Location: programs / Nation Builders / 2001
Nation Builders

Awards Recipients for 2001

Morris T. Cherneskey, Q.C.
Angeline (Mialkowsky) Chrusch
Dr. Alexander Danylchuk
Eileen Grace (Shewchuk) Klopoushak
Roman Kroitor


Walter Mysak
Hanka Romanchych
Sonia (Kotzko) Sagasz
Murray Senkus
Jean (Charko) Sternig

Awards Luncheon

On Sunday, November 4th, the UCC-SPC held its seventh annual Nation Builders Awards (NBA) banquet at the Hotel Saskatchewan, Radisson Plaza in Regina. The banquet was held in the hotel’s elegant Regency Ballroom. The soft blue and white décor of the ballroom was kept in mind by the Regina NBA subcommittee of Angie Huculak and Janet Lysyk when they selected the colours for the program materials, decorations for the tables and the table arrangements.

Guests arriving at the ballroom were greeted by host and hostess Alex and Pearl Balych, who wore traditional Ukrainian attire. The guests were also greeted by live entertainment by keyboard player and vocalist Andrij Pityn, recently from Ukraine. The resulting décor for the afternoon blended gracefully with the mood of the guests and with the NBA program and banquet. The more than two hundred that attended the banquet thoroughly enjoyed the festivities and the tributes that were bestowed upon the honorees.

The seventh annual NBA banquet had a number of firsts. Notably, this was the first time that the function was held outside of Saskatoon and where there was a major effort made to solicit financial support for the function from organizations and businesses. Aside from helping materially to making the NBA program self-sustaining, the solicitation also helped create a greater awareness of the NBA project and its benefits to the Ukrainian Canadian community in Saskatchewan.

The NBA Selection Committee of Alex and Pearl Balych, Paul Ortynsky and Tony Harras (Chair) recommended ten recipients for 2001. The UCC-SPC subsequently approved these. They were Morris Cherneskey, Angeline Chrusch, Dr. Alex Danylchuk, Eileen Klopoushak, Roman Kroitor, Walter Mysak, Hanka Romanchych, Sonia Sagasz, Murray Senkus, and Jean Sternig. Brief biographic sketches of each are given below.

The afternoon’s activities were photographed by Dennis Klimochko. Those interested in seeing the photos (or possibly ordering some for themselves) should be able to do so in the near future by contacting either the UCC-SPC office in Saskatoon at 306-652-5850 or Tony Harras at 306-586-6805.

The Master of Ceremonies for the afternoon’s program was Larissa Lozowchuk who helped ensured the program ran smoothly. The program consisted mainly of a keynote address by UCC-SPC President Eugene Krenosky, and presentation of citations by Paul Ortynsky and Tony Harras. The afternoon’s activities wrapped up with an acknowledgement of the help received from various individuals and sponsors. As an extra to the day’s event, the attractively decorated centre piece kolach at each table was given to the lucky person at the table with a specially marked program. Those wishing to do so remained after the completion of the formal program and mingled with friends and family, took photos and renewed acquaintances.

The UCC-SPC is always interested in receiving comments from members of the Ukrainian Canadian community, in general, and from the readers of Visnyk. Please forward any observations you may have on the NBA project to the UCC-SPC office in Saskatoon.

2001 Nation Builders Awards recipients
Photo: Dennis Klimochko
2001 Nation Builders Awards recipients. Standing (L-R): Dr. Ed Klopoushak for wife Eileen Klopoushak, Cam Sternig for mother Jean Sternig, Patrusia Rudy for grandfather Dr. Alex Danylchuk, Dr. Murray Senkus, Roman Kroitor.
Sitting (L-R): Rachel Kowaluk of UWAC Hanka Romanchych Branch for H. Romanchych, Angeline Chrusch, Mary Cherneskey for husband Morris Cherneskey, Sonia Sagasz, Bernice Mysak for husband Walter Mysak.

Photo Album

There are currently no pictures for this year of the Nation Builders Luncheon. If you have any, please contact UCC-SPC at uccspc@ucc.sk.ca or 652-5850.


Morris T. Cherneskey, Q.C.
b. July 15, 1926 (near Goodeve, SK)
d. September 26, 2000 (Saskatoon, SK)

Born on a farm near Goodeve, Morris grew up through the Great Depression. From this experience and the lessons on life taught to him by his nation-building pioneer parents, Morris grew into a proud Ukrainian Canadian.

