A Presidential Award, a Team Thank You

President Zelenskyy recently awarded Ostap Korkuna, Co-Chairman of Nova Ukraine, the Order of Merit III degree for his work at Nova Ukraine. This incredible honor is given for “a significant contribution to the strengthening of interstate cooperation, supporting the state sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and the popularization of the Ukraine state in the world.” With great humility and sincere gratitude, Ostap would like to share this recognition with each volunteer, each donor, each partner and each ambassador whose work has helped Ukraine stand strong.

In Ostap’s eyes, this award belongs to all of us.

Many of our volunteers have risked their lives delivering crucial supplies wherever needed, even in occupied territories. Others of us have given up livelihoods or precious free time to source goods and coordinate the logistics for delivery of generators, medications, technological devices, drinking water, etc. Still others have focused on providing the human touch by setting up family rooms at train stations, creating hands-on after-school programs, and providing shelter and care for animals.  And finally, there are some of us who work to evacuate and resettle refugees at welcoming places around the world.  When you add it all up, our collective work makes a very long list.

Nevertheless, as the war drags on, there are moments when each of us finds ourselves wondering if our work continues to make any measurable difference. President Zelenskyy’s merit award most definitely assures that we are making an impact. Ukraine’s families, its elderly, its mentally or physically disabled and the internally displaced are directly benefiting by the tireless efforts we make to improve their lives.

Sometimes, people ask why such a capable team would voluntarily come together, across countries and time zones, working nights, weekends and holidays, without pay, to do this? It’s a very good question with a very simple answer. Because we, the men and women who make up the team that is Nova Ukraine, cannot look away.

Ostap proudly accepts the recognition President Zelenskyy has bestowed. But in his eyes, it is the team who has earned it. Thanks to each one of you who has helped Ukrainians endure this war and all of its costs, whatever they be, until we are once again a strong and sovereign nation.  

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