Saturday, October 6, 2012

Recipient of the John Mihalasky Award - Jim Huratiak

Jim Huratiak
Jim Huratiak is one of the most valued C-RS members whom I have had the privilege of knowing.  He is that rare individual who not only possesses excellent ideas, but is willing to roll up his sleeves and actually do the work necessary to see them through.  It is no wonder that he has been honored by the New Jersey Chapter with the 2012 John Mihalasky Humanitarian Award.

Shortly after the Chapter’s founding in 1999, Jim joined its Planning Board.  For 13 years he has driven the 80 miles from his home to attend virtually every Board meeting.  He serves as Board Media Director, recording each of the Chapter’s programs on DVD.   When New Jersey’s initial financial support from our National ended, Jim proposed selling those recordings as a source of revenue.  These DVDs have been purchased by Rusyns throughout the country.  They have been priceless in documenting and disseminating our culture.

It is at the National level where I have been able to experience Jim’s dedication first-hand.  In 2004 I became Chairman of the C-RS Cultural Center Committee.  The board had purchased the former St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cathedral, a Pittsburgh Landmark sorely in need of repair.

Jim with his wife of 45 years Susan
Along with daunting structural issues, the wiring lived up to its billing as “byzantine.”  Fortunately for the organization, Jim is certified by Pennsylvania as an Electrical Inspector.  Furthermore, he is past President of the Benjamin Franklin Chapter of the International Association of Electrical Inspectors.

Having cut his teeth on the drive to New Jersey, he was only too happy to expand his range to Pittsburgh.  This he has done several times each year (at his own expense) from 2007 through 2011.  Taking time off from his genealogy research, he has reconfigured the Center’s sprinkler system, updated the circuit board and made frequent improvements to the electrical outlets and wiring. 

Jim felt that the Cultural Center could be a treasure for our people.  I have always been able to seek his advice and to count on him to do the work that would bring it to fruition.  Thanks to his dedication, we were able to hold numerous programs and exhibitions prior to my departure as Cultural Committee Chairman.  Without Jim’s selfless contributions, this could never have happened.
Jim with his best friend Tom Single

As with most organizations, we have plenty of members willing to offer suggestions.  We are fortunate to also have those who are willing to work.   I am grateful to all the volunteers who have come to improve the Center.  Jim Huratiak’s example has been an inspiration to us all.

Written by: Maryann Sivak.   Email: