Happy belated 63rd Wedding Anniversary to Mr. and Mrs. Iwanusiw – our loyal donors, community activists, supporters, and advocates!
Mr. & Mrs. Iwanusiw are the UCC’s President’s Club donors and big supporters of the Parliamentary Internship Program. They believe that our youth is critical to our community’s future, and investing in them will only benefit our community and Ukraine.
Ms. Bozhena Iwanusiw (Wertyporoch) & Oleh Iwanusiw came to Canada at a young age. Oleh settled with his parents and siblings in Alberta, first in Picture Butte, then Lethbridge, and finally in Edmonton. He completed his education in Alberta, having graduated from the University of Alberta as an Electrical Engineer. Bozhena settled with her parents and sister in Toronto and completed her schooling there. They are proud members of PLAST, where they also met. Eventually, Oleh moved to Toronto and wed Bozhena.
While raising their family of four, they also continue to be active in the Ukrainian Community and Church. They were always ready to open their home and help new immigrants from Poland and Ukraine. I was one of those immigrants who benefited from their kindness and compassion, and in fact, I used to call their house a “Salvation Army” for youth like me! There was always someone extra living in their home.
I was inspired by their dedication to our community, Ukrainian history, and Ukraine. Among the many things they did for the community, I remember every year a month before Christmas, their house was full of clothing, toys, sweets, and boxes as they packed Christmas gifts for children and needy families in Ukraine. This becomes a tradition for them, and even now, both being in their 80’s they continue doing just that.
Ms. Iwanusiw has been an active member of the Ukrainian Youth Association “PLAST” and continues to be a member in various leadership positions. She joined the Ukrainian Canadian Social Services (UCSS) and is currently the organization’s president with nine branches across Canada. One of their main projects is to assist in operating 18 soup kitchens for the needy in Ukraine.
Mr. Iwanusiw is the President of The Foundation of the Encyclopedia of Ukraine that funds research and publication of works dealing with Ukrainian culture, history, and education. Initially, the main activity was collecting funds and distributing bursaries to needy and socially active university students in Ukraine. As a result, over 2,000 such bursaries have been distributed over the last twenty years.
Both Oleh & Bozhena also continue to be active members of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
Bozhena and Oleh have traveled the world. In one of their travels to Europe in the 1980s, they decided to photograph the Ukrainian Catholic and Orthodox churches in Poland, some of them destroyed after WWII, and publish “CHURCH in RUINS.” The book contains 500 color prints of those churches.
Through their activities and support of the Foundation of the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, Bozhena & Oleh have funded the following publications:
1. CHURCHES of UKRAINE – Peremysh Eparchy, Vasyl Slobodian, 1998,
2. CHURCHES of UKRAINE – Zakarpattia, Mykhailo Syrokhman, 2000,
3. BUTTERFLY MEMORIES, Irena Senyk, 2003, Biography
4. ZOLOCHIVSHCHYNA Edited by Mykola Dubas, Lviv 2006, Memoirs & Archives – Second Edition.
5. In Memory of Archbishop Volodymyr Sterniuk. A collection of articles, Lviv 2007.
6. Архиєрейський Служебник і Требник Іван Боярського (1632). 2015.
7. Babusia’s Iryna Little Book, Irene Senyk, Lviv 2000 Story Book.
8. Reims Gospel of Anna Yaroslaviva, remnants of the 1,000-year-old Menologion from Sophia Kyjivska translated to Ukrainian, French, and English.
9. Ukrainian Sugar Beet Immigrants. Orysia & Vadym Olijnyk, 2016.
Thank you, Mr. & Mrs. Iwanusiw, for your love and loyalty to the Ukrainian Canadian Community and Ukraine. Thank you for being great examples to myself and others to do our absolute utmost for our community and Ukraine!