseball” published in 2017 (see our earlier post and news on his website). The team was a great positive influence in his early years in Chicago’s South Side. Now Mark uses the book to “pay it forward” with some of the proceeds going to Stella and Edward Pienkos Educational Fund providing scholarships to graduating high school students.

The fund was established in memory of Mark’s parents. The hardships of immigrants’ life robbed them of a chance to get high school diplomas, but they both worked hard to get solid education for Mark and his two brothers (Donald Pienkos – now professor emeritus at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Edward Pienkos – a surgeon). And now Mark helps others to achieve the very same goals.

What a long, winding road it has been since Mark’s grandfather Walenty Pienkos arrived to New York City on September 16, 1912 from a small village near Rzeszów – then in Austrian partition of Poland (see the video to the right).

And yet, how very successful…

Congratulations to Mark Pienkos and his entire family
(Gratulacje dla Marka Pienkosia i jego całej rodziny)

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