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Invermay resident awarded Taras Shevenko Medal at Ukrainian congress

An Invermay resident represented Saskatchewan by receiving an award during the first Ukrainian Triennial Congress in Saskatchewan.
Ken Krawetz was the only Saskatchewan recipient of a Taras Shevchenko Medal for 2016, which is the highest honour bestowed by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. Pictured at the awards ceremony at the XXV Triennial Congress of Ukrainian Canadians were, from left, Michael Hantzsch (chair of awards committee), Lieutenant-Governor Vaughn Solomon Schofield, Ken Krawetz and Paul Grod (UCC national president).

            An Invermay resident represented Saskatchewan by receiving an award during the first Ukrainian Triennial Congress in Saskatchewan.

            Ken Krawetz, the former Canora-Pelly MLA, was awarded the Taras Shevchenko Medal in public service for 2016, and was presented his medal during the XXV Triennial Congress of Ukrainian Canadians, which was held for the first time in Regina from September 29 to October 2.

            Krawetz said he was proud to represent Saskatchewan in the awards, as he was the only Saskatchewan-born recipient this year.

            “I was surrounded by people from Ontario, so it was a big deal for a Saskatchewan resident to receive the award,” he said.

            The Taras Shevchenko Medal is the highest form of recognition granted by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) and recognizes individuals of all backgrounds for outstanding national contributions to the development of the Ukrainian Canadian community.

            Krawetz was born in Invermay and has lived there for his entire life. He worked as an educator and school administrator, a business owner, and as a part-time farmer before he was elected as the MLA for the Canora-Pelly constituency in 1995.

            He served as the MLA for 21 years, and two years into his service helped found the Saskatchewan Party. He served as Minister of Education as well as Minister of Finance after the provincial election in 2007.

            Krawetz also served as Deputy Premier and passed Bill 40, also known as the Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (Holodomor) Memorial Day Act, which made Saskatchewan not only the first province in Canada, but the first area in North America to commemorate the Holodomor genocide. With Krawetz’s assistance, a statue was placed near the Legislative Building in Regina to recognize the tragedy against Ukrainian people. He also worked to develop relationships between Canada and Ukraine.

            Krawetz has received many other awards including the Canada 125 Award, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, the Centennial Medal, the Award of Excellence from the Ukrainian Self-Reliance League of Canada, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the UCC Saskatchewan Provincial Council’s Nation Builders Award. The president of Ukraine even presented the Order of Kniaz (King) Yaroslav the Wise to Krawetz in 2009, which is the highest honour in the country of Ukraine.

            Krawetz is now retired and lives on a farm with his wife Gail, who writes a weekly column for the Kamsack Times. He enjoys travelling and spending time with their family, including their son Bryce, his wife Olivia, their daughters Willow and Scarlett, and his daughter Lindsay and her husband Barney.

            Other recipients alongside Krawetz were: Tanya Dzulynsky, Irene Jendzjowsky and Myroslava Pidhirna, education; Olya Odynsky-Grod, Daria Vera Luciw, Paul Migus, Markian Shwec, Yuri Shymko and Halya Lyps’ka Wilson, community development; and Nestor Olynyk, Mary Howika-Pidkowich and Orysia Paszczak Tracz, culture and arts.

            The XXV Triennial Congress of Ukrainian Canadians was held in Regina by UCC National and UCC Saskatchewan to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Ukrainian immigration to Canada. The theme of the congress was “Engage – Inspire – Empower,” and was celebrated with a gala showcase of Ukrainian dancers at the Conexus Art Centre.