Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving, Hanukkah holiday greetings

         My wife Katrusia and I wish to extend to our children, grandchildren, great-granddaughters, other relatives throughout the United States, all our friends and neighbors, and Sun readers, best wishes for a healthy, safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday. In addition, to all our Jewish neighbors and friends here and in the greater New York City area, who will begin to celebrate their Festival of Light and Feast of Dedication, Hanukkah, this evening, we also wish you a happy, healthy and enjoyable holiday.

    Every Thanksgiving holiday since our marriage 61 years ago, with the exception of the two years I was in the Army, Katrusia had managed
to prepare a truly festive Thanksgiving dinner, including turkey and all the trimmings (the exception was apple pie instead of pumpkin pie!) for our family and, most of the time, two or three invited single individuals.

    This year, for the first time, our Thanksgiving dinner will be somewhat different, scaled down, due to Katrusia’s indisposition, and my culinary mastery falls short of my wife’s close to professional knowledge of cooking
and baking. Regardless of the size and the contents of our dinner, we will be thankful for all our blessings, and even challenges, as we did every year heretofore. We had to overcome many challenges in the past!

• • •

    While the Southwest Florida Ukrainian American community is commemorating the tragic death of close to 10 million Ukrainian men, women and children during the artificially created genocidal famine created by Joseph Stalin and his henchmen known as “Holodomor” (death by hunger) 80 years ago, and many communities in Ukraine and throughout the world stop to say a prayer for the repose of the souls of the victims, protests are taking place
in just about every city, town and village in Ukraine, and in many cities throughout the world. It’s a result of the Ukrainian government, comprised of mostly Russian-leaning politicians including ethnic Russians, and President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to discontinue preparations for signing the Association Agreement with the European Union. The signing was expected to take place at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Friday.

    The massive demonstrations (some observers see the resemblance to the peaceful Orange Revolution in 2004) involve mostly students and other young Ukrainians. The main
opposition parties’ leaders Vitali Klitschko, Arseniy Yatseniuk and Oleh Tyahnybok are with the demonstrators, but the students who are the main force of the demonstration, do not permit any party flags or memorabilia except the Ukrainian national blue and yellow flags, and flags of the European Union.

• • •

    Last week I was surprised and humbled by the “small celebration” planned by the Community Health Center of North Port Inc. Board of Directors in recognition of my service on the board. My advanced age and health issues, in addition to my wife’s serious health problems, necessitated my resignation from the board.

    Contrary to the announcement, the “celebration” was not small at all — there was a rather large special cake and other goodies, a laudatory speech by Dr. Linda Stone, CEO, and a presentation of a plaque with the inscription: “In Appreciation for Dedicated Service and Meaningful Contribution 2005-2013.”

    I am very grateful for the recognition, reception, plaque and all the nice things said by Dr. Stone and other Board of Directors members. I wish all continuous success in serving the North Port area’s residents in need of service.

    Atanas Kobryn covers the Ukrainian community for the North Port Sun. He can be emailed at 
Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians

by Atanas Kobryn

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Our Holodomor Billboard on US 41 (Tamiami Trail) in North Port, FL.
Driving on US 41 (Tamiami Trail) from the south (Port Charlotte, Fort Myers, Naples, and beyond) one cannot miss  seeing our  billboard on the right side just after leaving Port Charlotte.
This billboard is sponsored by the Southwestern Ukrainian American Community, led by the Ukrainian American organizations of North Port and vicinity.
Daria Tomashosky
Holodomor Committee Chair

