The Friendly Fifth

Convention Follow-up

International Convention Summary

The 2022 International Convention took place virtually August 31 and September 1.

The 168 Delegates heard an update from International President Ron Stubbings and CEO Chris Pinkerton provided a summary about the business of the Foundation, Fraternal and Insurance areas of Sons of Norway.

Though the event was virtual, some of the traditions remained, like the Memorial Service, where we honor those International Board leaders who passed away within the past two years. We enjoyed cookie and coffee breaks, this time with the music of International Board member Robin Fossum on her Hardanger fiddle. Another video presented the American, Canadian and Norwegian national anthems.

One of the goals of the International Convention is to seat the new International Board members. The delegates were successful in seating our new Board. The new International Board members and International Directors are:

Executive Committee:
International President - Ron Stubbings
International Vice President - Mark Agerter
International Treasurer - Mary B. Andersen
International Secretary - Robin Fossum
5th Member* - Dean Stiller

International Directors:
District One Director - Dennis Rusinko
District Two Director - Chris Hicks
District Three Director - Kathy Dollymore
District Four Director - Claudia Berg
District Five Director - Duane Kittleson
District Six Director - Luella Grangaard
District Seven Director - Erik Brochmann
District Eight Director - Per Mikalsen

*Dean Stiller was nominated and appointed by the Board at the September 2022 Board meeting. Dean was also appointed to the Executive Committee as 5th Member.

Meet your 2022-2024 Board!

We are in the process of updating all the contact information on the website and other places. But in the meantime, meet your 2022-2024 Board of Directors!

istrict President- Cheryl Wille-Schlesser Vennelag Lodge- Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin A member of the Sons of Norway since 1999, Wille-Schlesser has served her local lodge, Vennelag 5-513, in many officer positions. She is currently the lodge counselor and the newsletter editor. She will be chairing this summer’s Kaffe Stue on July 16th. On the heritage side of the coin, Cheryl’s maternal great-grandparents were both born in Norway and immigrated to America in the late 1800’s. Sigrid Olsen departed from Rogaland, and Marin Phillips left Solvorn bound for the Midwest where other relatives had settled. They met and married in Stoughton, Wisconsin in 1899. She is a retired middle school science teacher and works part-time positions at the University of Wisconsin and for Bergey Jewelry in Mt. Horeb, WI her hometown.

District Vice President and Zone 6 Director- Wendy Kay Winkelman Shawnee Skogen Lodge- Cobden, Illinois I joined Sons of Norway in 2002 and quickly got started working on my Genealogy Cultural Skills Pin. Enjoying SON so much, I volunteered to be the Lodge Editor. Since then, the volunteering has continued to Lodge Editor, Secretary, and now President of Shawnee Skogen 5-689 in southern Illinois- District 5’s newest lodge! At the District Level, I have been District Public Relations Officer, District Secretary and now District Vice President. Sons of Norway seems to be in my DNA. Sons of Norway ROCKS!

District Secretary- Darlene Arneson Mandt Lodge- Stoughton, Wisconsin I am a Verona native and attended the University of Wisconsin- Madison and graduated with a degree in Agricultural Education. I taught high school agriculture in Cashton and when John and I were married in 1987, I taught at Cambridge until we were “having kids and milking cows”! We have three children, Lars (now 33), Jens (31), and Sigrid (29). After the kids were all in school, I worked for Wisconsin Farm Bureau for 15 years as the Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom coordinator. I left that position in December and work part-time for Moving Forward (helping seniors downsize and move) and the Wisconsin State Genealogical Society. John and I are very active in the Stoughton community. I have served as the Sons of Norway Mandt Lodge 5-314 President since 2002. I have served as the District Secretary since 2008. We are also active in the FFA Alumni, church activities, Stoughton Historical Society, Relay For Life, and work closely with our Stoughton Chamber of Commerce on numerous projects. We do not have a lot of leisure time, but we love to go to old-time dances (German polkas and waltzes) and play kubb.

