On Sunday, August 23, 2008, Polonia gathered to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Czestochowa, Polish Women’s Alliance Day and Polish Apostolate Day at the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Doylestown, PA.
During the 12:30 P.M. Mass, the Pride of Polonia Award was presented to Chester Lobrow of Monroe and Linden, NJ. The award was presented by His Eminence Stanley Cardinal Rylko, from the Vatican, and Msgr. Anthony Czarnecki, National Chairman of the Polish Apostolate Committee.
The Pride of Polonia Award was established in 1992 by the Executive Board of the Polish Apostolate to recognize individuals who make unique contributions to the Polish people and are involved in philanthropic activites. The first recipient was John Cardinal Krol.
Chester Lobrow was born on July 20, 1944, in the town of Szczuczyn in Northeastern Poland to Mikolaj and Salomea Lobrow. He completed his education in Bialystok, Poland and studied business and food processing technology. During his studies he met his future wife, Jadwiga Jablonska, whom he married on October 3, 1964, in Bialystok.
In 1974, Chester was chosen President of the Interprovincial Association of Private Trade and Services in Bialystok where 4500 member-owners of small enterprises in three provinces looked to Chester’s leadership to help fight against unjust taxes, regulations, and refusal by the government to renew necessary permits, and for the right to buy supplies and equipment from government-owned factories and companies.
After many tribulations, Chester and his family were forced to leave Poland, arriving at Kennedy Airport in 1979. He continued his education and became an alumnus of Union County College in 1983 and since 2001, has served on the Union County College Foundation Board and its budget and finance committees.
Despite his vast experience in management in Poland, Chester initially found employment in a machine shop. Later he acquired the Severyn Fur Salon which he and his wife developed into the largest fur company on the East Coast.
Chester’s volunteerism and philanthropy includes serving on the Boards of organizations, foundations and civic groups, such as the John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, DC, and the International Order of Smile, an organization composed of children who represent over 30 countries.
He has received recognition numerous times for his civic involvement from the City of Linden, New Jersey State Assembly and Senate, New York City and New York State. He was the 1999 Grand Marshal of the Pulaski Day Parade in New York City and named Citizen of the Year by the Polish American World Publication in 2000. In 2003, he was awarded the Cavalier Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland and the Medal of the Order of Smile.