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A note from President and CEO Kenny Massey

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May 22, 2020

COVID-19 is impacting everyone around the world and every aspect of our daily lives: our social interactions, our family lives, our communities and our jobs. It’s also impacting Modern Woodmen members across the country.

Last week the number of Modern Woodmen member deaths due to COVID-19 crossed into double digits and will likely continue to rise. As this horrible reality begins to materialize, it makes me pause and reflect on how vital our mission, our true purpose, is for our members and their families.

I know the work we do at Modern Woodmen matters greatly. It matters to the widow who needs life insurance proceeds to pay the mortgage. It matters to the retiree who needs an annuity withdrawal to buy groceries. It matters to the single parent who needs a certificate loan because they just lost their job and don’t know when their unemployment check will arrive. It matters to the family faced with the unimaginable loss of a loved one. It matters in good times and bad. It matters to me, and it matters to our employees, representatives and members throughout the country.

Modern Woodmen continues to fulfill its mission, easing the financial burden for thousands of member families during this distressing time. We are here to help every single member who has put their trust in us. Committed and passionate in helping others – that’s who we are. I am proud every day to work for this great organization.

Take care and stay safe.

W. Kenny Massey
President and CEO
Modern Woodmen of America


May 12, 2020

There is nothing like May showers (and sunshine) to bring in May flowers. But those gloomy days can be hard, especially when we’re cooped up inside. I want to challenge your thoughts about happiness. I ask you to reflect on these 3 essential rules that help us find happiness, even on a rainy day. As this pandemic prompts us to re-examine our priorities and consider what truly matters, I believe these rules are a timely reminder for us all.

Rule 1: Have something to do.
People need a purpose in order to be happy. But some of you may be thinking, I have more than enough to do right now. You’re working, caring for dependents, checking in on family and friends, and taking steps to protect yourself and your loved ones. You’re doing your best.

Rule 2: Have someone to love.
You miss seeing your beloved parents or grandparents. You worry for your dear friend who has a compromised immune system. You miss seeing your best friends and co-workers.

One (or more) of those scenarios may sound familiar to you. This pandemic has had a profound impact on our relationships and the way we connect with one another. Whoever your “someone” is and however you stay connected, one thing is certain: our loved ones need us, and we need them. When we have someone to love and care for, we feel complete.

Rule 3: Have something to hope for.
A hopeful mindset lightens the burdens and sorrows that we all experience. Like you, I see the struggle in our community and around the world, but I also have great hope and confidence in the future and our ability to overcome today’s challenges. It’s critical to have a hopeful spirit in order to experience happiness.

As always, take care and stay safe. Have a great week.

W. Kenny Massey
President and CEO
Modern Woodmen of America



May 6, 2020

This pandemic has given us plenty of reasons to feel scared, anxious, stressed, tired and sad. It can be difficult to find room for happiness and gratitude. But it’s when life feels too big to handle, too unpredictable and uncertain, that we need thankfulness most.

Children’s author Douglas Wood once wrote, “The heart that gives thanks is a happy one, for we cannot feel thankful and unhappy at the same time.”

So this week, I have an assignment for you. I want you to take a few minutes to think about what you’re most thankful for right now, however simple or unexpected. Count your blessings, one by one, as you write them down on a piece of paper. Put the list somewhere visible, maybe on your fridge or somewhere in your workspace. Then look at your list each day – especially the hard days – and remind yourself of the good in your life.

I’ll go first. Here are five things I’m especially thankful for right now:
• My family. All this time at home means extra time to contact my loved ones. I’m really thankful for our conversations and time together.
• Good health. This pandemic has made me so thankful for my health and the health of my family, friends and co-workers.
• Stable employment. We’re blessed to work for such a strong organization that truly cares about its people.
• Medical professionals. I’m grateful for the brave doctors, nurses and health care workers providing critical care on the front lines. Many of you have relatives and friends in these positions, and I salute every one of them.
• The Modern Woodmen family. They’re doing an amazing job, proving once again that Modern Woodmen employees, representatives and members are simply the best. Thank you.

As you cultivate a habit of thankfulness, your list may continue to grow. Over the weekend, with this gorgeous spring weather and the joyfulness it brings, my list ballooned to 21 items. I encourage you to spend some time outside each day, if you can. As you look around, I’m sure you’ll find a few more reasons to give thanks.

Take care and stay safe.

W. Kenny Massey
President and CEO
Modern Woodmen of America


April 28, 2020

At the start of 2020, none of us could have imagined just how abruptly and drastically life would change. We’ve never seen a virus spread so swiftly. We’ve never seen our economy grind to such a complete halt. And we’ve never seen such an extraordinary surge of human compassion and unity.