District Treasurer- Nathan Nutter Shawnee Skogen Lodge- Troy, Illinois Nathan Nutter is an experienced data and software engineer currently working for the St. Louis Cardinals. He graduated from Illinois State University with a B.S. in computational physics in 2006. Bringing in-depth personal experience with financial record keeping, budgeting, and forecasting as well as a strong work ethic he is honored to serve as treasurer for Sons of Norway District 5 and the Nordic Legacy Foundation. He attends Shawnee Skogen, lodge 5-689, out of Carbondale, IL but lives in Troy, IL in the Greater St. Louis area.

District Publicity Director and Zone 2 Director- LaVonne Wier Fagernes Lodge- Galesville, Wisconsin Before retiring in 2009, I was with the Social Security Administration in LaCrosse for 22 years; preceded by 15 years working for the Dept of the Air Force in Minneapolis; Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA; and Antigo WI. I retired in 2001 after 20 years with the Air Force Reserves. My unit was the 934 Airlift Wing in Minneapolis. My specialties were in Supply, Training, and then the Chaplain Service. I am married to Leland Wier, and we live on his home farm in rural Galesville, Wisconsin. We have one son, Jack. We belong to Bethel Lutheran Church in Galesville, where I am a Sunday School teacher and the choir director. I belong to Fagernes Lodge 5-616 in Blair WI, and hold the offices of Secretary, Publicity and Adopt-a-School coordinator. My hobbies include sewing, cross stitch, singing, canning, growing flowers, and keeping in touch with our extended family. I have worked various part-time jobs since retiring. Recently I have been a baker during the apple season in the local apple orchards bakeries. My motto is borrowed from Ziggy: “Today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the Present.” I am truly blessed in so many ways!

District Cultural Director and Zone 4 Director- Judy Ghastin Norse Valley Lodge- Appleton, Wisconsin Judy is a retired elementary school teacher with experience in levels kindergarten through eighth grade also partnering with special education teachers to work with students with special needs. She now owns a retail business featuring Scandinavian merchandise and offering home-made bread by order. Judy has been an active Sons of Norway member since the late 1970s serving Norse Valley Lodge as Cultural Director, Social Director, and President. She has served on planning committees for District 5 conventions in Appleton, Marshfield, and Middleton. Judy belongs to Sognalag, Sognefjordlag, Vestlandslag, and NAGCNL in honor of her maternal great-grandparents, the immigrant generation from Sognefjord in Norway. She was elected to the office of Cultural Director in the spring of 2019 and has served in that capacity for four years due to the extension of terms of office during the pandemic. During the next two years of service, Judy plans to work closely helping local lodge Cultural Directors, continuing virtual classes in winter, and working with other District Cultural Directors to share best practices.

District Sports & Recreation Director and Zone 1 Director- Robert Fossum Døvre Lodge- Chetek, Wisconsin Robert Merle Fossum was born on May 1, 1938, in Northfield MN, just 100 years after his fraternal grandfather, Ole Johnsen Fossum, was born in Soknedal Trøndelag Norway. Ole immigrated to Meridean Dunn County Wisconsin. His maternal grandfather Anton Selius Gaudland was from Sokndal Rogaland Norway and immigrated to Norman County Minnesota. Both grandmothers were from Nord Trøndelag. Robert grew up in Northfield, MN just off the campus of St. Olaf College, where his father managed the college bookstore. He attended St. Olaf College and then earned a PhD in mathematics from the University of Michigan. He taught and conducted research at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign for 44 years. Upon retiring he and his wife Robin moved to Chetek WI where they now reside. His mathematical career can be marked by appointments to: The Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters (DKNVS), Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Fellow of the American Mathematical Society, St. Olaf College Alumni Achievement Award, among others. He was a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Oslo and then was a visiting professor there for a year. He has also had visiting positions at Aarhus University, University of Copenhagen, and the University of Paris VI. He served as Secretary of the American Mathematical Society for over 10 years. Since retirement to Chetek, he has volunteered for many organizations including Chetek Area Museum, Red Cedar Symphony, Waldemar Ager Association, Norwegian American Genealogy Center, and Trønderlag of America. His wife Robin and he have 6 children and 8 grandchildren between them, all of whom occasionally visit Chetek

