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Frank JanczakA Holiday Message from the KSKJ Life CEO

by Frank Janczak,
Chief Executive Officer


With the start of the holiday season upon us, and my first as the CEO of KSKJ Life, I wanted to share a heartfelt thanks from the Home Office Staff to all our KSKJ Life members. The holiday season is a time for a renewed hope, joy and reflection while we look with anticipation to the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is also a time for sharing with loved ones, family and friends!

In 2013, KSKJ Life has continued its growth along with its vision for the future, in a world where, as we move into the holiday season, the United States economy is dealing with a lot of uncertainty, with health care regulations and world policies filling the news negatively every day.

At KSKJ Life, our story is more than just a presentation; it is our history. And as we move deeper into the holiday season, our thoughts and celebrations turn to the KSKJ Life celebrating its 120th Anniversary. Our membership should be proud of an organization that keeps addressing issues regarding government intervention and regulations, making KSKJ Life a stronger financial/fraternal society for the present and for our future. “Change is not easy and will be met with resistance,” but at KSKJ Life,embracing change will put the organization in a stronger position to serve the needs of members now and for the future.

“Connecting the Past—Embracing the Future!”

Here at the KSKJ Life Home Office in Joliet, Ill., once again our staff is very thankful for all the support that all our members give to us. We truly hope that all our members have a Blessed and Joyful Holiday Season and a Happy and Prosperous 2014!

Rudy KrasovecChristmas Message from the KSKJ Life Chairman of the Board

by Rudy Krasovec.,
Chairman of the Board


As we approach the holiday season, your KSKJ Life Staff and Board would like to wish all of our members a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

The holidays are a time for family activities, celebration and sharing gifts. KSKJ was founded to protect and care for our families. As we celebrate and share in all of the family and ethnic traditions, let us remember the reason for Christmas. There is a great history that was given to us by our ancestors and relatives. Their gift to us, although not as a wrapped present, was the heritage and opportunities that we experience today.

Families have always been our #1 priority. The best gift the KSKJ can give to you is to preserve our traditions, keep the organizations solvent and provide exceptional products to protect our members and families. The people who give you these gifts are your Lodge Officers, Sales Agents, Financial and Fraternal Board members and the Home Office staff. Your gift back to the KSKJ is your membership and participation in activities and lodge events.

Enjoy the many holiday parties and say thank you to your KSKJ Life representatives for all they do.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Young Adult Selected 2013 Fraternalist of the Year

by Julie Schneller, National Director of Youth & Adult Activities

Joliet, Ill.—Anton Vershay holds the KSKJ Life Fraternalist of the Year award and the Lodge #2 Person of the Year award presented to him at a dinner in his honor. Seated next to Anton is Lodge #2 President Rich Churnovic, Jr. Standing in back are Region 4 Director Joyce Vicich (Lodge #29), Jodi Wartenberg (Anton’s mom), National Director of Youth and Adult Activities Julie Schneller, CEO Frank Janczak, and National Board Member Dan Mihelich (Lodge #2).

Joliet, Ill.—St. Joseph Lodge #2, Joliet, had no idea they had such a special young adult among their membership. Four years ago, Anton Vershay started high school and became active in their lodge. At first, he started attending meetings regularly with his father, Greg, who is an auditor for the lodge. Then he began helping out at the lodge events. They noticed he was pitching in to help without even asking, and then he began calling prior to events, asking how he could help.

His actions did not go unnoticed. Two years ago, they appointed Anton as Youth Vice President. In this position, he provides input on lodge activities that would get more youth involved in KSKJ Life. He has suggested pizza parties, a Halloween costume dress-up contest and games and other contests during lodge meetings to get the young members involved and to encourage them to attend.

This past year, Anton served food at the Matching Funds dinner. He helped prepare and clean up the park for the lodge’s steak fry, and he worked cleaning up the local park district walking paths for the Join Hands Day event along with attending all lodge meetings. He especially enjoyed his work during the Joliet combined lodges Christmas party, helping with the kids games. He became somewhat of an attraction there.

Anton has also been involved nationally. This past winter at the KSKJ Life National Basketball Tournament, he ran the clock and kept score for the weekend when the host city (Joliet) was in need of some help. He is a KSKJ Life High School Scholarship winner and was recently selected as a KSKJ College Scholarship winner.

Anton is also involved in his church, St. Joseph Catholic Church. He is a member of the Holy Name Society and serves on the parish Park and Cemetery Committee, where he volunteers his time to help with cleanup and decorations. He helps to clean and decorate the church for Christmas and Easter services.

Anton is a member of the Junior Waterfront Staff of the Camp Anokijig volunteer group that provides water sport activities for the underprivileged youth his entire summer. He was also the top fund raiser for four of the past six years of the annual Tube-A-Thon fund raiser. This fund raiser provides camperships for those youngsters needing financial assistance.

As a senior at Benet Academy, Anton was a member of the Broadcasting Club, Guitar Club and on the Intramural Board of the Student Government. He served as editor and website manager/designer of the Gadfly, an alternative student school newspaper. He was team captain of the Benet Academy Cross Country Team and Distance Squad captain.

Anton Vershay has earned the respect of the seasoned lodge officers and members by his presence at all lodge events and his willingness to volunteer and participate in activities. He is a leader by example. He works well with the older members at the church and during the Join Hands Day event. He obviously works well with the young people at the camp and at the lodge Christmas party.

