PITTSBURGH – The Ukrainian Technological Society of Pittsburgh (UTS) honored Iryna Vashchuk Discipio, president of Revived Soldiers Ukraine, with its Ukrainian of the Year Award during the organization’s 50th Dinner Dance on November 6 at The Club at Nevillewood in Presto, Pa.
The award recognized Ms. Vashchuk Discipio’s humanitarian zeal for the medical treatment and rehabilitation of the most severely wounded of Ukrainian servicemen through her founding of Revived Soldiers Ukraine, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in the United States in 2015. Ms. Vashchuk Discipio also founded Next Step Ukraine, a facility for the treatment of neurological injuries near Kyiv in 2019.
Since 2015, Revived Soldiers Ukraine has brought 48 severely wounded Ukrainian servicemen to major hospitals in the United States for medical treatment and rehabilitation. That treatment and care has amounted to more than $10 million.
Guests at the award ceremony included Volodymyr Kravtsov, vice consul of the Consulate General of Ukraine in New York City. Members of the Revived Soldiers Ukraine team who also attended the ceremony included Mariana Balash, Youlian Chaplya, Oleksandr Dishchuk, Olga Dishchuk, Anatolii Kruk, Yana Nedelko, Mariana Nosal, Roman Vengrenyuk, and Liliya Shmatenkova.
All of the guests in attendance were welcomed by UTS President George Honchar, who asked Ms. Vashchuk Discipio to come forward to receive her Ukrainian of the Year Award plaque, crafted by graphic artist Taras Davyda. The inscriptions were read by UTS Executive Board members Bonnie Lee Reinhart and Stephen Haluszczak in English and Ukrainian, respectively.
In her acceptance remarks, Ms. Vashchuk Discipio discussed how she founded Revived Soldiers Ukraine in November 2015, built up a team of 40 volunteers in major cities throughout the United States, and devoted up to 60 hours per week to its operations.
Despite the difficult work that has put stress on her family, Ms. Vashchuk Discipio said she feels compelled to help the wounded soldiers because they sacrificed themselves for the freedom of Ukraine.
Ms. Vashchuk Discipio introduced Leonid Ovdiiuk, a serviceman undergoing medical treatment and rehabilitation under the auspices of Revived Soldiers Ukraine. Originally from Luhansk, Mr. Ovdiiuk suffered head, neck and spinal injuries in May 2020 as a result of a mine that exploded while he fought against the Russian invasion. Speaking in Ukrainian, Mr. Ovdiiuk expressed the wish that after his rehabilitation, he could return to the front to encourage his fellow Ukrainian soldiers.
Led by Mariana Balash, a popular singer in the Chicago Ukrainian community, guests and organizers of the award celebration then sang Ms. Vashchuk Discipio Mnohaya Lita (many happy years), and afterward she was presented with a bouquet of flowers.
Very Rev. Fr. Mark Swindle, pastor of Holy Virgin Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Arnold, Pa., then offered an invocation prayer, and a benediction prayer was offered by Rev. Fr. John Charest, pastor of Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Carnegie, Pa.
Following the dinner, Mariana Balash gathered almost all of the guests to dance in a circle to the tunes of the Gypsy Strings band. Guests enjoyed the opportunity to participate in this dance new to the Pittsburgh Ukrainian community.
The following morning, the Revived Soldiers Ukraine team was invited by Rev. Fr. Ivan Smereka and Rev. Fr. Jason Charron of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Carnegie, Pa., to speak with parishioners during the coffee hour following their respective divine liturgies.
Ms. Vashchuk Discipio informed her audience of the work of Revived Soldiers Ukraine and Next Step Ukraine while team members passed out literature. The team members’ visit concluded with an automobile tour of Pittsburgh led by Mr. Honchar.
The team members, many of whom had not visited Pittsburgh before, expressed thanks for the wonderful hospitality shown to them by the Pittsburgh Ukrainian community. Readers can learn more about the work of Revived Soldiers Ukraine by visiting the web site www.rsukraine.org, and they can learn more about the Ukrainian Technological Society by visiting www.utspgh.org.