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Final chapter in the history of the Lublin Eastern European Cultural Society (EECS) is being written

Final chapter in the history of the Lublin Eastern European  Cultural Society (EECS) is being written Final chapter in the history of the Lublin Eastern European  Cultural Society (EECS) is being written

2019 started out slow for me due to a number of ongoing health concerns and the aftermath of the winter storm cleanup which took a toll, thus resulting in the canceling of my participation in a number of events from January to May. I stated the previous year that after October 2018 I would no longer be the president of the EECS. It was time to move on. I have a book project and other research interests that I have not had the time to pursue. However, I was talked into delaying my departure for several more months and scheduled a final 13th tour to Poland which departed following our Lublin Days celebration at the end of July 2019.

On Saturday July 13 several members attended the Necedah Polish Heritage Club activities hosted at the Polish Deli, 220 South Main Street, Necedah, Wisconsin 54646. The main event was the honoring of Edward Dusza a writer from the Stevens Point, Wisconsin area Polish newspaper Gwiazda Polarna. Edward received the order of the Polish Cross for his lifetime achievements of writing about Poland and advocating for heritage and cultural ties with descendants living throughout the United States. Consul general, Piotr Janicki, of the Polish Consulate in Chicago was on hand for the presentation of the citation and the medal from the president of Poland, Andrzej Duda. Also attending were members of the Lublin Club of Chicago, and members of the EECS of the Necedah/Adams-Friendship and Stevens Point area Polish heritage organizations.

Early on the morning of July 20 I left home to meet my chauffeur, Ms. Lisa Karl, at Spencer. I thank Ms. Karl for the arduous task of getting me there and back safely in the driving rain. As I left, people were cleaning up the debris from the tornado that went through the area overnight on July 19 north of Withee. I saw lots of downed trees and a barn on County Highway O.

We were traveling to Port Washington for the annual Port Fish Day celebration where I was scheduled to present a certificate issued by the Polish Consulate of Chicago to the Classic Rock group, Head East. The nomination for the certificate was initiated by our EECS group. Head East has been a supporter of cultural initiatives for many years. The trip was marred by rain, but it dried out long enough for the performance of the concert. Joining us with the current Head East members was Congressman Glenn Grothman, who was home in his district from D.C. and on hand for the presentation.

On July 28, 2019, during the Lublin Days festivities, a former Lublin resident, 95-year-old Helene Rosiejka Posca and her husband Arthur made their presence known at the Lublin community park pavilion having driven from Saugertis, New York every year for 68 years for this occasion to attend the annual celebration. A special plaque was requisitioned by Senator Jerry Petrowski and Representative James Edming and presented after the parade to honor the former Lublin resident and her husband for their 68-year commitment to the village. Helene Posca is the last of the 11 Rosiejka siblings whose pioneering parents came to Lublin, Wisconsin via Harrisburg, Illinois from Jarocin, Poland in 1910. The EECS helped to coordinate that presentation.

After the polka party, members and supporters of the EECS gathered for the departure of the 2019 History Heritage and Culture tour departing for the overnight flight from Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport to Poland for a two-week itinerary returning on August 10. I will be writing a trip chronology in the coming weeks for those interested in following our adventures.

Several members attended other gatherings and events area wide throughout the year. Discussions took place on the continuance of the EECS. With many elderly members, we have been to more funerals than cultural events this past year. Many of the younger generation do not get actively involved and there seems to be a plethora of other priorities and interests for them. In our rural areas and communities, other groups are facing the same problems. Active memberships are faltering and you get to the point where the few remaining loyal members can no longer continue with the effort.

Therefore, it was decided to officially disband the EECS at the end of 2019.

We still have some projects to finish up in 2020 and will announce that in the future, but the organization is officially ended as of January of this year.

The inspiration in forming our group began in 1995 in Lublin, Wisconsin when a Polish film crew doing a documentary stopped by for a visit. Christopher Karman and Thaddeus Slowinski were interviewing area residents at the old Lublin school. My first trip to Poland took place in 1997 when I joined a PAT Polish Heritage tour led by our future vice president, Fred Wisnewski, from Stanley.

Our first gathering took place in 2000 and followed up by a meeting in Stanley on January 27, 2001 where we were inspired to join SCI by an advisor from the Marshfield chapter. We became charter members of Sister Cities International (SCI) in 2001. We picked the big city of Lublin, Poland as our sister city from whose territory many of the communities’ founders came. We officially signed our charter at a ceremony on July 29, 2001 at Lublin Days, which was attended by thousandsincluding international dignitaries. We participated in numerous events throughout the years doing cultural outreach. Our main initiative however was our Citizen Ambassadors Program through citizen diplomacy. We did visa sponsorship for our citizen ambassadors from abroad. We reciprocated with trips abroad to our sister city and other destinations.

I would like to thank past and current organization officials, members, and supporters for their dedication and perseverance in keeping our heritage and cultural initiatives alive for the past 19 years. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity in having been able to lead this great group through the years.

— Chris Kulinski, president, EECS