Ukrainian Gift of Life Founder and Rotary Assistant District Governor
Peter Oleshchuk Reflects on World Trade Center Tragedy

Peter Oleshchuk is a Ukrainian-American business man from Valley Stream, NY and a true humanitarian with a deep love for all humankind. Having held many leadership positions in Rotary International and Rotary District 7520, he is the founder of "Ukrainian Gift of Life," which provides life saving heart operations for the children of Ukraine that are brought here to the United States for treatment, another example of how Americans help countless people around the globe, and go out of their way to make the world a peaceful and better place to live.

Peter is also the liaison between the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church of the USA and the sobornopravna Ukrainian Orthodox parishes of the United States and an advisor to the hierarchy. Mr. Oleshchuk tells us that there are many young Ukrainian and Ukrainian American people who are also unaccounted for in the wake of the World Trade Center disaster. These young people were building a new and brighter future for both the United States, Ukraine and the world. Our prayers continue to go out to all victims and their loved ones.

Dear ROTARY Members around the world,

"Sheltered" by a distance of 18 miles from NYC, I have enjoyed the awesome view from a distance over flat land, of the World's presence in our region. I refer to the World Trade Center in NYC. I've had the opportunity of being inside this awesome building on many occasions, and in World Trade Centers (and there are many in the world) throughout. My experiences have shown me that these are more international infrastructures than even the United Nations! People, innocent people, who simply go to work to provide for their families in normal business functions. They build a world economy of opportunity for all nations. They coordinate financial efforts to create markets and opportunity in under-developed nations. I've never seen soldiers, arms, government presence, political installations or any other "primary targets" that would be of any reason for international terrorism.

Just men and women (mothers and fathers) common people, happy in the work they do. I've been in these buildings many times, and have many friends, currently unaccounted for, that worked in those buildings. And I'm sure that this is the same for many of the members of our district. Several of our members have offices nearby, and we hope their all ok. There are members of our Communications as you know are severely hampered and there's little detail available in the news media. These buildings were also communications centers for many news agencies and many telecommunications switches that suddenly disappeared. Our small community is now worried about all of our residents that commute to NYC to work every day, many of which work in the financial district and the WTC. Several hundred of our local young men, Volunteer Fire, Rescue and Auxiliary Police where immediately dispatched when everything started.

We are deeply concerned that they too are all safe. Our business community opened this morning, vibrant with people, shopping, chatting in restaurants when it happened. The remainder of the day, it was like a "horror movie" where all the people disappeared. A busy mass transit system of buses and trains was halted, our daily "sky noise" generated by over 2,000 daily flights from JFK, LaGuardia and Mac Arthur Airports was gone. With all major highways shut down for emergency traffic, there is a silence....

Many of us already know that our real pain has not yet been identified. It may be weeks if not longer before the missing are accounted for. But I do know, that all of our local communities are in shock and in silence awaiting unwelcome news. I am also concerned for our NYC Rotarians, and hope that we will hear from them soon. This is a travesty to all of humanity. Not just Americans. This was a WORLD TRADE CENTER and it had a worldwide tenancy. Mankind is our Business, and these people did business for mankind.

What is an American?

He is an Irish, Italian, Russian, Korean, Indian, French, Egyptian, German, Ukrainian, Polish (and many others) immigrant, or descendant of one or the other.

We are members of "Peoples of the World," and so, get involved in helping throughout the world. Every nation of the world is a part of us... So why....

Forgive my run on, I find it difficult to understand why?

I pray for the Victims and their Loved ones.

Peter Oleschuk
Assistant District Governor
Rotary District 7250
Brooklyn, Queens and Nassau Counties, NY - USA

Go to Pastoral Letter and Prayers for the Attack on our Country.

Read Condolences from our Eparchy of France, Spain & Italy.

Back to Main Page.

ί в.