December 27, 2021
What Were Our Members up to in 2021?
In 2021, people started meeting, fundraising, and having fun again. That was not any different for our members. This past year, BetterLife members across the country celebrated, held fundraisers, and attended events. Here are just a few of the events our members organized or attended in 2021.
Pictured: Members of Lodge 400 assembling school supplies to donate to College Community School District. (Seated L to R): Bonnie Becicka, Linda Evers, Marry Ann Siems, and Viola Zahradnik. (Standing L to R): Joe Evers, Jerry Becicka, Millie Peshek, Wayne Slezak, Nadine Tisl, and Ellen Jones.
Honoring Longtime Members
On August 22, Tabor Lodge 74 of Dorchester, NE hosted an awards ceremony and reception for members receiving their lodge anniversary pins for 2020 and 2021.
Several members received 50-year pins: Karen Januto, Daniel Rezabek, Steven Andelt, Susan Chaloupka, Sue Shaw, Keith Spanyers, Karen Wiles, Ronald Zumpfe, Michael Pracheil, Judy Vyhnalek, and George Kasl III.
They also gave the following members 75-year pins: Helen Plouzek, David Rasplicka, Harold Rasplicka, Connie Wattjes, Susann Vlcek, Rose Bruha, Shelley Bruha, Marlene Stehlik, Henry Prokop, Carol Carmichael, Leroy Vrbsky, Gladys Burda, and Vern Vrbsky.
Finally, they awarded longtime member Bernard Belka an honorary lodge membership.
Pictured: 50 and 75-year members receiving awards (2nd in from L to R): Judy Vyhnalek, Rose Bruha, Marlene Stehlik, Shelley Bruha, George Kasl III, and Michael Pracheil. (Far L and Far R): Shirley Zoubek and Larry Burda accepted the award on behalf of their mother, Gladys Burda.
On September 2, in Denmark, WI, Lodge 108 helped in the organization of Denmark Helping Denmark’s back-to-school drive. They purchased and donated school supplies for families that could not afford them in the Denmark area.
Pictured: (L to R): Bob and Sandy Little from Denmark Helping Denmark and Judy Klika, Mary Kvitek, and Greg Lacenski from BetterLife.
Baseball for a Cause
On August 29, Branch 734 invited members to attend a Milwaukee Milkmen baseball game in Franklin, WI. The Milwaukee Milkmen are an independent professional baseball organization that’s very involved in fundraising and creating awareness for local nonprofits.
Members watched a winning game while getting to know Angel Thomas, BetterLife’s Senior Vice President of Member Experience; Sami Clemins, Lakeshore Agency Career Agent; and Bill Rutten, Lakeshore Agency Manager. At the end of the game, a helicopter dropped candy on the field and children ran out to collect it.
Two Branches Gathering as One
On July 22, Branch 694 and 925 held a joint family picnic at Bay Beach Amusement Park in Green Bay, WI. There were a lot of activities for the kids along with live music, a raffle, great food, and a presentation of donations. Each branch donated $500 to support Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary, My House, Oral Health Partnership, and Ruby’s Pantry.
Pictured: (L to R): Julie Paavola from Oral Health Partnership, Cari Harring from Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary, Career Agent Lisa Koerner from BetterLife, Terry Grant from My House, and Joan and George Raymaker, members of BetterLife Branch 694.
On August 16, in Swisher, IA, Lodge 400 members stuffed backpacks with school supplies to donate to College Community School District.
Busting a Move at Wilber Czech Festival
YELL! (young engaged lodge leaders) members represented Lodge 389 and danced away at the Wilber Czech Festival from August 4 through August 8 in Wilber, NE. YELL! members and other lodge members participate in the festival every year.
Pictured: YELL! members at the festival. (L to R): Prince Jonny Kohout representing Wilber Czechs and Princess Kelsey and Monica Zoubek representing South Central Czechs.
BetterLife’s 2021 Signature Event: Walk to End Hunger
This past summer, eleven branches and lodges across the country worked together to end hunger. All of the branches and lodges held walks and/or fundraisers in a joint effort to raise food and money for local hunger-relief organizations in their communities.
More than $27,000 was raised and over 3,500 pounds of food was donated to help nineteen different local organizations. Learn more about the widespread and incredibly impactful event, BetterLife’s Walk to End Hunger, here.
On August 7, members of Branch 91 hosted a table at the Badlands Big Sticks ball game in Dickinson, ND. The Badlands Big Sticks are a collegiate wood bat baseball league that’s focused on family fun and supporting their community.
At Branch 91’s table, children had the opportunity to win a new bike and branch members were able to promote our new (BetterLife) name in the community!
Pictured: (L to R): Ester Dustin, Judy Torstenson, Eva Fields, and Tammy Berndt stopping for a photo with the Badlands Big Sticks mascot, Teddy.
Would you like to see your branch or lodge in future publications of the BetterLife Magazine, The Better Buzz, or on social media? Submit your photos and information about your BetterLife events to firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.