District Youth Director- Elle Taylor Grønnvik Lodge- Green Bay, Wisconsin My name is Elle Taylor, and I am honored to be the new Youth & Zone 4 Director! Nordic culture has always been a huge part of my life, as I grew up in a “house-divided” of Norwegian and Swedish ancestry. Throughout middle and high school, I attended multiple Norwegian language immersion camps at Skogfjorden in Bemidji, MN. At the University of Wisconsin - Madison, I majored in Scandinavian Studies and International Political Economics. During this time, I received a scholarship to study abroad at the University of Oslo’s International Summer School. My love for Scandinavian culture grew into a love for travel and learning about all cultures around the world, eventually causing me to leave the world of Human Resources and become a travel agent. My husband, Mike (he has predominantly Finnish and Italian heritage) and I are college sweethearts. We moved around the Midwest for a while and enjoyed living the ‘city-life’ in downtown Chicago and Minneapolis. For the past 6 years, we and our fur babies (Siberian cats Leo and Sasha) have called Green Bay aka Titletown home. In my free time, I enjoy reading, kayaking, and playing board games with my friends and family. Thank you for the opportunity to serve the district!

Zone 2 Director- Tom Boudreau Elvedal Lodge- Nekoosa, Wisconsin Tom is married to Susan Boudreau, and they have three children and three grandchildren. Tom is now retired after working in a chemical plant for 36 years! He has been a Sons of Norway member since 1989. He and Susan have served on the board in a variety of roles since 1996! They are snowbirds and enjoy traveling to Orange Beach, Alabama in January, and February! He is a lifelong resident of central Wisconsin.

Zone 3 Director- Scott Wegner Mandt Lodge- Stoughton, WI Have been an active member of Sons of Norway Mandt Lodge for about 14 years. Am on the Lodge Cultural Committee, part of the Bingo crew, Elevator assistant, fire control in the Lodge kitchen, permit specialist for fish boils, Building Trustee and share Marshal duties with another member of the Lodge. Married to wife Janis. Have three grown children with families of their own and have 8 grandchildren between 2 and 11 years old. Pre-pandemic I retired as a Fire Chief after 38 years of Service to the Communities we served. Hobbies include woodworking, some carving, travel, cars, and beekeeping. Currently I am a sideliner apiarist, and we sell at local farm markets. I enjoy the Nordic culture and traditions and look forward to learning more about you and your Lodges in the Sons of Norway District 5 friendly 5th.

Zone 5 Director- Lisa Solak Skjold Lodge- Crystal Lake, Illinois I serve as President of Skjold Lodge. I am an archivist and currently is employed as part of the Archives team with the National Archives and Records Administration, Barack Obama Presidential Library. I live in Crystal Lake with my husband, two kids, and a dog. I serve as Chair on the Historic Preservation Commission for my city. I love music and reading in my spare time. Zone 5 Director- Connie Benson Kross Cleng Peerson Lodge- Sandwich, Illinois I have two married daughters, Christy, and Corey. Christy and her husband Tim, have grown sons, Drew, and Evan. Corey and her husband Greg, have one son Jack, who will be a junior at Sandwich High School in the fall. My husband, Chuck, passed away in 2019. I have made 3 trips to Norway with my mom and 2 sisters, Barb and Joni. We were lucky enough to connect with some Norwegian Cousins while we were in Norway, and they visited us in 2018. We hope to make another trip to Norway next summer. I am a member of Cleng Peerson Lodge in Norway, Illinois and attend many meetings of my sisters’ Polar Star Lodge, too. I am a retired educator of Primary age students and still enjoy working with youngsters. My sister and I have organized and planned a library program for the Yorkville Library called “How to be a Viking” which we ran for several years before Covid.

