Thursday, May 29, 2014

Veterans observe Memorial Day

    Members of North Port’s Cpl. Roman G. Lazor Post 40 of the Ukrainian American Veterans, led by Post Vice Commander and National UAV Adjutant Col. Roman Rondiak, USA (Ret.), took part in the traditional Venice Memorial Gardens 24th annual Memorial Day program on Friday, together with other local veterans’ organizations. In addition to the presence of the Post 40 Color Guard, Col. Rondiak was a participant of the Parade of Colors (flags of various units who took part in the Revolutionary War) by carrying Rhode Island’s Regiment flag.

    Post 40 Past Post Commander, UAV National Service Officer/Chaplain and
local Marine Corps Detachment 948 Past Commandant Marian Bojsiuk of North Port led “The Pledge of Allegiance” and coordinated the entire ceremony. June Parker of Venice Memorial Gardens welcomed the participants and introduced the dignitaries.

    The traditional “Panakhyda” (requiem service) for fallen and otherwise departed veterans, sponsored by UAV Post 40, was
celebrated Sunday at St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church at the conclusion of the regular Sunday divine liturgy. Celebrants were the Rev. Dr. Severyn Kovalyshin, pastor, and the Rt. Rev. Mitrate Archpriest Wolodymyr Woloszczuk, pastor-emeritus. The church choir, under the direction of Mrs. Lubow Ingram, sang the responses, and after the conclusion of “Panakhyda,” sang “God Bless America,” with the congregation joining in.

    The Post 40 Color Guard (Col. Roman Rondiak, Dr. George Baranowskyj and Marian Bojsiuk) and the traditional candle-holders (Orestes Lazor and yours truly) led the members of Post 40, who occupied the center aisle of the
church. All rendered a hand salute during the singing of “Khrystos Voskres” (“Christ is Risen”), which was sung in lieu of “Veechnaya Pamyat” (eternal memory) due to the post-Easter period, which will last until the Feast of Ascension of our Lord, which is tomorrow.

    The traditional North Port community observance of Memorial Day at Veterans Park on Monday saw, as in the previous years, one of the largest veteran contingents, Cpl. Roman G. Lazor Post 40, led by Vice Commander Col. Roman Rondiak, USA (Ret.), present at the observance, with colors and presenting a wreath at the memorial. The wreath was presented by Marian Bojsiuk and yours truly.

    Officers and members of the post were pleased to hear Dennis Walsh, commander of American Legion Post 254, co-host (with the city of North Port) of this year’s observance, apologizing for the erroneous omission of UAV Post 40 from the official program.
                                                                                                                                                                               • • •

    Members of the North Port and Southwest Florida Ukrainian American community are relieved after learning the results of Sunday’s historical presidential election in Ukraine. Recognized by the U.S., European Union and all other democracies as a truly free and democratic election, the Ukrainians elected Petro Poroshenko to be their leader for the next five years.

    The disturbances
in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, perpetrated by the wellarmed, non-Ukrainian mercenaries, including Chechens trained, armed by and trucked in from Russia, with the cooperation of several traitors and some misguided local citizens, will be one of the main problems President Poroshenko will face. It is time now for the U.S. government to honor the three treaties signed by President Obama’s predecessors guaranteeing the sovereignty and borders of Ukraine. Ukrainians need body armor and RPGs; they will provide the boots on the ground.

    Atanas Kobryn covers the Ukrainian community for the North Port Sun. He can be emailed at 

Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians

by Atanas Kobryn

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Ukrainian Americans helping Ukraine

    According to Tamara Olexy, executive director of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America headquartered in New York City, nearly 200 volunteers have been registered to serve as monitors for the pivotal May 25 election in Ukraine to replace former President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled the country after massive peaceful demonstrations against his corrupt and anti-European policies and is now hiding out in Russia, and to replace the interim government that was established after the flight of Yanukovych. As of the Monday deadline, the Ukrainian Central Election Commission had registered nearly 2,800 foreign election monitors from several countries, including Canada, U.S. and Poland.

