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excerpt from the Interview with VICTOR HETMANCHUK

The interviews can be accessed at the UCRDC. Please contact us at: office@ucrdc.org


Date and Place of Birth: Oct 2, 1944, Kiel, Germany

Date of Interview: Jan 29, 2024

Place of Interview: Toronto, Ontario

Interviewer: Ihor Tomkiw

Length of Interview: 50 min


Interviewer: Did you participate in the political life of Canada and, you know, when and how?  Can you tell us about that?

V.H. I basically used to volunteer to be a scrutineer at  elections. At Municipal, Provincial. I've done all three levels. But I've donated to political campaigns, but there's been no urge for that or desire to  become a candidate.  And I didn't take part in any local associations.  I just stayed away. I thought I did. I've done enough. I just, I couldn't open up another third major, you know,  piece of work.

Interviewer: Over the years, your accomplishments, contributions, and achievements have been recognized nationally and internationally, such as the Volodymyr the Great Medal from the Ukrainian World Congress, the Taras Shevchenko Medal  from the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, the Canada Ukraine Foundation Distinguished Service Award, The Centenary Award of St. Andrew from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada. The Recognition of Benevolence Medal from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. The 25th Anniversary Medal of Ukraine's Independence from the President of Ukraine. And last but not least, one of Canada's most important Highest civilian honour, the Order of Canada.

Do you have a basic ideology or principle by which you have led your life?  Could you share that with us? 

Oh,  heavy duty.  Wow.  Oh man, like that.  Too bad you didn't ask me that question before, so I could give it some thought.  Like, you're looking for,  you know, do I have anything in my office that says, well, I guess it's Carpe Diem, pluck the day's opportunity, right?

Okay. It started at high school at Humberside, Carpe Diem.  And that's stayed with me all along, you know, so it's, uh, I like to give back. I think I'd like to give forward. We appreciate that Canada took us in, uh, 70 years ago.  And, uh, everything I do is to give back. But I also haven't forgotten my roots, my parent’s roots.

And there's a lot of work to be done there. So.  The trick now is, how do we match the needs of Ukraine with  Canadian needs?  So, that's,  I'm sorry for not being more eloquent than that, but you hit me with a quick question.

Interviewer: Well, that's, uh, you kind  of want that kind of gut reaction, you know, to it.  You know, overthinking, um, uh, about that. What would you consider to be your greatest life achievement so far?

Live as long as I've lived and I've got a beautiful family and I've got grandchildren.  That's my legacy. Like what I've done for the different organizations. That will change depending on who's reading the archives, but I've left and people stop me in the street and say, well, how did you do that? In fact, we're walking in Istanbul and people were asking me, how did you kids marry so and so? Like, how do you get the life? So unbeknownst to me, people were watching what we were doing and how we were evolving with my wife, uh, with our, because we love the family that she comes from, uh, Winnipeg,  and she had, you know, three, uh,  siblings. And so they, there was a family. And so we've tried to prepare it. And right now, all the kids, all the grandkids, we're a family unit.

So my biggest legacy, I think, is the fact that I've left an entire family unit who knows who they are,  where they come from. And, spends all this time on the phone, but they see with these medals and recognition that, geez, somebody's actually looking at what I'm doing and evaluating.