Rita Jelinek and her family began building a legacy with the NCSML in 2016.

We asked her to tell us a little bit about why she chose to make dedications for family members at the NCSML, and what those dedications mean to her and the family. Rita shared the story:

“We did the first dedication donation for my dad. His parents came over from Czechoslovakia, and we felt it was important to carry on his name and Czech heritage. And then my sister passed away in 2017, and we wanted to honor her as well. When she got her master’s degree she wrote a paper on the president of Czechoslovakia at that time. And she just dearly loved the Czech heritage. And her goal was always to get over to the museum with her children, but she never made it, she passed away at age 68 with leukemia.

Then, my husband’s father, we made a dedication to him and also to my husband’s brother, the Jelineks. We did that because they also were good Czechs, and we felt it was a good way to help memorialize them in some way.

In fact, my husband just took our granddaughter to the museum and found the picnic table and found some benches and the garden paver that have our family name. It’s nice to know that we can go to the NCSML and see their names, and remember them.

And the museum in and of itself is amazing because of the fact that it survived the horrible flood. I never in my wildest dreams thought they’d be able to pick the building up and move it, but they did. The museum shows where Cedar Rapids started and hopefully where it continues to go into the future.

It’s an excellent resource for those who moved to this area that are of Czech descent, and supporting the museum is a perfect way to continue on with that legacy. We love the knowing that our Czech heritage continues, and will live on for years and years thanks to the museum.

It’s nice to be able to know that your dedication is going to a good source and an important cause.”

If you would like to recognize someone special in your life, and support the work of the NCSML, we invite you to make a dedication during the Summer Dedication Drive.

All donations through Aug. 31 to the NCSML during the Summer Dedication Drive — gifts of every size — support the NCSML’s mission. Find out more on our Support page.

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