    The election monitors will be expected to report corruption (buying votes was not uncommon during the past elections in Ukraine), ensure that the ballots are secure and watch for harassment at polling sites. Many, if not most, volunteers from the U.S. are Ukrainian Americans committed to assist freedom-loving Ukrainians during this crucial election, while others are advocates for democracy with no ties
to Ukraine.

    At least one individual, the son of area residents, will be monitoring the elections. One son of Ukrainian immigrants from Chicago, who was severely injured while participating in the EuroMaidan protests and came home for medical treatment, not only plans to return to his ancestral homeland but he has asked to be stationed in the particularly dangerous Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine. Forty-nine people have reportedly been killed in Donetsk, some tortured before they were killed by the separatist “heroes” since mid-March. The Ukrainian American community of North Port and vicinity was very generous in raising funds for the humanitarian aid for demonstrators at the Kyiv’s Maidan, for the families of the fallen heroes of the “Heavenly Hundred” (the popular name given all peaceful demonstrators killed by sharpshooters ordered by now indicted former President
Yanukovych, although the number is well over 100), and for other causes. The local chapter of “Soyuz Ukrayinok” (union of Ukrainian ladies), Post 40 of the Ukrainian American Veterans, and other clubs and organizations, contributed tens of thousands of dollars either through the main office of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America or through the United Ukrainian American Relief Committee in Philadelphia, Pa. The fundraising continues.              
                                                                                                                               • • •

    Over the weekend, the Crimean Tatars and patriotic Ukrainians, defying the ban on assemblies imposed by the occupational rulers of Crimea,
commemorated the 1944 deportation of Crimean Tatars from their ancestral Crimea ordered by Stalin. Tatars were shipped in freight trains to Central Asia, where more than 40 percent died of hunger and disease.

    The Tatar community leader, Mustafa Dzhemilev, who was barred from Crimea after the Russian takeover, took part in the commemoration of the 1944 deportation in Kyiv, which was attended by several hundred people. Similar commemorations took place in other Ukrainian cities.

    Stalin had planned also to deport all Ukrainians, but he was told that “there are too many of them.” He had to settle on selective deportations, which, as it
turned out, included my entire family, all families of my aunts and uncles, and more than half of the residents of my native village, Volya Yakubova. Many, including my father and
all but one of his brothers, never made it back.

    Atanas Kobryn covers the Ukrainian community for the North Port Sun. He can be emailed at

Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians

by Atanas Kobryn

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Ukrainian American Veterans’ activities abound

     Members of North Port’s Cpl. Roman G. Lazor Post
40 of the Ukrainian American Veterans, headed by Commander Eugene A. Tomashosky
of North Port, met last Friday at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural
Center (known as the Oseredok).

    After listening to the reports of Post Adjutant Roman E. Kilar, Vice Commander and Acting Finance Officer Col. Roman Rondiak, USA (Ret.), Quartermaster Dr. George Baranowskyj, and other officers, and approving same, UAV National Commander and Post Past Commander Ihor W. Hron spoke about the activities and most current decisions made by the UAV National Executive Board. He spoke at length about the UAV National Monument to honor all veterans of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces that will be erected on the grounds of St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Cemetery in Bound Brook, N.J.

    The site for the monument has been donated by the Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of America and was formally consecrated last year. At this time it is prudent to re-emphasize the fundraising activity to pay all expenses for the monument and landscaping. N.C. Hron stated that he and other members of the NEB have developed a plan that will be activated very soon, but not later than at the next 67th UAV National Convention, which will be held Oct. 2-5 in Cleveland, Ohio. NC Hron believes that the monument will be erected by the end of next year.

    Commander Tomashosky then followed up with other activities of our post in the foreseeable future.

    PPC and UAV National Service Officer/Chaplain Marian Bojsiuk spoke about the traditional pre-Memorial Day ceremony at Venice Memorial Gardens on May 23. The formal ceremony is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., but Post 40 members (summer uniform, black scarfs) should assemble at the cemetery at 10:30 a.m.