After completing his high school at Yorkton’s St. Joseph’s College, Morris Cherneskey graduated from Law at the University of Saskatchewan. He articled in the firm of Emmett Hall who was later a Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. He went on to private practice in Saskatoon for over 40 years. For his service to the law profession, Morris was made a Queen’s Counsel. Morris served his country as a reserve Naval officer with HMCS Unicorn, retiring as a Lieutenant Commander. Morris had the honour to sit for two years on the Senate of his alma mater.

Morris served for 25 years as a Saskatoon City Councilor. He was a leader in the Yellowhead Highway Association. Morris successfully lobbied to keep Saskatoon serviced by Via Rail. He was an effective member of the City’s Police Commission for five years. In his role as Councilor, Morris was instrumental in having Saskatoon officially twinned with the City of Chernivtsi in Ukraine.

He was active in provincial and federal politics as well, at one time serving as president of the Saskatchewan Progressive Conservative Party. In the 1975 provincial general election, Morris ran under the party banner in the riding of Saskatoon Centre.

The Ukrainian community of the province benefited greatly from Morris’ leadership. He played a leading role in the Ukrainian Catholic Church and its lay organizations as well as in the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. Morris was the long-serving president of the UCC branch in Saskatoon. For many years, he sat on the board of the UCC-SPC. At these fora, Morris was a never-ceasing advocate for the unity of Ukrainians and for the need to maintain our heritage. He saw it as his mission to raise the Ukrainian consciousness of people in the province. By his personal example, he was able to achieve this to a considerable degree.

Morris wed Mary Bodnarchuk in 1956; the family had three daughters.

Angeline (Mialkowsky) Chrusch
b. April 4, 1939 (Saskatoon, SK)

Angeline Chrusch is a steadfast feature in the cultural and religious life of Saskatoon’s Ukrainian community. After attending rural elementary schools, Angeline attended Sacred Heart Academy in Yorkton. Here, like many other young women of her generation, she received a strong grounding in her Ukrainian culture and Ukrainian Catholic faith.

Early in her adult life, Angeline dedicated herself to her family, to volunteering in the community and to her parish. She became a member of the St. George’s Cathedral Branch of the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada in 1965. From that time she threw herself into organizational work and took on leadership roles including treasurer and president.

One of the highlights of her work in the UCWLC was Angeline’s participation in the Eparchial UCWLC’s history book, Blessed Endeavour, written by Anna Maria Kowcz-Baran. Angeline was on the publishing committee and along with Adeline Dudar proofed and edited the English text of this monumental work. In a fine example of a family working together for the good of the community, Angeline’s sons, James and Loran, helped to input this text.

Angeline was active in the Ukrainian Canadian Women’s Committee, where she held various leadership positions and helped to organize the Ukrainian Radio Program on Radio Station CFCR. Angeline placed special effort in working on the Kyiv Pavilion of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Saskatoon Branch for the annual Folkfest celebrations. In 1996 she was honoured to be the pavilion ambassador for that year.

She has been a volunteer board member of the Musée Ukraina Museum since 1987. In aid of the museum’s fundraising efforts, she has organized over 670 bingos and has worked at over 500 of them personally!

Angeline’s community activities are not limited to Ukrainian matters. She has been the financial secretary for the Saskatoon Council of Women and has canvassed for the Heart Fund, Kidney Foundation, Cancer Society, the Alliance for Life and the Salvation Army. She has received five certificates of commendation from the Knights of Columbus and has 25- and 30-year pins from the UCWLC.

Angeline married John Chrusch in 1958 and together they have three sons.

Dr. Alexander Danylchuk
b. September 8, 1910 (Zhoda, MB)
d. 1986

Alexander Danylchuk, physician, community builder, organizer and leader, graduated from Medicine at the University of Manitoba in 1940. After doing his internship in Saskatoon, he, together with Dr. Emil Kusey, established a medical practice in Canora in 1941.

Canora became the base for Dr. Danylchuk’s community work. While carrying on a successful practice, he served 25 years as chair of the Canora School Board and played an important role in the establishing of a 50-bed hospital in Canora. He believed in service to the community so he became a charter member of the Kiwanis Club of Canora. He was an active member of the Chamber of Commerce there and was named Citizen of the Year by the Chamber. In 1981, Dr. Danylchuk was honoured by the College of Physicians and Surgeons with a Senior Life Membership.

He headed numerous Ukrainian church and lay organizations in the Canora area. He helped to organize the Ukrainian Orthodox church camp Tryzub on Crystal Lake as well as being president of the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church for over ten years. Dr. Danylchuk served as president of the local branch of the Ukrainian Self-Reliance League of Canada (TYC) and as its provincial head. He was president of the prestigious Order of St. Andrew and a supporter of the Ukrainian Professional and Business Association of Yorkton and District.