Anton is a unique young adult. When others his age are only concerned with hanging out with friends, he is looking for every opportunity to volunteer his time and put a smile on the face of a young child at a Christmas party, or helping to see that a tournament runs smoothly to insure others enjoy an event.

This young man is a shining star example for others, young and old. Anton is an exceptional student, athlete and volunteer. He is a well-rounded individual who knows how to manage his time so he can give of his talents for the benefit of his lodge and church, but most importantly, of others. For this reason, KSKJ Life is proud to select Anton Vershay as the 2013 KSKJ LIFE FRATERNALIST OF THE YEAR.

Anton Vershay’s name has been submitted to the American Fraternal Alliance for its consideration of the AFA Fraternalist of the Year. His name has been added to the list of past KSKJ Life’s finest volunteers. A plaque hangs in the Home Office.




by MaryLou Stefanick

National Athletic Director

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

September 2013

Dear KSKJ  ,  
There are a number of Athletic-related events coming up in the near future that you will not want to miss out on!  See the list below and visit the Athletics website by clicking on the "Website" link in the yellow toolbar above.
The tournament is being hosted by St. Joseph #169 and your tournament secretary is John Nemec.
The Waukegan lodges, St. Joseph #53 and St. Mary #79, will be your hosts.  John Deram and Hank Govekar are the tournament secretaries.
DECEMBER 1, 2013 - JANUARY 18, 2014
ABC, what does that stand for?  ABC is the "Alternative Bowling Competition," a new and exciting opportunity for our members ages 5-15.
SEPTEMBER 2013 - MAY 1, 2014
This program is open to our High School and college age members that participate in a sport or activity at their school.
The 120th Anniversary of KSKJ Life!
MARCH 1-2, 2014
St. John the Evangelist #65 will be your tournament host for this annual favorite!  The tournament is open to men and women from ages 5 and above.
APRIL 25-27, 2014 in JOLIET, IL
The four Joliet lodges have been meeting since July, and are planning something special at this tournament, to celebrate our 120th anniversary.
JUNE 28th in
Yes, that's right! Next summer we need our scratch and casual golfers to come to Waukegan to participate in our special anniversary golf tournament.
The walking program which started in 2012 will be back bigger and better in the fall of 2014.
Please mark your calendars and plan on joining us at these 2013-2014 events!
MaryLou Stefanick
National Athletic Director


stepping up 1Register & Submit Your Miles Here!


Please use the link above when you are ready to submit your miles, either weekly or at the end of the program.

Stepping Up is a "walking" program designed to:

  • Encourage physical activity by all of our members
  • Raise awareness to the many benefits of walking
  • Improve our overall health

Absolutely everyone can participate in this program!


stepping up 2You can walk with family, neighbors, and co-workers. The four-week program period is from May 19 through June 15, 2013. Our goal is to have members from every lodge participate! Our first Stepping Up initiative in the Fall of 2012 was a great start and we're excited to promote our second event!

Some of you have pedometers from our first event, and many of you have watches and phone apps to count your miles. Pedometers are available by request from the Home Office for $5 each. Proceeds will benefit the KSKJ Life Foundation. Please send a check payable to "KSKJ Life" to Janice Frantz c/o Stepping Up Program, KSKJ Life, 2439 Glenwood Ave., Joliet IL 60435.

Consider setting a personal goal for yourself and use the comments section below to let us know how you did and what your experience was like!


stepping up 3Please contact the Home Office @ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (800) 843-5755 with any questions.

Let's all get up off our couches and start walkin'!








Why Walking ROCKS!Maria Menart

By Maria Menart, M.S. OTR/L
Ss. Cyril & Methodius Lodge # 59, Minnesota

Walking is a gentle, low impact exercise that can be done by most people. It is easy and will cost little to no money to get started. Walking is also one of the most easy, safe exercises. Physical and mental health benefits of walking include, but are not limited to, reducing the following: weight, the risk for cardiovascular disease, the risk for type II diabetes, and the risk of depression. Walking may also increase brain power and sharpen judgment skills!

Many individuals work hard to manage their weight. However, finding a gentle, low impact exercise can be challenging. The simple answer is to walk! It is important to begin slowly. Start with a warm up (slow walking) followed by gentle stretching of the leg muscles. Be sure to include a cool down once you have finished walking. This will reduce the stress on both your heart and muscles.

The American Heart Association states walking is the single most effective form of exercise to achieve heart health. The heart muscle, just like any other muscle in your body, requires exercise to remain strong. Walking is an exercise that will help your heart pump stronger and slower requiring your heart to work less hard leading to a lower blood pressure. In addition to reducing blood pressure, walking also helps manage cholesterol by lowering "bad" cholesterol levels and raising the "good" cholesterol.

Type II diabetes is the most common form of diabetes as millions of Americans have been diagnosed with this disease. Walking is an excellent method to help prevent type II diabetes as it helps lower blood glucose (sugar) and burns calories.

A number of research studies have been conducted to examine the effects of walking on the brain. These researchers have found walking helps increase gray matter in the brain. The gray matter of the brain is associated with memory. Brain size and gray matter shrink as a result of aging. Therefore, walking may result in decreased risk for memory loss as age increases.

Exercise, including walking, helps the brain release endorphins. Endorphins are the "feel-good" chemicals in the brain. Walking can also help you gain confidence, provide distraction from negative thoughts and feelings, and help you cope in a healthy way. Walking can also provide social interaction. A simple smile or a friendly greeting can help boost your mood.



 KSKJlife! | 2439 Glenwood Ave. Joliet, Illinois 60435 | 815-741-2001 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.