Ukrainian American Veterans (UAV) Post 101 was founded in 1983. Joseph Elnick was the first Post Commander.
Post 101 Founding
UAV Michigan Post 101 was organized in Greater Detroit on 14 September 1983 by Stefan Fedenko, Petro Kapitanec, Miroslaw Pryjma, Wolodymyr Temnyk, Myron Woronowycz and Wolodymyr Zacharij. At the first Membership Meeting, Joseph Elnick was elected to be the first Post Commander.
The main purpose of the UAV organization is to unite American Veterans of Ukrainian ancestry in the spirit of comradeship, fidelity, patriotism, to uphold the Constitution which embraces the 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 dedicate 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 achieve their goals and purposes. They maintained 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 were beneficial to the entire Ukrainian-American Community. One of the first major activities for Post 101 was taking part in the protests evolving from the 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.
40th National Convention
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.
47th National Convention
In 1994, UAV Michigan Post 101, under the chairmanship of Oleh Cieply, directed and developed the 47th National UAV Convention, June 16-19. During this Convention, all staff commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the Normandy D-Day Invasion. Brigadier General Orest I. 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., Post 101 and 34 unveiled and dedicated a Memorial Monument of 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 for the UAV Monument. Upon presentation of the idea to the Post 101 Executive Board, a Monument Committee consisting of Oleh Cieply, Michael Ogrodnik, Miroslaw 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 dedication services. Special prayers for the occasion were ready 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 was the principal speaker. The ceremonies also included an 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 47th 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. Post 101 has also delivered maximum effort in energizing the obtainment of a Federal National Charter.
On October 26, 1997, a Memorial Concert was performed in observance of the 50th Anniversary of “Akcia Wisla”, the 50th Anniversary of the raid of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) units into Western Europe, as well as the 55th Anniversary of the founding of UPA. Michigan Post 101 members Miroslaw Pryjma, Myron Woronowycz, and Oleh Cieply were part of the Combined Veterans Committee, which organized this concert.
On June 18, 2000, members of Michigan Post 101 along with their Color Guard, participated in a historical, once-in-a-lifetime event, Ecumenical Service, Moleben, to celebrate the 2000th year of the 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 fo the faithful of both faiths.
53rd National Convention
In September of 2000, 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.
On November 2, 2003, Post 101 celebrated the 20th Anniversary of its founding with an impressive banquet at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Warren, Michigan. The banquet was attended by more than 200 guests. We had the honor to host our UAV National Commander, Mr. Mathew Koziak and his wife, Oksana. They made a special trip to Warren, Michigan to be with Post 101 Members for this landmark event, for which we were very grateful. There were other prominent guests at the banquet:
- Mr. and Mrs. Bohdan Fedorak, who was the Ukrainian Honorary Consul for the Detroit Metropolitan Area.
- Mr. and Mrs. William Dobbie, Department of Michigan VFW Legislative Director and Past VFW State Commander.
- Mr. and Mrs. Nick Lapajenko, Member of the National Board of Directors for the Non-Commissioned Officers Association (NCOA). Mr. Lapajenko is also a Member of the Executive Board of UAV Michigan Post 101.
- Mr. and Mrs. John Gubin, past VFW Fifth District Commander, and also a Member of UAV Michigan Post 101.
- Mr. and Mrs. Michael Chupa, a Member of the Warren City Council.
- Dr. Mary V. Beck, former President of the Detroit City Council and Recipient of the prestigious St. Volodymyr the Great Medal which was presented to her by the Ukrainian World Congress in Kyiv on August 18, 2003.
LTC Roman Golash, Commander of UAV Post 35, in Palatine, IL., was the keynote speaker at the banquet. Special plaques were presented to the Founding Members of UAV Michigan Post 101. (The plaques for Mr. Wolodymyr Zacharij and Mr. Petro Kapitanec were awared posthumously and were received by their widows, Mrs. Olha Zacharij and Mrs. Julia Kapitanec). As a token of recognition of outstanding dedicated service to the Post, a special plaque was presented to Mr. Miroslaw Pryjma. The banquet ended with a sing-along led by the Golden Bells Choral Group, with Mrs. Olha Solovey as their Director.
On June 30, 2005, UAV Michigan Post 101 members attended the City of Warren Dedication Ceremony for the new Veterans Memorial. Present for the Ceremony, was a large contingent of area Veterans who stood shoulder to shoulder with each other as the flags were raised over the site during the National Anthem.
On October 8, 2005, UAV Michigan Post 101 members traveled to Seville, Ohio to be the guests of UAV Ohio Post 24 of Cleveland, OH and participated in the blessing and dedication of Ukrainian Vietnam Memorial at the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery.