Like you, I worry about my family, friends, co-workers and neighbors. My wife and I especially worry for our aging parents, who live far away. Our spiritual faith does give some relief for this anxiety, but there’s no playbook for how to handle a global pandemic. Empathy and understanding are needed now more than ever. When it comes to helping others, we must listen to our hearts.

If you don’t know where to start, pick up the phone and call a relative, neighbor or retiree who lives alone. I think of my mother-in-law in assisted living down in Mississippi – the only person she sees each day is the woman who delivers her meals. Calls from family mean so much to her. Don’t underestimate the power of a kind word. Your message of encouragement can make a world of difference to someone who’s isolated.

Speaking of making a difference, I’m pleased to share that Modern Woodmen has now donated over $700,000 to nonprofit organizations in local communities through our COVID-19 Relief Program – and that number is growing. And a few weeks ago, we gave $25,000 to the Quad Cities Disaster Recovery Fund to support efforts here at home.

Have a great week. Take care and stay safe.

W. Kenny Massey
President and CEO
Modern Woodmen of America


April 17, 2020

Lately I’ve been pondering the idea that positive motion leads to positive emotion. It’s about making sure our actions are moving us forward. When we have a goal and a sense of purpose, we feel more joyful and fulfilled.

Many of you with more time at home are in a unique position to pursue new goals. You could take up a hobby or learn a new language. Read a book you’ve always wanted to read. Learn to play a musical instrument. Clean out the garage. Start an exercise routine. Talk to your spouse and lay out plans for the future. Set a goal and go after it.

If you feel consumed by the constant stream of coronavirus coverage, you’re not alone. That’s why I recently limited myself to two trusted sources, and I took a break from news over the Easter weekend. It’s important to stay informed – just don’t let the news or social media consume your life.

I encourage you to find the positive motion – big or small – that propels you forward and brings even more purpose to your life. Read, study, set goals, get moving, think deeply.

Have a wonderful weekend with your families. Stay healthy and safe.

W. Kenny Massey
President and CEO
Modern Woodmen of America


April 10, 2020

While we’ve been gripped by COVID-19, taking each day as it comes, spring has quietly sprung here in the Midwest, where Modern Woodmen is headquartered. Although this Easter will be very different, with churches closed and gatherings suspended around the world, we still have cause to rejoice.

It’s been remarkable to see our communities come together to build a plan for the future. In our hometown this past Monday, the Quad Cities Community Foundation held a virtual fundraiser for the Quad Cities Disaster Recovery Fund. Quad Cities residents raised $102,376 in one day – and each dollar will be matched by a group of local businesses and individuals (including Modern Woodmen).

In addition to our local efforts, Modern Woodmen is proud to make $2.5 million available for our chapters and youth service clubs across the nation to donate to community organizations through the COVID-19 Relief Program.

It’s an important reminder that spring – and the Easter season – is all about life, rebirth, promise and love. This year, spring seems more precious and reassuring than ever before.

So here’s to finding joy and keeping the faith. I hope you take time to recharge, enjoy the outdoors, and spend time with your family and loved ones. Those human connections (even when virtual) are what will get us through this crisis. Hope and life will always triumph.

May this Easter weekend bring you peace, love, comfort and good health.

From my family to yours,

W. Kenny Massey
President and CEO
Modern Woodmen of America


April 3, 2020

First and foremost: I hope you and your families are safe and healthy. My prayers go out to everyone suffering from coronavirus – and to the brave health care and emergency workers who are keeping us safe every day.

What's happening around the world is unsettling, and at times downright scary. No matter where you’re from, COVID-19 has impacted our communities, our families and relationships, and nearly every aspect of our lives. We're all in uncharted territory.

In the past few weeks, I've seen great work across our organization as our employees and representatives have swiftly and creatively adapted to working from home (90% are doing so) to continue serving our members and each other. I am so incredibly proud to work alongside these great people.

To help meet immediate needs in member communities impacted by COVID-19, we’ve introduced a relief program giving our chapters and youth service clubs access to up to $2.5 million for direct monetary donations to local organizations. I look forward to seeing Modern Woodmen's nationwide impact in the coming weeks and sharing that impact with you.

To everyone, take heart, I know Modern Woodmen was built for this. We are built to handle uncertainties, and we've weathered many in the past 137 years, including world wars, disease outbreaks, depressions and recessions. We've learned and grown over the years, and our forward momentum will continue.

As always, we'll continue to make decisions based on facts, not fears or emotions, and with an optimistic eye to an even brighter future. We'll always be here for our members – and for one another.

W. Kenny Massey
President and CEO
Modern Woodmen of America


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