Ukrainian American Vetrans (UAV) Post 17 was founded in 1963. The post maintains its headquarters at the Ukrainian National Home, 237 Hope Avenue in Passaic, NJ. John Andrievich was the first Post Commander.
A dream to organize a New Jersey Post of the Ukrainian American Veterans living in Bergen and Passaic Counties came true after a general meeting was held at the Ukrainian Center in Passaic on March 10, 1963.
A temporary committee was selected, consisting of Eugene Sagasz (chairman), John Andrievich and Michael Nakonechny (member at large). The Committee worked with Very Reverend Wladimir Bilinsky of St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church and Very Reverend Theo Forosty of Holy Ascension Ukrainian Orthodox Church, to commence the task of a membership drive.
On April 7, 1963 a charter meeting of invited veterans was held at the Ukrainian Center together with National Commander Matthew Pope, Senior Vice Commander Stephen Shegda and NJ Post 6 Commander Walter Bodnar. Commander Pope outlined the functions of the national organization and stated that the charter for the new Ukrainian American Veterans (UAV) Post 17 of Passaic, NJ had been approved at the UAV National Executive Board meeting on 30 March 1963. John Andrievich was elected as the first post Commander.
Events and Activities
Post 17 immediately became an integral part of the active Ukrainian American community. The Post became a member of the local Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA) as well as the Ukrainian Center.
The Post contributed generously to the needs of various Ukrainian organizations and churches, as well as American organizations. Recently, the Post responded to the request of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America, for aid to financially-needy students in Brazil. The Post also established its own Welfare Fund in conjunction with the UAV National Welfare Fund to assist needy veterans of Post 17.
During its existence, the Post has participated in many local and national functions, highlighted by the following events
- Jubilee of the City of Clifton, 4 June, 1964
- Plaque unveiling of Taras Shevchenko Park in Passaic, 7 June 1964
- Unveiling of the Taras Shevchenko monument in Washington, DC, 27 June 1964
- Demonstrated in Passaic to raise awareness about the 1932-33 famine in Ukraine, 24 September 1978
- Annual proclamations of independence of Ukraine during the months of January and August at the Clifton, Passaic and Paterson city halls
- Visited veterans at the Veterans Administration Hospital in West Orange
- Attended banquets of local Ukrainian organizations
- Held annual Memorial services for deceased veterans at local cemeteries
- Donated money to local charities
Post 17 Headquarters
Post 17 maintains its permanent Headquarters at the Ukrainian National Home, 237 Hope Avenue in Passaic.
The experience gained by the many officers of Post 17 was recognized, and the following members were elected officers of the UAV National Executive Board.
- Eugene Sagasz, National Commander (1966-67)
- Michael Wengryn, National Commander (1972-73)
- Andrew Keybida
- Mary Wolkins
- Frank Nakonechny
- Walter Maik
- Walter Halchak
- Andrew Matz
- Walter Horrer
Members are also active in the UAV New Jersey State Department, with John Andrievich elected as the first NJ State Commander in 1967.
Post 17 Monument
In 1987, Post 17 purchased a plot at Cedar Lawn Cemetery and erected a monument, which is dedicated to honor the deceased veterans of the Post and deceased Ukrainian American servicemen from Bergen and Passaic Counties.
The dedication ceremony took place May 30, 1987 before a capacity crowd of members and many local Ukrainian organizations. Clifton Mayor Gloria Kolodziej was the keynote speaker. The committee appointed to oversee the project included: Walter Maik, Michael Wengryn, Walter Kupecky, and John Hromyk.
Post 17 Ladies Auxiliary
The Ladies Auxiliary of Post 17 was organized on 24 September 1978 with the assistance of Frances Shegda from the Philadelphia Ladies Auxiliary. Maria Malik was elected as the first President of the Ladies Auxiliary. Several members have served as presidents of the UAV National Ladies Auxiliary.
The current Post 17 Commander is Walter Kovbasniuk.