59th National Convention
In September of 2006, UAV Michigan Post 101 hosted the 59th National Convention. The plans for the Convention were directed by the Post Commander, Oleh R. Cieply and the Post Executive Board. The high point of the Convention was the gala Banquet, at which the keynote speaker was Colonel Leonid Kondratiuk, who is a Military Historian. A plaque was awarded posthumously to Stephen M. Wichar, Sr., for his outstanding service to Ukrainian American Veterans. The plaque was accepted by his daughter, Nancy Wichar.
On November 2, 2008, Michigan Post 101 celebrated the 25th Anniversary of its founding with a very successful banquet at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Warren, MI. This banquet was attended by approximately 150 guests. The keynote speaker was Mrs. Anna Krawczuk, Past National UAV Commander. We were very thankful to Mrs. Krawczuk and her husband Bernard for making this special trip to Warren, MI to be with Michigan Post 101 members for this landmark event. A letter of greetings and congratulations was received from the UAV National Commander, Brigadier General Leonid Kondratiuk. City of Warren Councilman Mr. Mark Liss presented the Post with a proclamation on behalf of the Warren City Council.
June 20, 2009 is a memorable date in the history of our Post. On this date, our Post unveiled and dedicated a Memorial Marker at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Michigan. This was the second marker to be installed by UAV Michigan Post 101. The dedication ceremony was opened by Mr. Richard Anderson, Cemetery Director and Oleh Cieply, Post Commander. The keynote address, which was written by Brigadier General Leonid Kondratiuk, the UAV National Commander, was ready by Mr. Miroslaw Pryjma, as the National Commander could not be present for the occasion. The religious service and blessing for the unveiled marker was performed jointly by V. Rev. Paul Bodnarchuk (St. Mary Orthodox Cathedral in Southfield, MO) and Father Mario Decechen, OSBM (St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Church in Warren, MI).
On October 3, 2009, a UAV Memorial Park Bench was dedicated at the Great Lakes National Cemetery. The bench is located next to the UAV Michigan Post 101 Memorial Marker. The funds for the bench were raised by the late Mrs. Alberta Cieply and the Ladies Auxiliary of Michigan Post 101.
During the years 2011 through 2013, several UAV Michigan Post 101 Members were the recipients of the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award, which is annually presented by City of Warren Mayor James Fouts. The Post 101 Members who were recipients of the award were Leo Cionka and Eugen Konziolka (2010), Miroslaw Pryjma and Roman Maksimowich (2011) and Raymond Prysiazniuk and Matthew Wroblewski (2013).
66th National Convention
October 4 – 6, 2013, The Ukrainian American Veterans held the 66th National Convention, along with UAV Michigan Post 101 celebrating the 30th Anniversary of its founding with an exquisite banquet that was held at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Warren, MI. This Banquet was attended by approximately 300 guests. The keynote speaker was UAV National Commander, Major Ihor W. Hron, US Army (Ret). Also attending was Tank Automotive Commander, Major General Michael Terry and his wife. Michigan Post 101 received letters of congratulations from: Ambassador of Ukraine, Washington DC, Olexander Matsyk, State of Michigan Governor, Rick Snyder, US Senators, Washington, DC, Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, US Congressman, 12th District, Michigan, Sander Levin, Michigan House of Representative, Jon Switalski, State Senator, Steven Bieda, Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel and City of Warren Mayor, James R. Fouts.
January, 2014, UAV Michigan Post 101 elected a new Post Commander, Matthew Wroblewski to take over the helm from LTC Oleh R. Cieply, US Army, Ret, who for 19 years, worked tirelessly and passionately as our Commander. There are no words to express the gratitude and respect Commander Cieply has earned from the members of Michigan Post 101.
April 24, 2014, LTC Oleh R. Cieply, US Army, Ret. received the Outstanding Volunteer Recognition Award from the City of Warren and Mayor Fouts.
February, 2015, Commander Matthew Wroblewski held the first Wild Game Dinner, which took place in the UCC Lounge. There were 30 people in attendance. This event became an annual fundraiser for the Post. Each year the Dinner became larger and larger. In 2018, there were approximately 200 in attendance. The guest speaker was Lydia Lohrer-Bevier a freelance writer for the Detroit Free Press.
At the National Convention in Chicago in 2016, Matthew Wroblewski became the National Vice Commander and Roman Stefaniuk became the National Welfare Officer, taking over the position which Miroslaw Pryjma held for 25 years.
The 71st National Convention was held in Whippany, New Jersey. Elections were held and Matthew Wroblewski and Roman Stefaniuk retained their positions on the National Executive Board.
Founders of Michigan Post 101
- Stefan Fedenko
- Petro Kapitanec
- Myroslaw Pryjma
- Wolodymyr Temnyk
- Myron Woronowycz
- Wolodymyr Zacharij