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

‘Holodomor’ commemorated worldwide

    Driving on U.S. 41 from the south, one cannot miss seeing a billboard on the right just after leaving Port Charlotte. The billboard reads: “Ukraine Remembers — The World Acknowledges” and below that, “80th Anniversary of Holodomor 1932-33.” This billboard is being sponsored by the Southwest Florida Ukrainian American community, led by the Ukrainian American organizations of North Port and vicinity.
The worldwide “Holodomor” (literally translated, “killing by hunger”) commemoration ceremonies are honoring the close to 10 million victims of the artificially created famine by Joseph Stalin and his cohorts in 1932-33 in Ukraine, heretofore known as the “bread basket of Europe.”
Pulitzer Prize and Britain’s Duff Cooper Prize winner American writer and journalist Anne Applebaum recently said, “Holodomor became a model for mass killings for other totalitarian regimes. During the World War II years, using such methods, as in the 1932-33 years (isolation, complete deprivation of food), Nazis annihilated millions of Soviet prisoners of war. And even the Holocaust initially reminded this methodology — Jews were isolated in ghettos and left to die. Later, Nazis recognized that this method was insufficiently effective and expeditious, therefore, they began to use gas chambers.”
The commemorations will be varied and will be held in various cities in Ukraine and throughout the world, including 47 national capital cities. At New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral, there will be an ecumenical service, while in other localities, including in North Port, there will be “hunger dinners” ( a meal consisting of rye bread and unsweetened tea) in addition to prayer services in churches. Holodomor memorials have been erected in thousands of cities, large and small, in Ukraine and other countries.
There is a Holodomor memorial in North Port in front of St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center (known as the “Oseredok” to Ukrainians), 4100 S. Biscayne Drive.
A ground-breaking and keystone-laying ceremony for a Holodomor memorial in Washington, D.C., will take place in 2014 with President Barack Obama and Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych in attendance.

• • •

The monthly membership meeting of the Ukrainian American Club of Southwest Florida, headed by Daria Tomashosky of North Port, will take place tonight at 6 at the Oseredok. This change from the customary meeting day, the last Wednesday of the month, is due to the Thanksgiving holiday that week. The meeting will include, in addition to the customary reports of officers, the final report on the club’s Christmas party, scheduled for Dec. 8, and a report on the “Help Homeless Students” project.
Members are reminded to bring canned food items to the meeting. As in the past several years, the club is collecting nonperishables, which will be donated to the local Salvation Army food pantry. Cash donations will be accepted also.

• • •

The Ukrainian National Soccer Club’s winning match against France was a cause for massive celebrations in Ukraine. The enthusiastic singing of the Ukrainian national anthem by tens of thousands assembled at the Olimpiyskiy stadium in Kyiv was noticed (with a degree of envy by the neighboring Russians). One Russian publication stated frankly that “Russians could never sing their national anthem the way Ukrainians do.”
Atanas Kobryn covers the Ukrainian community for the North Port Sun. He can be emailed at
Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians
by Atanas Kobryn

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Veterans honor Susla commemorate fallen comrades

Highlights of the Veterans Day luncheon held Friday at Heron Creek Golf & Country Club by Cpl. Roman G. Lazor Post 40 of the Ukrainian American Veterans included a keynote address by post Finance Officer Col. Askold D. Mosijczuk, M.D. (USA Ret.), and the presentation of the “Post Commander Award” to Ann-Marie Susla of Englewood, president of North Port Branch 56 of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America, known in Ukrainian as “Soyuz Ukrayinok” (union of Ukrainian ladies). The luncheon was attended by more than 100 post members, their spouses and guests, some arriving from Florida’s east coast and from Spring Hill area in the north. They enjoyed a delicious sitdown lunch and desserts, with background music provided by accordionist Vladimier Szpiczka of North Port.Post 40 Commander Eugene A. Tomashosky of North Port did a superb job as master of ceremonies, introducing many honored guests, including North Port City Commissioner Jim Blucher (named mayor on Tuesday) and speakers Col. Askold
D. Mosijczuk, senior representative of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to Central Command of the U.S. Armed Forces at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Col. Andriy Sydorov, UAV national commander, and Past Post 40 Commander Ihor W. Hron, as well as presenting awards.

• • •

Last Sunday, Post 40 sponsored a “Panakhyda” (requiem service) for the repose of souls of all departed veterans at the conclusion of the regular Sunday divine liturgy (Mass) at St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church, celebrated by the Rev. Dr. Severyn Kovalyshin, pastor, and the Rt. Rev. Mitrat Archpriest Wolodymyr Woloszczuk, pastor-emeritus. The church choir, under the direction of Lubow Ingram, beautifully sang the responses and concluded the service by singing “God Bless America,” with the congregation joining in.
Post 40 took part, as it has done every year since its formation in 1999, in the community Veterans Day observance Monday at Veterans Park in North Port — the largest veterans group at the ceremony.