Zone 6 Director Bill Bultinck Shawnee Skogen Lodge- Cobden, Illinois I have been a SON member for 16 years. I was VP at Nidaros Lodge 1-001. We moved to AZ in 2007 and joined Overtro Fjell Lodge 6-153. I was VP and President there for 3 terms. I was elected as Alternate International Director in 2016. We then moved in 2016 to Southern Illinois and we started to work on creating a new SON Lodge. The Shawnee Skogen Lodge 5-689 was chartered in 2019. I was elected District 5 Zone 6 Director in 2022. I worked in the plastic injection molding industry for 42 years. I was a toolmaker, designer, Project Engineer, and Engineering Manager. I am retired now but drive school bus and tour buses on the wine trail for part time work.

International Secretary – Robin Fossum Døvre Lodge- Chetek, Wisconsin Robin Fossum, Dovre Lodge 5-353, Chetek Wisconsin, is the District 5 International Director. She is also serving as a Governor of the Sons of Norway Foundation, and for the past 10 years as president of Dovre Lodge. Following retirement to their second home in Chetek, both Robert and Robin became active is local organizations. Robin is currently the executive director of the Chetek Area Museum, and president of the Red Cedar Symphony. When the snow melts, she enjoys gardening on six acres and golfing with friends. 

Follow-up News from Convention!!

at the District 5 Convention, in addition to the 105 delegates and alternates, there were 41 non-delegates and 5 people who attended just the banquet or concert. In addition, there were 22 volunteers and 4 people who participated in convention activities who were there for the Sangerfest convention. That gives a grand total of 177 people,

Banner Awards
Best of Show- Fagernes
Best homemade- Løven
Best homemade runner up-Mandt Lodge

Cultural Awards
1 st Carol DeVito
2 nd Carol Culbertson
3 rd Barb Johnson

International Delegates
We were eligible for 23 delegates but had 19 elected to serve. The delegates approved paying the $100 registration fee for delegates. Information will be emailed to our delegates in how to register and for other members wanting to view the meeting, information will become available soon! Those members must pay their own $75 non-delegate fee.

The dates of the International Virtual Convention:
Date: Wednesday, August 31, 2022, 10 a.m. – 2:45 pm central time and
Thursday, September 1, 2022, 10 a.m. – 2:30 pm central time

Registration: $100 delegates, $75 non-delegates Our District 5 International Delegates

Our District 5 International Delegates:
Karen Eberhardt, Duane Kittleson, Karen Broadhead, Danielle Taylor,  Connie Kross, Dee Bumpers, Jim Herman, Cheryl Wille-Schlesser, Darlene Arneson, LeVonne Wier, Jean Busker, Donna Corcoran, Phyllis Skora, Carol Anderson, Sandy Olson, Nancy Anderson, Peggy Schroeder, Curtis Cleveland, Ev Engstrom

New Zone Descriptions in District Bylaws
Par. 2 Description of Zones

Zone 1- Loven 29, Valkyrien 53, Trygvason 220, Viking 625, Ulseth 670, and Dovre 353.
Zone 2- Wergeland 28, Jotunheimen 286, Solvang 457, Fossen 534, Fagernes 616, Rib Fjell 496, Elvedal 556, Norskeland 580, Myrmarken 609 and Vennligfolk 627.
Zone 3- Idun 74, Mandt 314, Vennelag 513, Nordland 544, Ostestaden 642. and Norsemen of the Lakes 650.
Zone 4- Fosselyngen 82, Nordlyset 183, Norse Valley 491, H R Holand 549, and Gronnvik 632.
Zone 5- Skjold 100, Valhall 168, Polar Star 472, Cleng Peerson 525, and Elvesund 593.
Zone 6- Nordkap 378, Sonja Henie 490, Sognefjord 523, Christian Radich 568, Scandiana 600 Askeladden 610, Circle City 614, Edvard Grieg 657, Arctic Circle 662, Vikings of the Smokies 677, Music City Vikings 681, and Shawnee Skogen 689

Resolution Action
#1 Failed: Viking Horns on Helmets

#2: Approved: THEREFORE, be it resolved that the 2022-2024 District President shall appoint a Special Committee consisting of but not limited to current District Board members, past District Board members and District Members at large. The committee shall meet during the next biennium and present a recommendation of proposed solutions at the District Lodge meeting in June 2024. The Task Force should include diversification of selected appointees to include past, present, younger, older, different genders and from distant geographical areas that includes a more all-inclusive demographic appointee (s).

