Archives for September 2020

Polish American Congress Michigan Division Meets with Michigan National Guard Soldiers

Polish American Congress-MI

Meets with Michigan National Guard Soldiers

 

On September 8, 2020 a 15-member team from PAC-MI presented an orientation program to 69 Michigan National Guard soldiers, whose unit is being deployed to serve 10 months with NATO security forces in Poland. Upon receiving the invitation this summer from the unit’s commander, Captain Robert McNamara, our Division went to work to prepare a day of informational presentations about Poland- tourist, cultural, historical, language, music, social, and political- to help better prepare them for this experience abroad. Most of the soldiers had not travelled beyond Michigan before.  Each one received an informational folder covering many of the topics presented, as well as a bag of interesting reading about Poland and all things Polish, with pamphlets, brochures, and colorful reference materials.

The wide-ranging program included expert speakers with power point presentations, videos, audience participation, music, and sharing of personal experiences.  Among some of our presenters were: WSU Polish Studies professor, Dr. Alina Klin, who travels regularly to Poland with her students; the Honorary Consul for Poland, Richard Walawender; Stella Szczesny, from PNA and our Division’s National Director, who gave an interesting comparison from her visits to Poland of life under Communist times to changes and vast improvements in Poland today; Teresa Wiacek, of the Polish Scouting Organization, who prepared an interesting array of representative Polish music; and  (Retired) Col. Chester Szczotka who shared his life journey from a pre-war childhood in Poland, to surviving the Gulag in Soviet Russia, followed by growing up in Uganda, England, immigrating to Texas and Michigan, completing university studies and serving in the US Army Reserves, achieving the rank of colonel. We even had a member of the Polish Winged Hussars Re-Enactment Group visit in impressive full gear, sharing the strategies and significant contributions of these bold warriors to Polish history.

The soldiers were able to view interesting and informative displays about Polish culture and history prepared by our Executive VP, Barbara Lemecha. Together with the presentations, they were able to learn, probably for the first time, about Poland’s past and present, and what has influenced and shaped the country and the nation’s character.

The day was highlighted with a delicious luncheon featuring Polish style cuisine from Polish Village Café in Hamtramck and freshly baked pączki for dessert donated by Bożek Market. The afternoon’s program featured a motivational speech by (Ret.) Colonel Andrew Raczkowski, who impressed on the soldiers the importance of the mission for which they were being sent.

Our Division is especially grateful to all who participated, presented, donated, and lent helping hands to realize this unique project and opportunity. PAC-MI received a commemorative recognition plaque from the Michigan National Guard in appreciation of our efforts.