From 1958 until 1969, Dr. Danylchuk was president of the Mohyla Institute in Saskatoon. It was during his tenure that the new Institute building was constructed on Temperance Street.

Dr. Danylchuk married Paula Shewchuk in 1942. The family had four children.

Eileen Grace (Shewchuk) Klopoushak
b. March 27, 1930 (Wakaw, SK)
d. April 3, 2000 (Regina, SK)

Eileen Klopoushak resided at the Mohyla Institute while completing her high school and beginning her 29-year teaching career.

Eileen taught in schools in rural Saskatchewan to schools in Edmonton and Regina. She was an excellent teacher gaining the respect of students, parents and supervisors. She was one of the first In-School tutors for the Regina School Board and later was named their Primary Consultant. The Board also engaged her to develop and teach the initial Grades 1-8 Ukrainian language program which continues today. For her outstanding teaching service for over 18 years she received from the Regina Board a special award. Upon retirement she joined the Superannuated Teachers of Saskatchewan and served on their Awards Committee.

Eileen was an active member of the Ukrainian Women’s Association of Canada (UWAC) for 45 years. She served as vice-president and president at the local level and two terms as president of the provincial council. Her other contributions included editing a bulletin, organizing workshops and conventions, speaking at numerous functions, and helping with other branch projects in various capacities.

Eileen represented the UWAC at the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) – Regina Branch for a number of years as well as on the Mosaic Committee. She was the deputy-ambassador and ambassador of the Kyiv Pavilion as well as co-chair of the boutique. She was also a member of the Regina UCC Centennial Choir.

Throughout her life Eileen was an ardent supporter of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Regina. She was a long-standing member of the choir, served as treasurer, a member of the Hospital Visitation Committee, a member of the Sisterhood, and delegate to two Church Sobors.

In the larger Canadian community Eileen was a strong supporter of the MacKenzie Art Gallery, the Globe Theatre, and the Canadian Federation of University Women. Eileen and her husband Edward raised two children: Gary and Lori.

Roman Kroitor
b. 1926 (Yorkton, SK)

Roman Kroitor, co-founder, past senior vice-president and former director of IMAX was born in Yorkton. He received his M.A. in philosophy and psychology from the University of Manitoba. He began his career with the National Film Board (NFB) of Canada and is one of Canada’s leading filmmakers, with numerous awards and honours for his work.

Over his career Roman produced numerous films. One of his first films, Paul Tomkowicz, focused on a Canadian railway worker. The film is frequently studied in Canadian and U.S. film studios. It was featured as the opening work on the NFB at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Another acclaimed earlier work of Kroitor’s is City of Gold, a chronicle of the Yukon Gold Rush.

The film, Universe, which Roman produced with his friend Colin Low, was another first. The film, the depiction, with pictorial realism, of the geography of space was used by NASA in the early days of the U.S. space program for astronaut training. The film also had a strong influence on Stanley Kubrik’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Later in 1982 he co-produced Hail Columbia!, the first large-format film about space and the shuttle program.

Kroitor’s multi-image film Labyrinth was a hit at Montreal’s Expo ’67. This film and Polar Life led Kroitor, Ferguson and Kerr to form Multiscreen Corporation, which later became IMAX Ltd. Together with engineer William Shaw they designed the IMAX® motion picture system. Roman produced the first IMAX film, Tiger Child for Expo ’70 in Osaka. He followed this with other IMAX productions.

Koitor’s work continues to reflect an innovative mind. In a number of recent productions the concept of 3D dominates. In 1997 IMAX unveiled a new proprietary technology, invented and developed by Roman that enables three dimension stereoscopic animated films to be released in IMAX 3D theatres.

Roman Kroitor is currently an independent writer, director and producer.

Walter Mysak
b. February 18, 1913 (Wynyard, SK)
d. March 4, 1997 (Canora, SK)

Walter Mysak’s dedication to the Ukrainian and Canadian community at large started during his youth. While completing his high school at Nutana Collegiate, Walter stayed at the Mohyla Institute, which he subsequently supported throughout his life. He was an instructor of farm economics, a director of the United Farmers of Canada, and a member of the forerunner to the Hudson Bay Route Association. Upon graduating from the University of Saskatchewan with a degree in Agriculture (with distinction), Walter moved to the Buchanan-Canora district where in three decades he served in the two communities as Councilor, Overseer, and Mayor. He was also president of the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association. Amidst all of the above, Walter also found time to serve as Senator of both of the province’s universities.

