February 8, 2023
Valley man comes house, uncovers roots | Information, Sports activities, Jobs

Valley man comes house, uncovers roots | Information, Sports activities, Jobs

Mike Vasilchek shows an indication for the Merely Slavic pageant in downtown Youngstown. He has turn into a passionate preservationist of his Carpatho-Rusyn heritage.

YOUNGSTOWN — Mike Vasilchek all the time had a eager fascination along with his Carpatho-Rusyn heritage traced again to his ancestors within the Carpathian Mountains in japanese Slovakia.

In 2005, Vasilchek returned house from Evansville, Ind., to handle his mother and father. It was at this level when Vasilchek wished to turn into nearer to his roots and traditions.

On the time, Vasilchek was working in contracting and electrical engineering in addition to undertaking administration. He would journey a terrific deal on his job and whereas he was engaged on a undertaking that was out of city, he would look within the telephone books to see if there have been any Vasilcheks within the space, in addition to assembly different fellow ethnic Rusyns.

“If it was Sunday and I used to be out of city on a undertaking, I might attempt to go to a Byzantine Catholic Church in that space. Generally I must keep over on the weekends if I used to be accountable for {an electrical} set up undertaking (energy and controls) and I might attempt to go to church each Sunday. It was good every time I might discover a Byzantine Catholic Church in one other city the place I used to be working,” Vasilchek stated.

Vasilchek bought concerned with the Carpatho-Rusyn Society Youngstown/Warren/ Sharon Chapter in 2007. This chapter of the Carpatho-Rusyn Society was based by Robert Demoko in 2005, and Jim Basista is the present president.

The Carpatho-Rusyn Society Youngstown / Warren / Sharon Chapter has coordinated quite a few cultural occasions within the space, together with a Vatra (bonfire) Autumn Occasion at Toddler Jesus of Prague Byzantine Catholic Church in Boardman, dinner conferences on a wide range of Rusyn matters, in addition to internet hosting a wide selection of visitor audio system. The Carpatho-Rusyn Society Youngstown / Warren /Sharon Chapter has been part of native occasions such because the Merely Slavic Heritage Pageant in downtown Youngstown each June and the YSU Summer time Pageant of the Arts. Vasilchek stated he takes nice delight in these alternatives to share his data with the broader group.

“On the Merely Slavic pageant, individuals come over to our cultural desk all the time asking us ‘what am I?’ and desirous to know the place in Jap Europe their households originated. We provide you with a sense that you’re at an occasion within the Carpathian Mountain area, however the pageant acknowledges all Slavic cultures. It was nice to be again this 12 months in 2022 after a two-year COVID hiatus,” Vasilchek stated.


Vasilchek (authentic European spelling Vasilcik) attended Byzantine Catholic Central Faculty (BCC) for grade faculty and is a graduate of Woodrow Wilson Excessive Faculty. He then went to Youngstown State College, the place he graduated with a Bachelor of Science diploma in electrical engineering

“My mother and father have been initially from Struthers. My father, Michael Vasilchek, was born in Sheffield, Pa., and his mother and father got here from Jap Slovakia close to the Ukrainian border. My mom, Ann Hudak, was born in Bulger, Pa., and her household got here from Jap Slovakia as nicely,” Vasilchek stated. “My father later got here to Struthers and my mom settled within the Girard space. My mom’s father labored for Ohio Works Metal Mill. My father was a blast furnace blower foreman at Sheet and Tube Campbell Works,” Vasilchek stated.

The Carpatho-Rusyn Society is a non-profit group based mostly in Munhall, Pa., and has many chapters throughout the USA. The society’s focus is to convey larger data and sense of custom to these of Rusyn heritage in addition to those that are curious concerning the tradition itself.

Rusyns are an ethnic group below the Jap Slavic class and reside within the Carpathian Mountain area of Jap Europe similar to Hungary, Slovakia, Ukraine, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Russia. There may be additionally a inhabitants in Canada and within the northeastern a part of the USA.

“My household went to SS. Peter and Paul Ruthenian Church in Struthers. My grandmother spoke Rusyn, Slovak and Hungarian. The Rusyn individuals by no means had an official nation, so that they tailored to no matter nation in Jap Europe they managed to settle. Their society was themselves and their church. The church was the group they might belief. Some Rusyns lived in Poland, components of Ukraine, Serbia-Herzegovina and Hungary,” Vasilchek stated.

He’s the secretary of the Carpatho-Rusyn Society Youngstown/Warren Sharon Chapter. His function consists of organizing actions, creating a number of the historical past, creating maps and distinguishing the place the Rusyn individuals lived in Jap Slovakia, Southeastern Poland and Northwestern Ukraine.

Together with his expertise of touring to Jap Slovakia, Vasilchek had the chance to essentially join along with his ancestors on a deeper degree. He stated that when he visited numerous villages, he was in a position to communicate parts of the Rusyn language and knew the customs.

For Vasilchek, the Rusyns introduced many nice property with them to the USA.

“They may reside below any sort of situation with authorities, society and financial system. They have been self-reliant and resourceful individuals. The Rusyns who immigrated to the USA tailored in a short time. They wished one thing higher for themselves and their kids. The explanation why they referred to as their nation again house ‘the outdated nation’ was as a result of they felt like there was no future there,” Vasilchek stated.

Vasilchek labored for Alcoa Company for 25 years as a company electrical engineer. He then labored for AK Metal. He retired three years in the past and now devotes extra time in coordinating occasions for the society.

“I used to be fascinated about family tree due to my father. He wrote down the place his mother and father got here from and he collected articles on the subject of Rusyns and articles on the historical past of Youngstown with the metal mills and their working circumstances,” Vasilchek stated.

To counsel a Saturday profile, contact Options Editor Burton Cole at bcole@tribtoday.com or Metro Editor Marly Reichert at mreichert@tribtoday.com.

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