NP-UN Western Bureau.
Nine Hetman Awards, four Exemplary Volunteer honours and one Executive Award were presented by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Alberta Provincial Council at a banquet held at St. John’s Cultural Centre in Edmonton, October 6.
A special Executive Award, which has only been handed out three times earlier was presented to Edmonton Strathcona MP Linda Duncan for her support of Ukraine and our community. (See separate story)
In 1998, the UCC-Alberta Provincial Council initiated the Annual Hetman Awards to acknowledge significant volunteer achievements of outstanding Ukrainian Albertans. The Annual Hetman Awards are dedicated to the celebration of all volunteers who have chosen to give their time, effort and expertise in order to keep our Ukrainian Canadian community in Alberta strong, vibrant and active.
In the Youth Category the awardees were:
Lianna Makuch, an enthusiastic ambassador of the Ukrainian community; she has encouraged and successfully engaged countless individuals in the Ukrainian experience. She has a perfect blend of professionalism and enthusiasm which has made her a powerful voice for the Ukrainian community. She has masterfully used the arts as a vehicle to create and promote awareness. And while her initial project was significant, she has expanded the project to include multiple elements to compliment and give strength to the project.
Laryssa Szmihelsky has volunteered her time with the Ukrainian Youth Association, CYM, Edmonton Branch, for over 10 years. She has held many different positions throughout these last 10 years, first starting out as a youth counselor, moving on to Bulavna, then Communications Coordinator and then President for the last three years. She has held a number of committee positions including leading a 3-day National Annual General Meeting and Banquet.
From a young age, Mike Wowk found an interest in leading and engaging the Ukrainian Community which lead to his involvement in many large Ukrainian organizations across Edmonton and Canada. Understanding the necessity of volunteers who are willing to sacrifice countless hours for the betterment of the Ukrainian society, Mike Wowk stepped up almost 12 years ago to not only engage in the Ukrainian organizations he was apart of but to begin leading them.
Those honored in the Adult Category were:
Daria Luciw, who is the very embodiment of the adage that when something needs to get done, ask the person who is already impossibly busy. Dedicated to her heritage, Daria has always been a volunteer in the Ukrainian community. She began working on UCC APC projects in 2004 leading the successful fundraising effort to send election observers to Ukraine. Joining the Board initially as Vice and then President, her many accomplishments include her assistance with the Holodomor Act Bill 37, initiation of the Stelmach House project, and spearheading the national Congress of Ukrainian Canadians in Edmonton in 2010. As a member of the national UCC Executive for 6 years and determined to share the depth of our community in Alberta, Daria eagerly lead the committee to raise the bar for the Congress and showcase some of what we have to offer in our province. She also continues to help with raising funds for the Ukrainian bilingual program as president of UBLA.
Tim Baydala has been a member of and volunteer with the Vegreville Cultural Association for over 25 years, more than half the lifetime of the festival which is in its’ 46th year. During this time he has earned the respect of all those with whom he has worked as a dedicated leader and volunteer. His natural leadership capabilities have kept him in the position of Grandstand Chairman for the past 22 years. In this role, he dedicates himself to produce outstanding shows every year — within budget and efficiently run. Along with his wife, Tim taught hundreds of dancers in at least 6 communities in rural Alberta, incorporating regional areas of Ukraine and ensuring the students learned of the origins of what makes all the regions different and significant.
Bohdan Horich has always been an instrumental and enthusiastic member of every organization, society or committee which he has served in our community. Bohdan distinguishes himself as a strategic thinker and admirable professional, whose knowledge and skills continue to benefit those who have the chance to work with him. On the local community level, Bohdan’s bank of creative ideas for flourishing and improvement of the work of many Ukrainian organizations is a true gem. Importantly, Bohdan puts his ideas into action through well-crafted implementation plans he actively develops.
Ulana Soletsky has been a volunteer her entire life. Raised in a family, who were one of the founders of the Ukrainian Youth Unity Complex, volunteerism was just part of life. She involved herself in fundraising activities to build the Complex such as bingos, casinos, and working at the Ukrainian food kiosk during Klondike Days. From her youth Ulana was a member of the Ukrainian Youth Association (UYA) – Edmonton Branch. Here, she led a youth group, organized summer and winter camps, and took various positions within the UYA executive. Over four years, Ulana was the director for the Verkhovyna Dance School. With her background in Ukrainian dance, she structured the groups according to age and skill, planned performances, and initiated the design and sewing of costumes.