Walter helped organize the Canora Union Hospital District and was its chairman nine years. He was always optimistic and an activist. He spearheaded the conversion of the old Canora Union Hospital into the Gateway Lodge seniors’ home.

Walter’s contribution to the Ukrainian community is equally long and extensive. In 1941 he was elected national president of the Ukrainian Youth Association. In subsequent years he served as director of the Mohyla Institute board, editor of the Mohyla Institute newsletter, president of the Canora Ukrainian Canadian Congress, member of the executive and committees of the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Canora, and was instrumental having one of the streets in Canora named Shevchenko Crescent, Governor General Ed Schryer unveil the "Lesia" Statue, and Ray Hnatyshyn and John Sopinka attend the 1992 Centennial Celebrations in Canora.

Over the years Walter received numerous awards and acknowledgements such as the Shevchenko Medal (1989), the Canadian Commemorative Medal (1992), Canora Citizen of the Year (1988) and the designation of a Canora street as Mysak Drive.

Walter married Bernice Ortynsky in 1940 and they subsequently raised three children: Donna, David, and Marlene.

Hanka Romanchych
b. February 14, 1907 (Kosiw, near Dauphin, MB)
d. October 18, 1984 (St. Catharines, ON)

Hanka completed her education at the University of Manitoba and afterwards got a job with the Department of Agriculture as a community development worker. She was a tireless worker. In 1933 alone, for example, she spoke at 439 meetings among what was then called the "foreign born." She encouraged the setting up of rural women’s circles for the production of Ukrainian handicrafts to help alleviate poverty in rural areas. Eventually, these handicrafts were sold all over Canada as well as at Macy’s in New York City.

Hanka was a charter member and first executive secretary of the Ukrainian Women’s Association of Canada (UWAC), founded in Saskatoon in 1926. In 1934, she was the UWAC’s delegate to the Congress of Ukrainian Women held in Stanislaviv (Ivano-Frankivsk) in western Ukraine.

Afterwards, she had the opportunity to study at various European universities—something made possible by the patronage of the Prime Minister, R.B. Bennett. In 1936, she was in Switzerland to participate in a League of Nations panel on the status of women. In 1947, she attended the International Conference on Women’s Councils.

During the Second World War, Hanka worked for the federal Department of Finance promoting the sale of Victory Loans and setting up Girls’ Hostels. She crisscrossed Canada 27 times during that time.

In 1936, Hanka became a founding member of the Saskatoon-based Ukrainian Museum of Canada (UMC) of the UWAC. She was a tireless organizer of the branch museums and collected items for the museum’s collections. She sat on the Museum Board of Trustees continuously until 1982.

In 1976, the All Saints Parish (Saskatoon) branch of the UWAC was inaugurated and chose Hanka Romanchych as its patroness. In 1977, the American Association for State and Local History presented her with its Award of Merit for her work in establishing the UMC. In 1981, the Canadian Museum’s Association honoured her in a similar manner.

As a Ukrainian professional woman, she was recognized outside the Ukrainian community for work in the fields of community development and women’s issues. Wherever Hanka resided, she was at the forefront of Ukrainian and Canadian affairs as an active participant and leader.

Following the Second World War, Hanka Romanchych married Ivan Kowalchuk. While the marriage had no offspring, Hanka was honoured to be godmother to 75 children.

Sonia (Kotzko) Sagasz
b. February 4, 1925 (Zyrawa, Ukraine)

Sonia Sagasz has dedicated her life to the Ukrainian community in Regina, Canada and internationally. Originally from the village of Zyrawa, near Lviv, she arrived in Regina in 1949 after spending five years in Austria and Germany. In 1950 she married Walter Sagasz and together they raised three daughters while at the same time continuing their extensive community involvement.

Sonia’s commitment to community service has been far-reaching and tireless. She has served on numerous executives and boards ranging from the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League at St. Basil’s, the St. Basil’s Building Committee, the Ukrainian Co-op, National LUK, Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) – Regina Branch, Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada, Women’s UCC Regina Branch, and the Ukrainian Centennial Commission of Saskatchewan. Of the above organizations, Sonia was also a founding member of the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League – St. Basil’s Parish, and the Women’s UCC Regina Branch.

Sonia’s leadership and charity extended to the larger Canadian community. She was a founding member of the Regina Folk Arts Council and served with the Regina United Way.

