Col. Casimir Lenard Honored
With the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit

PAC Washington D.C. July 17, 2007 - On July 15, 2007 Col. Casimir I. Lenard, AUS (RET.) the Executive Director of the Washington D.C. Office of the Polish American Congress, was honored with the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland by Lech Kaczynski, President of the Republic of Poland.

Lenard received the award for his life's work in the cause for Poland in a ceremony at the Polish Embassy in Washington, hosted by His Excellency Janusz Reiter, Ambassador to the United States of the Republic of Poland.

Polish Defense Minister ALeksander Szdzyglo (right) decorates Cas Lenard with the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit.

Lenard was one of three Polish Americans presented with an Order of Merit award by Polandís Defense Minister Mr. Aleksander Szczyglo. The other two were: retired architect Julian Kulski - recognized with the Commander's Cross with Star, and Professor Ryszard Michalski, with the Officer's Cross.

Lenard, born in Chicago, Illinois, was sent to Poland by his parents for studies and spent eight years in a Jesuit run old-classical Academy. In 1940 he joined the armed conflict in the defense of Polandís freedom. He "gratefully accepted the award not only in recognition of his efforts but mainly for the collective endeavors by members of the Polish American Congress."

Polish American Congress President Frank Spula flew in from Chicago to be present at the award ceremony for Lenard, who in 1994 and then in 2000,with his wife Myra, had received the Commander Cross and then the Commander Cross with Star bestowed upon them individually, by Polandís Presidents Lech Walesa and Aleksander Kwasniewski, respectively.

Cas Lenard (right) makes his acceptance speech. From left: PAC President Frank Spula, Poland's Defense Minister Aleksander Szczyglo, Polish Ambassador to the US Janusz Reiter.

"The Polish American Congress owes a great debt of gratitude to Cas' leadership and that of his late wife Myra" said President Spula. "We are pleased that the Polish government decided to recognize Cas, who is one of the pillars of Polonia and of better relations between the United States and the government and people of Poland."

Lenard was the Executive Director of the Washington D.C. Office from 1970 to 1974, and is currently since May 2000. It was mainly during Myra's tenure as Executive Director of the Washington Office from early 1980's to the time of her demise in May 2000, that great things were accomplished for the benefit of the people of Poland and the American Polonia through the teamwork of the Lenards.

Other members of the Polish American Congress leadership present at the ceremony were Mr. Ludwik Wnekowicz, Vice President for Polish Agenda; Ava Polansky, Vice President for Membership Development; Dr. Susanne Lotarski, President of the Washington Metropolitan Area Division; Dr. Barbara Borzuchowska Andersen, Director of Research at the Washington D.C. Office, and PAC National Directors Adam Bak and Thaddeus Mirecki, the last being immediate past president of the Metro Division and recently elected President of the American Council of Polish Culture.

Among other distinguished representatives of the local Polish American community present were Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Edward Rowny and retired State Department diplomat Leonard Baldyga.

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