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BRAMA, Apr 21, 1999

First Lady Hillary Clinton receives "Lifetime Achievement Award" from CCRF
Photos and text by A. Krill, BRAMA.

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Hillary Clinton

NEW YORK - Monday, April 19, 1999. The Children of Chornobyl Relief Fund (CCRF) honored First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday night by presenting to her a Lifetime Achievement Award for her long-standing active support of CCRF's mission. The program took place at the Ukrainian Institute of America in New York City and included a number of presentations by prominent individuals. Among these were film producer Fred Caruso, actor and activist Alec Baldwin, and U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey. Nadia Matkiwsky, Executive Director of CCRF, presented the award to Mrs. Clinton, and a blessing was given by Archbishop Antony of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, U.S.A. At various intervals throughout the presentation the audience was entertained by the sweet sounds of the youthful Prolisok Choir under the direction of Andrij Stasiw.

270 enthusiastic CCRF supporters who came to see the First Lady accept her award filled the rooms leaving just a narrow passage for the Clinton entourage to enter and depart after the program's completion. Audience chairs overflowed from the second floor concert hall where the program took place into the reception area at the top of the stairs. Hillary Clinton's arrival was slightly delayed due to her tight schedule of appearances throughout the day. However, the guests did not seem to mind the wait. A standing ovation greeted the First Lady as she entered the crowded room, and the program proceeded from then on without a hitch. Or, perhaps only one hitch which was gracefully parried by Mrs. Clinton - sounds from local transmitters outdoors started echoing in the speaker, and interfered with her presentation. The interruption was handled with aplomb, and the problem was resolved by disconnecting two of the microphones attached to the podium.

Members of the "Prolisok Girls Choir" (part of the Ukrainian American Youth Association [CYM] New York Branch) take shelter from the rain under a building entrance across the street from the Ukrainian Institute while the security team and their dogs scan the premises prior to Hillary Clinton's arrival.   Prolisok
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Secret Servicemen escort Hillary Clinton into the UIA concert hall along a narrow path as the guests stand to applaud.   Hillary - Entry
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CCRF Director of Development Alex Kuzma makes the opening remarks and introduces Master of Ceremonies, Fred Caruso. (((audio))) Prolisok
^ Click to enlarge

(1) Introductory remarks
(2) New projects announcement
(3) Special remarks honoring M. Verveer
Mr. Fred Caruso is a motion picture film producer, avid supporter of CCRF, and (proudly) father-in-law to the Matkiwsky's daughter, Luba. Mr. Caruso applauded Melanne Verveer, Chief of Staff, Office of the First Lady, for her efforts to develop ties between the U.S. and Ukraine.

Fred Caruso
United States Senator Frank Lautenburg (New Jersey) spoke at length about the case of Vova Malofienko, who made national headlines when it was learned that immigration authorities were terminating his visa despite the need for further medical attention to his cancer condition. (((audio))) Senator Lautenburg
Actor and activist Alec Baldwin spoke passionately, eloquently and informatively about the effects of the Chornobyl disaster. Mr. Baldwin challenged the American medical community to go to Ukraine to see first-hand the legacy of Chornobyl in Ukraine's hospitals. (((audio))) Alec Baldwin
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Nadia Matkiwsky, Executive Director of CCRF, recited a segment from a Maya Angelou poem which served to describe Hillary Clinton as a "phenomenal woman." Mrs. Matkiwsky's voice shook as she read a letter from one of the children who fell victim to the radiation poisoning from the Chornobyl meltdown. She ended with the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. (((audio))) Nadia Matkiwsky
^ Click to enlarge
Prolisok Choir
Prolisok Girls Choir is a part of the Ukrainian American Youth Association (CYM) New York Branch:
(((audio))) My Ukraine - "Ukraino"   (((audio))) Enchanted Violin - "Charivna Skrypka"   (((audio))) Children's Prayer - "Molytva"
CCRF in Ukraine Award
The Matkiwsky's and the First Lady in Lviv (1998) Nadia Matkiwsky hands Hillary Clinton the award
Hillary Clinton (((audio))) First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton
Dr. Zenon Matkiwsky
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(((audio))) Closing remarks by CCRF President Dr. Zenon Matkiwsky.
Group foto
Consul General Bohaievsky, Mrs. Bohaievsky, His Grace Archibishop Antony, Mrs. Lina Buteiko (Ambassador Anton Buteiko's wife), Mrs. Nadia Matkiwsky
(((audio))) Archibishop Antony offered a prayer for Hillary Clinton and the work of CCRF


Mrs. Nadia Matkiwsky told us that the greatest difficulty encountered in the Foundation's work has been to convince American supporters that Ukraine was truly in need of assistance. The legacy of the USSR continues to manifest itself as a lack of understanding that Ukraine is an independent nation. That is to say, Ukraine requires direct infusions of assistance from the West that are not tied to the other republics of the Former Soviet Union. In particular, the devastation caused by the Chornobyl disaster continues to require relief efforts even thirteen years after it occurred. Monday evening's event, according to Mrs. Matkiwsky, yielded a generous $100,000 in donations to CCRF.

Dr. Zenon Matkiwsky is deeply involved in the selection of equipment which is so gravely needed in Ukraine. CCRF's current efforts to curb infant mortality in Ukraine involve projects in 5 Ukrainian cities: Dnipropetrovsk, Lutsk, Chernihiv, Vynnytsia and 2 hospitals in Lviv. Incubators and cardiac units are occupying the doctor's mind these days as CCRF seeks funds and partners to implement more projects with the goal of improving health conditions in Ukraine. Both Dr. and Mrs. Matkiwsky encourage other organizations and corporations to complement or join CCRF in their efforts. Recently, the Ukrainian National Women's League of America and CCRF jointly established a fully equipped laboratory in Lviv that rivals those found in other European locales. The two organizations have also worked together on an MRI installation in Kyiv.


Baldwin & Piasetsky Amb. & Mrs.Yel'chenko
Ukrainian Broadcasting Network's Xenia Piasetsky interviews Alec Baldwin (^ Click to enlarge) Ukraine's Ambassador to the United Nations Yel'chenko and Mrs. Yel'chenko were also among the VIP guests (file foto)


What it's all about ?
Last, but not least, the CCRF award for Hillary Clinton was really about saving children. We were fortunate to see among the guests one of the best representatives of the success of the CCRF programs -- Vova Malfienko who arrived from Chernihiv, Ukraine in 1990 with radiation-related cancer. He has been in remission for 6 years now, and has hopes of being cleared of future recurrences of the disease. Vova is an 8th grade student at Mulbury Middle School in Short Hills New Jersey, and has big dreams of a grand future living in the United States of America. We hope he achieves each and every one of his dreams.

Vova Malfienko
(((audio)))A few words from Vova!   ^ Click to enlarge

Chornobyl Links

For more information about CCRF, please visit their website at or You may also contact CCRF via e-mail at

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