Working with the youth has always been a major part of Sonia’s life, including being a teacher of Ukrainian at St. Basil’s, a SUM camp leader in Morden, Manitoba, camp director in Saint Paul, Minneapolis, and SUM director at Pike Lake.

Over the years, Sonia was able to fit into her busy schedule attendance at numerous UCWLC, World Congress and UCC Congresses as well as participate in the Regina Centennial Choir, the Kyiv Pavilion (including being its ambassador in 1982), and originate the concept of the Saskatchewan Ukrainian Science Park.

In recognition of her leadership, vision and accomplishments, Sonia was awarded the Shevchenko Medal in 1995.

Murray Senkus
b. August 31, 1914 (Hafford, SK)

Murray Senkus attended high school at the Nutana Collegiate Institute 1927-1931. In 1934 he received his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and his Master of Science in 1936 from the University of Saskatchewan. In 1938 he received a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Chicago, in 1966 he received a degree in Management of Research from the Harvard Business School.

Dr. Senkus’ greatest achievement was while he was working as a chemist with the Commercial Solvents at Terre Haute, Indiana, where, assisted by two co-workers, he developed the process for crystallizing sodium penicillin which extended its storage life at higher temperatures and thereby saved many lives during the Second World War. His other assignments included instructor of chemistry at the University of Chicago, Director of Research and Development with Daubert Company in Chicago, Director of Research and Development with J.R. Reynolds Tobacco and research manager with P.T. Djarum Tobacco in Indonesia.

He has visited Ukraine in 1969, 1970, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, twice in 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 and again in 2001. He has provided financial assistance to families and also the Lviv National University. Their four children are well informed in Ukrainian history and culture and are quite literate ethnically.

Dr. Senkus has been a member of the Shevchenko Scientific Society for the last 55 years and has contributed articles to the Society. He has been actively involved with Caritas Ukraine, assisted in the establishment of the Prairie Centre for the Study of Ukrainian Heritage at the University of Saskatchewan, member of Toastmasters International for 51 years and has served as Governor of the Carolinas District International. He has been a member of the Chemical Society for the last 60 years. Dr. Senkus is the author of 20 scientific articles and a holder of 57 patents in the U.S. and several foreign patents. He is a member of the International Research Institute and has presented papers on research management. He became a U.S. citizen in 1943.

His field of specialization is: tobacco and synthetic organic chemistry, insecticides, recovery of fermentation products, chemotherapeutic agents, chemistry of flavors, and management of research and development. He is still employed as a special litigation consultant on technical matters.

Dr. Senkus makes his home at Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA.

Jean (Charko) Sternig
b. February 28, 1918 (Krydor, SK)
d. December 25, 1996 (North Battleford, SK)

Jean took her elementary and high school education at Krydor. For her post secondary education, she attended the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1937, a High School Teaching Certificate in 1938, a Bachelor of Education in 1956 and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Continuing Education in 1972.

Jean’s professional career was teaching high school. She was principal at Great Deer, Marsden, Krydor and finally in 1956 she moved to be principal of the Battleford Collegiate Institute where she stayed until 1970. Her next move was to the Comprehensive High School at North Battleford as Director of Continuing Education 1970 to 1978. From 1978 to 1984 she was employed by the Mistikwa Community College (now called the North West Regional College), first as a Literary Co-ordinator and for the last three years as principal.

During this period, Jean established the Literacy and ESL (English as a Second Language) programs, as well as initiating the extension of the university programs. Jean retired in 1984.

Jean’s involvement with multiculturalism began with her appointment to the Saskatchewan Multicultural Advisory Council for two two-year terms. During this time, she developed an interest in the work of the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan and eventually organized the Battlefords Multicultural Council in 1985. Since then, she became fully involved and managed the Battlefords Multicultural Council until her death. Jean enjoyed her two-year term as editor of the Saskatchewan Multicultural Magazine.

The North Battleford Lions Club and the Battleford News-Optimist selected Jean as the 1987 Battlefords and District Citizen of the Year.

Jean’s other interests over the years beginning as far back as high school were in language studies and in Ukrainian cultural activities, which comprised a large part of her volunteer work. She participated extensively at the provincial and national levels with the Ukrainian Catholic Youth, the local and provincial levels in the Catholic Women’s League and the IODE, as well as other clubs and organizations.

Jean married Matthew Sternig in 1943 and was widowed in 1970. They had one son, Cam, who is also a retired school teacher. Cam and Donna have two children: Laura and Rodney.

Compiled by Tony Harras, Ostap Skrypnyk & Alex Balych