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GCU President / CEO June Report

June 22, 2022

Appreciating Family & Friends

As we all know, life certainly has many happy moments and certainly has many sad and challenging aspects as well. We were not offered a handbook when we were first born into this world that would guide us through life. We learn about life each and every day through mentors with the most notable influences coming from our parents, siblings, relatives, teachers, college professors, spouses, the pastor of our place of worship, our friends and everyday experiences as the list certainly can go on and on. Several books have been authored in assisting us in dealing with the challenges we are faced with that offer advice on the best ways to handle setbacks in our lives and how to be successful both personally and professionally. We must never forget also to call upon our spiritual relationship with our Lord to guide us through troubling times and give thanks and praise to Him for our happy moments and all that He has provided.

I am most grateful to have been born into such a wonderful family as my parents were my most important mentors as I give them great credit and appreciation for all they did for me through the years. They molded me into the person I am today. As they both have passed away, there is not one day that goes by that I do not think about them. As a youngster, I was most terrified about having to deal with the loss of my Mom and Dad. But in subtle ways, God prepared me to deal with this sorrow when the time came.

It can also be most difficult in dealing with the loss of family members and friends. Over the last two months I attended funerals for two of my aunts and two of my first cousins. Although the loss of a loved one or a friend is devastating, it is a time to celebrate their lives, the influence that they may have had on us and the many memories we share. I did enjoy getting caught up with family and friends I have not seen in a while. It is sad that the only time you may get together with family and friends is either at a wedding or funeral. Somehow, life gets in the way of keeping in touch, but I have pledged to attempt to stay in touch and not wait for a wedding or funeral to enjoy each other’s company especially in today’s world of technology. An email or text can mean a lot to someone you do not see on a regular basis letting them know you are thinking about them.

I participated in the GCU’s Spring Classic Golf outing at Seven Oaks this past Monday. I had the chance to once again be with my friends that I have not seen in a while. We all pledged to keep in touch and play more golf over the summer. I invite you to listen to the song and music video on You Tube “That’s What Friends Are For” featuring Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Gladys Knight. It should maybe have been titled “That’s What Family and Friends Are For”!

Staying with “the theme,” condolences are extended to the family of Mr. Roger Embley and his wife Marci Embley as he passed away in April. Roger served on the Board of Directors for 4 terms as he was initially elected by the delegates of the 38th Convention of the GCU held in 2000 in Louisville, KY and retired in 2016 at the 42nd Convention held in Atlantic City, NJ. I will truly miss him as he kept in touch with me even though he had retired from the Board.
As the GCU is a Fraternal Benefit Society that offers life insurance and annuity products, unfortunately we deal with the loss of loved ones on a regular basis. A part of GCU’s Mission is “Protecting Families” and that is exactly what the GCU does in providing financial assistance to the families of deceased members in time of need. GCU will continue to do so as the organization continues to flourish—our financials continue to be very strong reflecting increases in both life and annuity premium for the first quarter of 2022. Assets continue to increase and stand close to $2.5 billion. Surplus also grew by $6.8 million and now totals $216 million while net income after refunds and capital gains/losses proved to exceed last year’s first quarter and budget for 2022 through March 31, 2022 totaling $ 8.8 million, an increase of $2 million over the same period of 2021. Our Chief Financial Officer, Tim Demetres, will be presenting a complete financial report and commentary for the period ending June 30, 2022 in the August issue of the GCU Magazine. Our sincere appreciation to our members and agents as it is because of loyal membership and agent base that has enabled the GCU to experience strong financial results. Thank you!!

As I announced in the past issues of the Magazine, I will be presenting some “tidbits” of historical information in each of my articles, from our humble beginnings noting a multitude of accomplishments and challenging events that occurred that were successfully managed in celebration of the GCU’s 130th Anniversary.

Did You Know? Our Humble Beginnings

In December of 1910, a Gymnastic Branch of the GCU was established whereby members of the Branch were trained in gymnastics and demonstrated their talents before the delegates of the GCU’s 12th Convention held in Homestead, Pennsylvania in 1912.

The Delegates of the 12th Convention adopted Bylaws for the Gymnastic Branch as John Gocs was appointed as the GCU’s first Physical Culture Director.

As of June 12th, 1912, the GCU had 805 active lodges, 39,473 members and $ 332,857.25 in assets.
Three branches of the GCU were active in the early 1900’s, the General Branch, the Gymnastic Branch (Sokol Branch) and the Juvenile Branch.

A children’s newspaper was published monthly, “Children’s World” that provided articles about historic figures from their parents’ homeland, a sermonette appropriately geared to the issues and dilemmas most children face during their pre-teen years and a column devoted to some educational topics.

In 1913 an embezzlement of GCU funds occurred conducted by a GCU member and a GCU Officer that began in 1906 as an estimate of $11,000 was stolen.

In 1913, uniforms were chosen for the members of the Juvenile Branch that were patterned after the American military cadet and blazoned with the Uhro-Rusin emblem.

The GCU provided funding to families, individuals and children during coal miner strikes.

A Jubilee Celebration was conducted in Homestead, Pennsylvania on July 23, 1917.

In 1918, GCU Members were solicited to pay $.10 per month in support of the war effort and were encouraged to purchase war bonds rather than hiding their money under blankets.

At the GCU’s 1916 Convention a resolution was passed to purchase a 230 acre farm just outside Scranton, Pennsylvania in Elmhurst, Pennsylvania for the purpose of building an orphanage that was named the St. Nicholas Orphanage to care for and provide a home and an education in religious and a national atmosphere to orphans of deceased GCU members. The care of the children and young adults was assigned to the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great in June of 1923.

(The historical information presented above was derived from the GCU’s Publication – “Opportunity Realized – The Greek Catholic Union’s First One Hundred Years 1892-1992.”)

As I am a former resident of the town of Dunmore, Pennsylvania, a contingent borough to the City of Scranton, I am very familiar with the St. Nicholas Orphanage property. In fact, when I visit my cousins, George & Joseph Dunda, who reside in Elmhurst, I pass the property each time. In my Mom’s youth, she was a housekeeper for several clergy as one of her assignments was in a home located on the property as well that is also still standing. The orphanage is also visible from the number ten hole at Elmhurst Country Club. For players who never played the hole before, they would ask where to aim their tee shot. The answer was always “at the steeple of the orphanage”! So again, some great memories of my Mom, family and times that I will always cherish.

So, in closing, my best wishes to you and your family for a safe, fun and relaxing summer! Enjoy the spring and summer landscape that God has provided!

Please continue to pray for the citizens of Ukraine that God will continue to comfort them and provide relief from this atrocity and will hopefully end sooner than later! Glory To Ukraine!

George N. Juba | GCU President / CEO

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