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Post 101 - Warren, MI

Written by Stephen M. Wichar, Sr. ; Updated by Oleh R. Cieply
UAV Michigan Post 101 was organized in Greater Detroit on September 14, 1983 by Stefan Fedenko, Petro Kapitanec, Myroslaw Pryjma, Wolodymyr Temnyk, Myron Woronowycz and Wolodymyr Zacharij. (Please see a separate account by Myroslaw Pryjma on how UAV Michigan Post 101 came into existence.) Its main purpose was to unite American Veterans of Ukrainian ancestry in the spirit of comradeship, fidelity, patriotism, to uphold the Constitution which embraces government and laws of the United States, to foster and perpetuate their Ukrainian heritage, and to aid their brethren in Ukraine to become a free and independent, democratic nation. Post members also dedicated themselves to preserve the memory of their fallen comrades, to provide help and comfort to veterans in distress, and to keep their membership informed of new developments in veterans’ affairs benefits. It was also agreed that any honorably discharged veteran of Ukrainian descent or who had a spouse of Ukrainian lineage and had served at least 90 days would be eligible for membership. During this same year, a Ladies Auxiliary was also established as a cognate organization with Post 101. 

A formal installation of Post 101 took place at the 37th National UAV Convention in Buffalo, New York, in 1984. Miss Mary V. Beck, a prominent Ukrainian activist from Michigan was a keynote speaker during the installation ceremonies.

Returning to Warren, members of Post 101 became engaged in many activities that could help in achieving their goals and purposes. They maintained a close contact with civic leaders, government officials and other veteran organizations.

Post members attempted to coordinate their efforts with other agencies as they related to the needs of Ukrainians in America and abroad. Veterans also corrected misinformation about Ukraine and her people. Post 101 supported all unified activities which was beneficial to the entire Ukrainian – American Community. One of the first major activities for Post 101 was taking part in the protests evolving from Miroslaw Medvid incident. Other dialogues concerned the deportation of John Demjanjuk, working with the “Americans for Human Rights in Ukraine”, and lobbying for a review of the Office of Special Investigation (OSI). Post 101 also worked with other veteran (Ukrainian Army) and military organizations.

In June of 1987, Post 101 hosted the 40th National Convention. With the Convention slogan “Democracy Liberates --- Communism Enslaves,” over 600 delegates and guests were honored by the presence of U.S. Army Tank Automotive Command Color Guard and the keynote speaker Major General Nicholas S.H. Krawciw, commander of the Third Mechanized Infantry Division in Wuerzburg, Germany. 

In 1988, the Year of Millennium of Christianity in Ukraine, Post 101 had grown in membership to become the largest Post in America. On April 14, 1989, U.S. Congressman David Bonior was installed as a member of Post 101, a Majority Whip holding the highest political rank of anyone with a Ukrainian ancestry. Post 101 was chiefly responsible for the formation of a second post in Michigan. On December 1, 1991 (Day of an Independence Referendum in Ukraine), National Commander Roman Rakowsky from Cleveland, Ohio presented a new UAV Charter to Commander Jaroslaw Bohatch , Post 34 in Grand Rapids, MI. After the Installation Ceremonies, Post 101 and 34 convened to form a state Department, electing Stephen M. Wichar as the first UAV State Commander. 

During special ceremonies on May 31, 1993, Post 101 unveiled a monument to honor Ukrainian-American Veterans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces, the Insurgent and 1st Division of the Ukrainian Army, and the Ukrainian Catholic Veterans Melnyk Post 645. Mike Ogrodnik spearheaded this project and John Jaciw, a renowned artist and sculptor from Windsor, Ontario designed the Monument. 

In 1994, UAV Michigan Post 101, under the chairmanship of Oleh Cieply, directed and developed the 47th National UAV Convention on June 16-19. During this Convention, all staff commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the Normandy D-Day Invasion. Brigadier General Orest L. Kohut, United States Air Force, conferred UAV medals on D-Day participants Bohdan Bezkorowajny, Mike Ogrodnik, and Michael Wengryn. 

On April 21, 1996, under the leadership of State Commander Stephen M. Wichar Sr. , Posts 101 and 34 unveiled and dedicated a Memorial Monument on the grounds of Fort Custer National Cemetery in Battle Creek, Michigan. Post 101 Commander Oleh Cieply and his wife Alberta (member of the UAV Ladies Auxiliary) were the originators of the idea of a UAV Monument at Fort Custer National Cemetery. Upon presentation of the idea to at a Post Executive Board Meeting, a Monument Committee consisting of Oleh Cieply, Michael Ogrodnik, Myroslaw Pryjma and Stephen Wichar was established. At that time Stephen Wichar assumed leadership of the Monument Committee. During the hosting of a National Executive Board meeting, all participants were able to participate in the dedication. Lt.Col. Miroslaus Malaniak from Buffalo, NY commanded the V-Pattern March to the historic marker, State Commander S. Wichar acted as the ceremonial programmer. Robert Poe, Cemetery Director, officially opened the dedicationm services. Special prayers for the occasion were read by Fr. Bernard Panczuk, O.S.B.M, former United States Marine Corps Chaplain. Dmytro Bodnarczuk, National UAV Commander, Stephen Wichar, Michigan State Commander, and Oleh Cieply Post 101 Commander were the principal speakers. The ceremonies also included two units of Honor Guard from Fort Custer who fired the ceremonial volleys from their rifles. Taps were sounded by the Cemetery Carillon. 

