120th Anniversary of Polish National Alliance Lodge 156

Autor: Eva Orlowska

Published in

Polish National Alliance (PNA) president Frank Spula and members of District 16 convened in Seattle on Saturday, October 2 to celebrate 120 years of the largest PNA lodge in the Pacific Northwest and to honor Lodge 156 president James Hicker for his outstanding 40 years of service. (see slideshow)

Photo: Gail Wodzin, Gail Ann Photography
Standing from left: Richard Kobzi, Frank Spula, Greg  Chilecki,  Anthony Nowak-Przygodzki. Sitting: James Hicker, Lodge 156 President

Greeted by the Polish and American Anthems, the Pledge of Allegiance, Vivat Musica Choir and Mlodzi Polanie Dance Group, Frank Spula gave an upbeat keynote speech at the Polish Home in Seattle last Saturday. “We have protected Polish immigrant families since 1880 and have weathered the recent economic downturn better than most financial institutions, “ said the president of the largest Polish fraternal insurance and investment association in the United States. “We are over 200,000 members strong with policy holders in every state of the Union. As a non-for-profit organization, we continue to return gains to our members and to numerous Polish heritage and educational organizations throughout the United States and in Poland.” Jim Gora, the PNA Chief Financial Officer, confirmed that in 2009 PNA paid out $ 1.3 million in dividends and over $250 thousand in scholarships alone. With $437 million in assets, $30 million surplus and $830 million in force life insurance last year, PNA is positioned well to lead the Polish American communities into the next generation.  “As other ethnic groups organize and move up the economic ladder, we need organizations like the Polish National Alliance now more than ever,” urged Frank Spula. “Now that Poland is free, the goal still remains the same: unity and betterment of our ethnic group, political representation and close cultural and economic ties to Poland.”

Photo: Gail Wodzin, Ann Gail Photography
Jean Hicker and PNA President Frank Spula

Lodge 156 with 200 adults and 35 children is an example of a well-run PNA chapter that has served Washington state proudly for 120 years. The lodge supports local Polish cultural organizations like the Polish Home Foundation, Polish Film Festival, Polish Studies at the University of Washington, local college scholarships and Polish music and dance groups. Part of District 16 which includes states of Washington, California, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, Oregon and Idaho, Lodge 156 actively participates in regional conferences and national conventions.

On Saturday, Mr. James Hicker was awarded by PNA President, Frank Spula,  a  prestigious Silver Medal for his outstanding 40 years of leadership of Lodge 156. Jean Hicker was also honored with a long-deserved achievement award for her dedicated service to the organization. Martha Golubiec, local Polish community leader, ended the event with a special recognition of the Polish National Alliance as one of the founding associations of the Polish Home in Seattle, and a check to PNA for Poland’s flood victims on behalf of the Polish Home Auxiliary Ladies. To become a member and/or learn more about the Polish National Alliance please, visit http://www.pna-znp.org/