In the Seniors Category the awardees were:
Evelyn Cook, who has been and continues to be a dedicated volunteer with the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada (UCWLC), St. Basil Branch and Edmonton Eparchy Executive, mainly Museum Committee, as well as with St. Basil Parish. Evelyn was and continues to be instrumental in all three organizations in leadership and volunteering of her time and talents. She has been a member of the UCWLC St. Basil Branch for forty years, serving as President, Secretary, various committees, e.g., Spiritual, Cultural, Archival and Bazar, proudly promoting the Ukrainian Religion and Culture. On the parish level, she served on Parish Council and Board of Management. She also served with the Cultural Centre organizing a very successful 35 year Camp Reunion.
Mary Bereziuk, who has made a tremendous contribution to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church and to the Ukrainian community in Calgary as a whole. Mary and her husband Mike were always actively involved in the Ukrainian community. In early 1987, at the church AGM Mary volunteered to take on the position of Parish Council President, at a time when no one else in the membership was willing to take this position on. This feisty petit grandmother ventured into what at the time was a man’s world and became the first woman parish council president in the 94-year history of the church. Mary served as parish council President for five years, from 1987 to 1992.
The Exemplary Volunteers honored were:
Barbara Olynyk, who as a member of St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Parish for 45 years and a member of the St. Nicholas UCWLC (Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada) Branch for 44 years, Barbara Olynyk personifies the exceptional volunteer. In the early years, she contributed to the parish by teaching catechism and First Holy Communion classes and prepared children for St. Nicholas Day (Святого Миколая) performances. As UCWLC member, Barb held many executive positions such as treasurer, secretary, vice-president, and president for several terms. She’s convened Bishop’s Teas, fall teas, many pyrohy bees and some paska bees, assisted with some children’s workshops, and is a funeral lunch committee convener. In addition to being a current executive member, she is a member of the Outreach Committee that visits the ill, mourning or lonely.
Eugene Luchka and wife, Ollie, joined St. Andrew’s Sobor UOCC parish in 1968 and his membership continues till today. Eugene took on the position of treasurer for many years. Luchka became president in 1975. His most outstanding and invaluable achievement was in 1993 when he accepted the position of Project Manager in the construction of the atrium and office complex, the handicap washroom, the elevator and other related projects. This vastly improved and made more beautiful the St. Andrew’s Sobor Parish Complex. In 2007 to 2015 he again volunteered as project manager within the Facilities Enhancement Committee which resulted in projects such as parking facilities expansion. In 2018 he chaired the Facilities Enhancement Committee and oversaw the reroofing of the Church and Cultural Building.
Rosemarie Nahnybida is a dedicated member of the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada, Eparchy of Edmonton for 29 years serving on Branch, Eparchy and National levels of the organization. She has shared her talents, knowledge and experience at Branch and Eparchial roles and served in the role of Vice President in 1997-1999 and 2011–2013, Legislation and Social Development Committee for seven years, Verification and Cultural Cookbook committees. She is a strong supporter of Social Justice issues in Canada and Ukraine and has served on the Legislation Committee for several years. Rosemarie is an eloquent reporter for the UCWLC Nasha Doroha National magazine serving as Coordinator and Press Reporter for over twenty years.
Violet Kully has been devoted to both Church and Community work dating back to the early 1960s, during the building of the Ukrainian National Home (Narodnyi Dim) in Mundare. Her many accomplishments include: Secretary of “The Building Fund Group,”she also was an enthusiastic fundraiser, in a voluntary capacity. Violet helped raise money to cover construction costs of a new and bigger hall; she was Founding Member of the Mary Immaculate Hospital Auxiliary in Mundare (under the auspices of Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate, SSMI). Violet served from 1972 to 2003, and was awarded a lifetime membership; Teacher of Christian Ethics for Grades 5 and 7 in public school in Mundare for 20 years (1974-1994); Local Director of The National Farmers’ Union located in Mundare in 1971. (As a farmer, Violet’s goal was to improve the life of farmers, many of whom were Ukrainian.) Violet was a UCWLC member for a total of 57 years.