Ohio Polonia is on Poland’s radar
It has been quite a month for our region! The national dance troupe of Poland returned to Youngstown and the President of Poland came to Cleveland. After meeting with President Barack Obama in D.C. and discussing the visa waiver question, Polish President Bronisław Komorowski came to Ohio. Prompted, it is rumored, by the positive impression received by the Polish Ambassador at an event in October, Komorowski headed to the Cleveland Clinic, touring facilities and meeting with Polish-American doctors. The physicians presented the Polish President with his own Cleveland Clinic lab coat. He was shown new medical imaging equipment and briefed on electronic medical record protocol. Dr. Maria Siemionow, the surgeon who performed America's first successful face transplant helped translate technical terms. Komorowski then joined a select group of the region’s Polonia for a homemade state dinner at the Polish American Cultural Center in Slavic Village. "This is quite a thrill for us," Eugene Bak, president of the Cultural Center said. "We've had Lech Wałęsa, a former president [who visited in 1999] but never a visit by a sitting president." Before dinner, Timothy Kuzma, President and CEO of the Polish Falcons of America, and Ben Stefanski, Slavic Village activist and philanthropist, were honored by receiving the Order of Merit from the Republic of Poland. The prestigious award is presented to those whose superior activities support Polish education, culture and science. Aundréa Cika, PolishYoungstown director, was thrilled to be included on the invitation list! For her part, Cika got to shake hands with Komorowski and present him with a PolishYoungstown t-shirt, but not pose for a photo. LOL!
Our Polish pride will be felt in Afghanistan this month too. We received an email this week that our Adopt a Polish Soldier packages were received already. U.S. Army Major Lori Ankabrandt wrote how grateful she was that not only did four PYTown packages arrive, but a number of additional gift boxes arrived, too. Apparently some of you sent gifts directly! Good for you! Major Lori promises to send photos of the group enjoying Wigilia at Camp Eggers in Kabul at the end of the month. Hopefully in the PHH shirts we included!
Symbolically breaking opłatek with soda crackers and drinking the signature drink shot as a triple are just a few of the highlights from Polish Happy Hour last week. When we approached Rips Café we pictured a fun, cozy event and it certainly lived up to the plan. Rousing renditions of otherwise peaceful Christmas Carols wrapped the evening as participants shared stories of Christmas’ from their past. Plans were made to sing together again at the Christmas Eve koledy performances at area churches. A complete schedule will be available in next week’s letter.
If you want to warm up your voice, the Krakowiaki invites you to join them for a round of Christmas caroling on Friday Dec. 17th at 6 PM at the Greenbrier senior citizen facilities on South Avenue and in the concourse at the Southern Park Mall. They will be celebrating the season afterward at Jillian’s in the mall.
There is still time to add a little Polish to your Christmas gifts. Polish teacher Marta Mazur’s Mazur Place has gorgeous Polish Christmas ornaments, the Krakowiaki Polish Folk Circle has Cat’s Meow replicas of important Polish places in Youngstown that are great for former residents on your list and who wouldn’t want show their Polish pride with a PolishYoungstown, Polish Happy Hour or Polish Arts’ Got Pierogi shirts!
And if you want a little help preparing your Wigilia table, our friends at S&D Polish Deli in Pittsburgh are there for you! Dorota and her family have put together a shopping list of essentials. All you have to do is pick your favorites, submit your order and have it ready for you to pick up the week of Christmas. The shopping list is here for you to get started. Pick-up at St. Joseph the Provider on Dec. 21st 4-7 PM.
Congratulations go out to our friend Val Pawlowski who was recently honored for her work promoting and marketing polka by the Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame. It was the fifth award she has received from Hall during the 15 years she has hosted a weekly radio show, currently on Saturday mornings on 830-AM WKTX. Read more about her story in the Vindy. Sto Lat Val!
Świętej Pamięci Our deepest sympathies go out to Hank Guzevich and others associated with The Polka Family band upon the death of Nellie Guzevich. The Mexican mother in a Polish-Mexican family, Guzevich played her trademark tambourine and singing with the band since her husband, Frank founded it in the 1970s. The showmanship and spirit that the band is known for is often credited to Nellie. She will be missed.
Coming up: Don’t forget to check out our Polish choinka on the lower level at the Davis Center at Fellows Riverside Garden as part of the Community Christmas Tree Project thru the new year…Mark your calendar now for our newest event on Jan. 13th Kulig at Millcreek!
Your PolishYoungstown Team