On July 29, in the village of Milwaukee in Ransom Township, the Borek-Pendrak family gathered for their biennial family reunion. Reunions are traditions that have continued since 1945, when the family gathered together to honor and welcome beloved veterans returning home from World War II, and are traditionally held the last Sunday of July on even-numbered years.
Roman Borek, Pasadena, Calif., reunion committee member, noted 130 family and extended family registered in the guest book and 65 prizes were raffled. Family members from 17 states traveled to Milwaukee to attend the festivities, which featured homemade food including pierogies, pigs in the blanket, chicken strips and other family favorites; musical entertainment by Lee Strubeck, "The Piano Man," with accompaniment by his wife, Sonia Strubeck; a singalong; games of horseshoes and volleyball and presentations.
This year, a special bronze commemorative medallion was unveiled, blessed by Rev. Jason Soltysiak, Polish National Catholic Church and distributed to family and friends who attended. Inscribed on the medallion: "Borek-Pendrak, Since 1898, We Are Family," reflecting the family's rich heritage and created with the hope that future Borek and Pendrak generations will carry on the torch .
At the reunion, Ed Borek said of his family's day together, "It (the reunion) is spectacular. The weather is fine and we have a very good turnout with representatives from 17 different states. It includes family, extended family, friends and invited guests and neighbors. We are very happy."
Among the other commemorative items presented were Certificates of Commendation observing the 50th Anniversary of the end of World War II presented to family veterans in July 1996; a comprehensive 190-page The Borek-Pendrak Family History in March 2000 to usher in the new millennium; and in July 2000, "We Are Family" T-shirts, which were made available to those attending the reunion.
Said Ed Borek, "The medallion is one of several commemorative items that represent the family's rich tradition."
Family members worked with representatives from Maxwell Medals and Awards, Industries in Traverse City, Mich., in the production of the medallion. Ed Borek said, "They worked with us diligently through seven versions…it arrived here less than 10 days ago. We're fortunate and happy it came for this reunion and hope everybody will keep it …the local pastor blessed it. We hope everyone will remember the past, present and future generations, perhaps with an evening prayer of 10 or 15 seconds, just to remember all generations of family members."
Helen and Roger Doty, Ransom Township, who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on Aug. 4, attended the reunion.
Helen Doty said, "There are a lot of people that have children and grandchildren who live out of state that we don't really get to see. It's just wonderful to see family."