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Polish Heritage Society of Philadelphia
Celebrates 50th Anniversary!

PENNSYLVANIA – It was a most elegant evening and one to remember as the Polish Heritage Society of Philadelphia celebrated its 50th Anniversary at the Associated Polish Home in the Northeast section of Philadelphia on Saturday, November 7, 2015.

In photo: Marie Hejnosz and Congressman Borski.

Many accomplishments contributed by the Polish Heritage Society of Philadelphia since its founding back in 1965 have been the following: the Kopernik Monument located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in the center of Philadelphia; many historical markers erected in tribute to Ralph Modjeski – engineer for the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, Dr. Walter Golaski – the inventor of the Dacron blood replacement, and Frank Piasecki – the helicopter guru, just to name a few. The society was responsible for the placement of the statue of General Thaddeus Kosciuszko, a gift from the people of Poland, at 18th Street and the Parkway, joining other celebrated American Revolutionary War Heroes displayed throughout the city.

jeanandpeterI can remember when I was a young graduate in the 60’s, but at that time was not associated with the Polish Heritage Society of Philadelphia, even though I was raised in the Polish traditions and culture.   It was not until the late 80’s that I was introduced to the organization, and which I have been a part of since then. (In photo on left: Jean Joka and Peter Obst).

Going back to the celebration of the 50th Anniversary jubilee. The evening began at 6:00 PM with cocktails and music provided by Pawel Ostrowski on the accordion, who greeted the people as they entered the Belevedere Ballroom. Then at 7:00 PM Marie Hejnosz, President of the Polish Heritage Society of Philadelphia, welcomed everyone and the festivities began.   Father Marcin Makulski, Sub-Prior of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa gave the invocation. Then a delicious gourmet Polish dinner was served. Dancing was to the music of the Dennis Ostopowicz Orchestra.

We were entertained during the course of the evening by the performances of the PKM Dancers who were attired in traditional Polish costumes; they danced the Krakowiak and the Kujawiak, in addition to leading the audience in the traditional Polonaise. These dances brought back many memories of the past. We also were graced with the soprano voice of Marika Szczepek.

andrewJoannByzewska-zapaletalOur special guest Vice-Consul Joanna Byszewska-Zapletal from the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York congratulated the organization on its accomplishments and endeavors during its 50 years existence to Polonia and the Polish-American Community of Philadelphia. The Vice-Consul also presented personal greetings, good wishes and many more years of existence on behalf of Urszula Gacek, Consul General.

In photo on right: Vice Consul Joanna Byszewska-Zapletal and Andrew Pustelniak.

I had the honor to present the Awards Certificate for contribution to Polonia to the Past Presidents.  Many Past Presidents were able to join us for this special event, namely Regina Wunukowski, whose husband Joe was one of the co-founders, Joseph Zazyczny, Irene Musman, Deborah M. Majka, Teresa Wojcik and of course our own Marie Hejnosz. As this is Marie’s last term as President, she was presented a bouquet of flowers for her endless support and dedication to Polonia. In addition, a Certificate of Award was given to Andrew Pustelniak, Marie’s husband, who supports us and is always there to assist with any of our events.

andrewjeaLast but not least, our Chinese Auction was a huge success. Thanks to Diana Blichasz for successfully taking on this endeavor as our Coordinator.

Our 50 years will go down as a great cultural contribution to Philadelphia, and many thanks goes out to our Executive Board, Members and business associates who have supported us throughout the years. We have raised over $3,000.00 towards our Scholarship Fund from the proceeds of this year’s Polonaise Ball.

In photo on right: Andrew Pustelnia and Jean Joka.

Submitted by Jean Joka
Communications Director