• • •

The Ukrainian American Club of Southwest Florida will hold its monthly membership meeting Nov. 20 at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center (known as the “Oseredok”), instead of the customary last Wednesday of the month, due to the Thanksgiving holiday. President Daria Tomashosky of North Port wishes to remind members that they should bring canned food items, as the club is collecting nonperishables for the local Salvation Army pantry. At the meeting, Halya Lisnyczyj, corresponding secretary and coordinator of the club’s “Help Homeless Students,” will provide additional information about the program.
President Tomashosky also reminds members that they should bring unwrapped children’s toys to the club’s Christmas party, which will take place at the Oseredok on Dec. 8. The toys will be donated to North Port’s “Toys for Tots” program.

• • •

The traditional fall picnic of North Port Branch 56 of “Soyuz Ukrayinok,” headed by Ann-Marie Susla, will take place from 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Thursday at the Maxine Barrett Park, next to Sharky’s on the Pier in Venice. In addition to a delicious buffet,the program will include singing, games and other surprises, all for $8 per person.
Atanas Kobryn covers the Ukrainian community for the North Port Sun. He can be emailed at

Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians
by Atanas Kobryn

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Ukrainian American Veterans Post #40 Luncheon 11-8-13 All of Ukrainian American Vets available

This is a gathering of all the members of the Ukrainian American Veterans, Inc. CPL. Roman G. Lazor Post #40 that were available for the celebration luncheon. 


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Veterans activities coming up

North Port chapter 56 of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America, known to Ukrainians as “Soyuz Ukrayinok” (union of Ukrainian ladies) and headed by Ann-Marie Susla of Englewood, held its monthly membership meeting Tuesday. Members were asked to come to the meeting wearing Ukrainian embroidery for a group photo for the UNWLA convention book. It was a very nice “embroidered” meeting.
On the meeting agenda was discussion of the traditional fall picnic, to be held Nov. 14 at Maxine Barrett Park (next to Sharky’s on the Pier) in Venice, starting at 10 a.m. There will be an interesting entertainment program, games and a buffet lunch prepared by UNWLA members.

• • •

The Ukrainian American Veterans Post 40, headed by Post Commander Eugene A. Tomashosky of North Port, will hold the traditional Veterans Day luncheon at noon Friday at Heron Creek Golf & Country Club. The tickets for this very popular annual affair were sold out, and none will be available at the door.
The luncheon program will include a keynote address by post member Col. Askold D. Mosijczuk, M.D., USA (Ret.) of Clearwater, art auction, 50/50 drawing and the presentation of an award to an outstanding community activist whose name will be announced at the event. A lunch menu with choices of chicken cordon bleu, top sirloin or fish in butter sauce will be served. Music by well-known “vlad” and master of ceremonies UAV National Commander Ihor W. Hron of Osprey will guarantee an enjoyable atmosphere.
There is a change in the place of “Panakhyda” (requiem service) for the repose of souls of all departed veterans. It will be celebrated Sunday at the conclusion of the divine liturgy (Mass) at St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in North Port, and not as announced previously. The change was necessitated due to the family emergency of a priest serving at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Church.
At 11 a.m. Monday, members of Post 40 will participate, as they have done every year since the formation of the post, in the community Veterans Day observance at North Port’s Veterans Park (next to the North Port Library at South Biscayne Drive and U.S. 41). All members of the area’s Ukrainian American community are encouraged to join Post 40 members in this brief (usually about 30 minutes long) ceremony.

• • •

Patriotic Ukrainians all over the world, including the Southwest Florida Ukrainian American community, commemorated on Nov. 1 the 85th anniversary of the West Ukrainian National Republic (Nov. 1, 1918); the 69th anniversary of the death of the longtime head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, philanthropist and humanitarian who saved hundreds of Jews, especially Jewish children from Nazi extermination, including the chief rabbi of Lviv, Metropolitan Archbishop Andriy Sheptyckyj (Nov. 1, 1944); and the 49th anniversary of the death of a close collaborator of Sheptyckyj, Col. Andriy Melnyk, hero of the Ukrainian Liberation War following WorId War I, Nazi concentration camp prisoner, and leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (Nov. 1, 1964), who also was my father’s first cousin.
Atanas Kobryn covers the Ukrainian community for the North Port Sun. He can be emailed at

Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians
by Atanas Kobryn

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