    As in the previous years, “Panakhydas” (brief solemn requiem services) will be celebrated at the conclusion of Sunday’s divine liturgies (Masses)
on May 25 at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Church, St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in North Port, and in Epiphany of Our Lord Ukrainian Catholic Church in St. Petersburg. Members should assemble at least a half-hour before the start of liturgy. Uniform is also summer, with black scarfs.

    Post 40 will also participate, as in the past, in the North Port Community Memorial Day observance at North Port Veterans Park, near the North Port Library, on May 26. Time of the ceremony and other details will be communicated to members at a later date.

    After all agenda items have been satisfied, Commander Tomashosky welcomed two guests and potential members of Post 40, and asked them to introduce themselves. The Rev. Roman Badiak spoke about his experience in the service and his professional career
as a lawyer and priest. Oleh Sawkiw also shared his experience in the service and his career as a CPA. Both guests were warmly welcomed.

    The next membership meeting will take place at 3 p.m. June 6 at the Oseredok. The formal photograph for
the UAV Convention Journal will be taken at the next meeting, therefore, all members are being asked to wear the summer uniform with blue scarfs.

    Atanas Kobryn covers the Ukrainian community for the North Port Sun. He can be emailed at 


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Scholarship Award Luncheon another club success

     The eighth annual Scholarship Award Luncheon of the Ukrainian American Club of Southwest Florida, headed by Daria Tomashosky of North Port, was held May 2 at Heron Creek Golf & Country Club. It was another very successful club affair.

    After opening remarks, greetings and welcoming several special guests
including North Port High School senior guidance counselors Rose Beach and Lee Thomas,
a brief business meeting, and delicious luncheon, Daria introduced Professor Victor Lisnyczyj of North Port, chairman of the club’s Scholarship Awards Committee, and turned the business of running the program to him.

    Victor, after brief introductory remarks about the history and purpose of the Scholarship Awards Committee, introduced members of the committee (Christyna Sheldon, Ann-Marie Susla, Roxolana Yarymovych, Gene Tomashosky and Lidia Bilous), who then proceeded to introduce past scholarship recipients by reading their names, accomplishments and excerpts of some of their letters: Lillya Dzhuga (2007), Anthony Gustitus (2008), Vera Melnichuk (2009), Mateo Vidales (2010), Francesca Tebano (2011), Kailey M. Taylor (2012) and Katlyn Nau (2013).

    The 2014 recipient, Shayne W. McKee, was
introduced and asked to read his essay that qualified him to be the scholarship recipient. After reading, he was presented with the $1,000 award and a plaque by Victor Lisnyczyj. In his brief remarks, Shayne thanked the club and club’s Scholarship Committee for the award, and posed for a photograph with the entire committee.

    During the lunch, with accordionist Vlad Szpiczka providing background music, several guests made special donations to the club’s Scholarship Fund, which totaled over $1,000 — the highest amount raised during the luncheon. Both Victor and Daria were moved by the generosity of the lunch guests and expressed their profound appreciation.

    A contribution to the club’s Scholarship Fund can be made by writing a check to Ukrainian American Club of SWFL and mailing it to Nancy Wosny, treasurer, at 6167 Otis Road, North Port, FL 34287.

                                                          • • •

    The monthly
membership meeting North Port’s Post 40 of the Ukrainian American Veterans, headed by Commander Eugene A. Tomashosky of North Port, will take place at 3 p.m. Friday at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center in North Port.

    Commander Tomashosky is asking all members to attend this very important meeting. In addition to the customary reports of officers and members of the National Executive Board, the agenda will include the discussion and approvals of the post’s participation in this year’s Memorial Day activities (a program at Venice Memorial Gardens on May 23, “Panakhyda” at one of the Ukrainian churches May 25, and the Community Memorial Day observance at North Port’s Veterans Park on May 26). Another important item on the agenda will be the UAV 67th National Convention, which will be held in Cleveland, from Oct. 2-5. It will be hosted by Ohio Post 24 of the Ukrainian American Veterans, headed by Commander Bohdan Samokyszyn. The 67th Convention Committee is chaired by PNC Roman Rakowsky, a member of Post 24.

    Atanas Kobryn covers the Ukrainian community for the North Port Sun. He can be emailed at

Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians
by Atanas Kobryn