#3: Approved: District Officer Compensation
• President $1,000 per annum
• Secretary $2,000 per annum
• Treasurer $1,000 per annum
• Vice President $250 per annum
• Publicity Director $250 per annum
• Cultural Director $250 per annum
• Youth Director $500 per annum
• Recreation Director $250 per annum

#4 Approved: Thank you resolution
Thank You Resolution # 4
Whereas: The 55th Biennial District Five Assembly is coming to a successful conclusion; and
Whereas: District President Andrew Johnson conducted the meeting with professional dispatch; and
Whereas: District Secretary Darlene Arneson has managed her office with gracious diligence; and
Whereas: The District Board has performed its duties and obligations in a timely manner; and
Whereas: International Director Robin Fossum has represented our District on the International Board with distinction; and
Whereas: Our Home Office Staff, Connie O’Brien and Emily Stark have updated us and was an integral part of this biennial meeting; and
Whereas: The seminar presenters were well received and did a fine job; and
Whereas: The Idun Lodge, being host to this fine assembly carried out their duties with diligent planning and skill; and
Whereas: The Parliamentarian Robert Schuck handled his duties professionally; and
Whereas: The management and staff of Marriott Hotel and Convention Center provided excellent service and accommodations; and
Whereas: The outgoing and current District Board members deserve our gratitude for their service over the last 4 years; and
Whereas: those who participated in the Walk-a-thons and donated gifts to the fund-raising auction are to be commended; and
Whereas: Thanks to the appointed District Convention committees and temporary officers is due; and
Whereas: Delegates, Alternates, and Visitors have given much of their time and talents to attend and participate in this convocation and much appreciation is due them; and 
Whereas: We extended best wishes to the Delegates to the Virtual International Convention from Minneapolis in August; and
Now therefore be it resolved: The incoming District Board of Directors extend our gratitude and thanks to any person or group inadvertently omitted from this resolution.


International Virtual Convention:

Dear District Leader
As we draw closer to your district convention which includes electing International Delegates, we wanted to provide some information that we know your delegates will need before the district elections.

The dates of the International Virtual Convention:
Wednesday, August 31, 2022, 10 a.m. – 2:45 pm central time, and
Thursday, September 1, 2022, 10 a.m. – 2:30 pm central time

Registration: $100 delegates, $75 non-delegates
Payment methods: Credit card or ACH from your lodge

The Sons of Norway website will feature a convention page for all delegates to access once they are elected; this will launch prior to opening registration. We will also schedule an orientation session in early August for first-time delegates to help prepare for the event.
We will provide detailed bios for individuals running for the international board. Between the first day of the convention and the second session, each delegate will receive an email with a link to vote for these candidates. Prior to the opening of day two, the results will be verified and the new board members and officers will be installed during the business session on September 1, 2022.

In late July we will be sending materials to the mailing address listed on the delegates' registration. As more details are available, we will send out another update to this group!

We are very excited to make this as engaging as possible and conduct the necessary business for the Sons of Norway!

Connie O’Brien
Director of Fraternal & Foundation Development

From: Lucy Ghastin- Idun Lodge Convention Committee

Thank you to all District 5 Sons of Norway members who attended our District 5 Convention last week at the Madison Marriott West. It was great that we could all gather together again after four years of being apart. I have received many positive comments on the event. In case you missed receiving an evaluation form, I have attached a copy you can print, scan and return electronically to Lucy via email:

Please return your evaluation by Friday, July 1, 2022. This form will also be posted on the D5 website.

Evaluation Form Questionaire