Western Fraternal Life is a not-for-profit financial services organization that gives back to the communities where members live and work.
Western Fraternal Life has a rich history covering more than 120 years of fraternalism. In the mid-nineteenth century, millions of immigrants came to the U.S. to seek the American dream. For many of our earliest members, that dream meant buying and owning land. The hardworking Czechoslovakian immigrants settled together in clusters so they could speak with those who spoke their language and share resources. The immigrants soon found that they needed to protect themselves and their families from life’s uncertainties. Fraternal Benefit Societies began in the mid-1800’s as a way to bind those with a common bond (ethnic, religious, trade, etc.) and to provide support and opportunities for financial security. Our members began to form a fraternal benefit society, one that would allow them to share the costs of life insurance as well as promote their Czech heritage.
In 1897, members created this new society known as, “Zapadni Ceska Bratrska Jednota” or Western Bohemian Fraternal Association. The society would uphold the values they held dear; Truth, Love, and Loyalty. Those three words became the motto of our organization and have guided us in the decades since. The members believed that the lives of both men and women were valuable to households and became one of the first fraternals to insure women in 1899. In 1919, members also voted to insure juveniles. As years passed and Western Fraternal Life grew, membership was opened to all in 1947. Later, it became apparent to the Association that Western needed to change its name to reflect its inclusive membership. At the 1971 National Convention, members voted to change the name to Western Fraternal Life Association.
Members created lodges in their areas to celebrate holidays, host plays and dances, and speak their native language. The lodges became a source of support and camaraderie for members during trying times, such as the Great Depression and the World Wars. Western Fraternal Life’s lodges are still a source of fraternalism, just as they were in the past. Today, our lodge’s members give back to their communities by donating their time and talents to worthy causes.