In the ensuing years following the forty-seventh convention, Post 101 has engaged themselves in numerous community activities. Lt.Col., Ret. Oleh Cieply, a perennial commander for this unit, has done an admirable job in organizing meaningful events. Currently, a great deal of energy has been applied to involve the membership in non-Ukrainian military events. Post 101 has also delivered a maximum effort in energizing the obtainment of a Federal National Charter. On October 26, 1997 the 50th Anniversary of “Akcia Wisla”, the 50th Anniversary of raid of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) units into Western Europe as well as, the 55th Anniversary of the founding of UPA were observed with a Memorial Concert. UAV Michigan Post 101 members Myroslaw Pryjma, Myron Woronowycz, and Oleh Cieply were members of the Combined Veterans Committee which organized this concert, 

On June 18, 2000 members of UAV Michigan Post 101 along with their color guard participated in a historical once-in-lifetime event, the Ecumenical Service, Moleben, to celebrate the 2000th year of Nativity of Jesus Christ. This service was celebrated on the grounds of St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Church in Warren, MI jointly by the Ukrainian Catholic and Orthodox Clergy for the faithful of both faiths. 

In September of 2000, UAV Michigan Post 101 hosted the 53rd National Uav Convention. The plans for the convention were very proficiently directed by Oleh Karanec, who proved to be a very able executive chairman and also the senior vice-commander of Post 101. Keynote speakers at the gala Convention Banquet-Ball were Colonel Askold D.. Mosijczuk and Major Roman Golash. Both of the speakers are U.S. Army Medical Corps Officers who have performed numerous missions to Ukraine and are highly qualified in their respective areas of expertise. 

WOLDYMYR ZACHARIJ
(History Of Founding of UAV Michigan Post 101)
(Written by Myroslaw Pryjma friend of Wolodymyr Zacharij and founding member of UAV Michigan Post 101)

This article is dedicated to the memory of the late Wolodymyr Zacharij, one of the six founders of the Ukrainian American Veterans’ Post 101.

Our Post was founded on September 14th 1983 at the Zacharij home on Eureka Drive in Warren, MI. For years Zacharij had been “pestering” some of us veterans to start a UAV veterans post in Michigan. We kept telling him that we were not interested, saying that we already belong to too many organizations. But Zacharij did not give up. 

On Sunday in September of 1983, after 8:30 Divine Liturgy he, as usual, started again “Let’s get together….” To put a stop to this “pestering” I told him I would come to discuss a veterans organization if he puts a bottle on the table, otherwise I am not interested. Zacharij said “Okay”, and that he would get others to come. 

At about two o’clock five of us (Petro Kapitanec, Myroslaw Pryjma, Wolodymyr Temnyk, Myron Woronowych, Wolodymyr Zacharij) met at Zacharij’s home. Stefan Fedenko, who could not come to the meeting, had also agreed to Zachari’s propostion to organize a post. On the table we found not only a new bottle of V.O. and other drinks, but also a home made pizza, compliments of Mrs. Olha Zacharij. After we finished the pizza, and other good food, and emptied the bottle of V.O. and other drinks, U.A.V. Post#101 was founded. 

On December 16, 1983 the U.A.V. Post# 101 was incorporated as a non-profit organization in the State of Michigan with Joseph Elnick as its first commander. The number for our Post was chosen as a goal to sign up over one hundred members. During the 37th annual National UAV Convention in Buffalo, NY in June of 1984, Post #101 received its charter. Wolodymyr Zacharij passed away on December 21, 2001. In his eulogy for Wolodymyr Zacharij, our current Post # 101 Commander Oleh Cieply mentioned that he, too, was talked into joining the UAV by Wolodymyr.

I don’t know how many more of our members joined because of Wolodymyr Zacharij, but the number is very large. In the beginning of our Post’s history we also had eleven members in Grand Rapids, MI recruited by Wolodymyr Zacharij. Even while hospitalized in John Hopkins Hospital undergoing treatments, the last few weeks of his life, Woldymyr still tried to get new U.A.V. Members. 

Wolodymyr Zacharij is gone but he will never be forgotten. His idea of the UAV lives in UAV Post # 101.

VICHNA TOBI PAMYAT’, WLODKU