PENNSYLVANIA 157TH STATE SESSION
The 157th Annual State Session of the State Council of PA met on September 14th, 15th, and 16th, 2017 at the Woodlands Inn & Resort in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. It was hosted by Dunmore Council # 1022 of the Middle District, home council of Past National Councilor, Edward H. Kiefer, and our current National Vice-Councilor, Richard A. Beppler, who also serves as the Pa. state secretary.
Registration was held on Thursday afternoon on the 14th in the hotel lobby with a full display of about 18 baskets for a basket raffle held at the State Banquet which were made and donated by Dunmore Council members. Also on display were some very nice prizes for a major raffle at the banquet including a 50” LCD TV (won by the State Vice-Councilor), a gigantic basket of cheer (won by the State Secretary) and an adorable handmade porcelain angel donated by the State Councilor’s sister in California (which was surprisingly won by the State Councilor’s son, Ramon). Of course there were suspicions of a fix but when you buy dozens and dozens of raffle tickets the chances of winning are muchly increased.
A State Board meeting was held at 4:00 p.m. Thursday to appoint replacements for any State Council officers unable to attend. The necessary officers were newly appointed and all other business was finalized to prepare for a smooth session.
The opening meeting was held at 7:15 p.m. in the banquet hall on Thursday night as all of the officers and visiting dignitaries were introduced. We were very happy to welcome back for a second year in a row our Jr. Past National Councilor, Dennis Everett, as the National Council representative, along with his lovely wife Joyce. After being welcomed by an owner of the resort and hearing introductions of officers and dignitaries, the attendees were treated to a theatrical presentation of songs from Fiddler on the Roof and other Broadway numbers presented by the cast of a local theater ensemble of high school age members of K.I.S.S. Theater Group (Kids Innovative Stage & Song). These very talented young actors and singers were enjoyed immensely by all present.
After a social hour with snacks and punch, the 69th Annual Hendler Club meeting took place at 9:01 p.m. The Hendler Club is a fun club which meets at every annual state session and raises funds for charities through an auction held at a Hendler breakfast the last day of the session. The chosen charity to receive this year’s donations was the Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund to help the many people affected by so many hurricanes this year. This year the Hendler Club had to wish a sad farewell to their secretary/treasurer, PNC Edward H. Kiefer, who resigned after serving for the past 17 years as what they endearingly call their Grand Conniver.
Friday morning, after a great breakfast buffet in the hotel restaurant, the State Councilor, MaryAnn Beppler, called to order the First Business Session at 9:30 a.m. During the morning session the Jr. Past National Councilor, Dennis Everett, was asked to share and produced copies of the completed West Virginia “Hello Neighbor” brochure demonstrating how West Virginia State Council as well as his local council had produced inserts for the brochure outlining the rich history of the Order in West Virginia and local history as well. This was a shining example of how to polish up the “Hello Neighbor” brochure, which Brother Dennis had so diligently upgraded during his term as National Councilor.
Brother Dennis also discussed the success of the updated Jr.O.U.A.M. website and stressed the importance of utilizing it to share news and pictures throughout our Order. He also suggested we begin to utilize the various social media outlets now so prevalent in society today such as FaceBook, Twitter, etc. to further reach out to members and potential members to turn around the decline of our membership and bring us further into the 21st century.
During the morning session a number of resolutions and proposals were read by title and turned over to the Good of the Order committee, as well as the Law Committee, for their review and recommendations. This was followed by nominations of officers for the 2018 term. Those nominated are listed at the end of this report as the newly elected officers for 2018. One nomination became a problem as next place of meeting was brought to the floor. The next scheduled place of meeting is supposed to be hosted by the Eastern District, but the representative from New Tripoli Council # 204, the only feasible council of the Eastern District, stated that no decision has been made yet to host the 2018 State Session. After discussion it was motioned and passed that the State Board of Officers would make the final decision on next place of meeting, after being informed of New Tripoli Council’s intent to host or not. If not the State Board will assign the next place of meeting and have the State Secretary inform all member councils of their choice within a reasonable time. Just before noon the State Councilor called for a recess for lunch until 1:30 p.m.
A fun Hendler Club luncheon was held in the Woodland’s nightclub and enjoyed by all, with the Grand Enforcer of the Hendler Club, Gale Franceschelli, collecting quarters for charity from all present for the silliest reasons.
The members all came back to the Marco Polo / Empire breakout rooms for the Second Business Session commencing at 1:30 p.m. The postponed order of business from the morning session, the obligation of new members, was taken up as a new state representative, Patricia Berkery, from Dunmore Council # 1022, who hadn’t been able to attend that morning because she had been undergoing dialysis, was accepted as a new delegate to the State Session. Next the resolutions and proposals were returned from committees and acted upon. Motions to accept were voted upon and all of the resolutions and proposals were passed. After acting on the resolutions and proposals the State Secretary went on to explain to all delegates about the necessity of the National Council to raise the National per-capita tax from $1.20 per year to $6.00 per year at the National Session held in June at the Cacopon State Park in West Virginia. A recess of all business was called for by the State Councilor, MaryAnn Beppler, at 3:00 p.m. so that everyone could prepare for the annual State Session banquet.
The 157th Annual PA. State Banquet began at 5:30 p.m. with a greet & meet of the State Board of Officers, who were by tradition formally dressed in white dinner jacket and black tie, even the State Councilor, Maryann Beppler, who substituted a stunning black scarf for the bow-tie. MaryAnn felt foolish in a white dinner jacket but actually looked quite attractive. A wonderful buffet dinner with a choice of chicken marsala, roast beef and lobster encrusted tilapia with veggies and potatoes as well as a tossed dinner salad was enjoyed by all. The icing on the cake was the 15 item dessert bar which became very crowded after the meal. The banquet meal was followed by a program of introductions and presentations with Past National Chaplain, Lester Dolton, as the master of ceremonies. A gift of a handmade wreath made by the State Councilor was presented to the representative from the National Council, PNC Dennis Everett and his wife, Joyce. State Secretary, Richard Beppler, then presented PNC Edward Kiefer with a plaque with an inscription recognizing him for his 17 years as the Grand Conniver of the Hendler’s Club. After the program a few of the many baskets made by members of the hosting Dunmore Council # 1022 were raffled off. Then with a bit of fanfare the night’s entertainer made his spectacular entrance as the crowd welcomed ELVIS. The Elvis impersonator thrilled everyone as he sang such hits as “Be My Teddy Bear” and distributed many of the ladies with little teddy bears, and also letters with his pictures as he sang “Mr. Postman”. Throughout the night’s entertainment there were breaks for more basket raffles and eventually at the end of the night the main raffle prizes were raffled off to the winners listed previously. A surprise additional prize to the final raffle was a donation from the entertainer of a night out with ELVIS that was won by our newest state representative Patricia Berkery.
Saturday morning everyone attended the traditional Hendler Club breakfast buffet in Crescenzo’s Restaurant after which a charity auction was held with Lester Dolton as the auctioneer. The group tried to entice our visiting rep from National, Brother Dennis Everett, to be the auctioneer since that is his profession, but he wasn’t having any of it. Instead Brother Dennis and his wife Joyce helped spice up the auction by bidding vigorously against everyone else on a variety of member donated odds and ends which raised quite a sum of money to donate to the Red Cross Hurricane Relief fund. The breakfast and auction was followed by the annual Memorial Service of State Council members who had passed away since the last State Session. The memorial service, presided over by State Chaplain Gale Franceschelli, was especially emotional to myself, the State Secretary, as we bid farewell to a few members including my dad, Burson Beppler, who had held the position of State Secretary for 22 years before myself taking over. Another sad loss was our past National Chaplain’s son, Brian Dolton, who recently died from an ATV accident, too young to ascend to the Supreme Council.
Then at 10:00 a.m. Saturday morning, September 16th, after a short meeting of the Past State Councilors, the Final Business Session was called to order by Sister MaryAnn Beppler. The final order of business was the election of officers. Since there were no more than one nomination for any officer, a motion was passed to have the Clerk of Elections cast one unanimous ballot for all nominees and all were duly elected. The installation of officers for the 2018 term was then presided over by the representative from National Council, PNC Dennis Everett. After the installations a dual pinning was witnessed as State Secretary, Richard Beppler, pinned the Past State Councilor jewel on his wife, PSC MaryAnn Beppler; and then Sister MaryAnn turned around and pinned another one on her husband, PSC Rich Beppler, who had never received his PSC jewel when he was conferred as Past State Councilor after 10 years as State Secretary a couple of years ago. Finally the 157th Pennsylvania State Session was convened by the new State Councilor, Archie Parker, until the following year, to be held wherever the State Board appoints it in a few months to be held.
The Officers for the State Council of Pennsylvania for the 2018 term are:
State Councilor............................................. Archie Parker
State Vice-Councilor.................................... Gale Franceschelli
State Secretary............................................. Richard Beppler
State Treasurer............................................. Robert Buraczewski
Jr. Past State Councilor............................... MaryAnn Beppler
State Warden................................................ John Pietrafase
State Conductor........................................... Harry Laudenslager
State Inside Sentinel.................................... Patricia Berkery
State Outside Sentinel................................. Lester Dolton
State Chaplain.............................................. Joseph Pietrafase
National Representative............................... John Pietrafase
National Representative............................... MaryAnn Beppler
3rd National Representative......................... To be elected at the next State Session
PA Officers, L-R : John Pietrafase-State Warden, Patricia Berkerey-State Inside Sentinel, Archie Parker-State Councilor, Mary Ann Beppler-Jr. Past State Councilor, Joseph Pietrafase - State Chaplain, Gale Franceschelli-State Vice Councilor and Rich Beppler - State Secretary
GO FORTH AND SPREAD THE NEWS OF OUR BELOVED ORDER'S PRINCIPLES. OUR NATION NEEDS US DURING THESE TROUBLED TIMES.