After fleeing Ukraine in 1944, Mr. Pleszkewycz immigrated to the United States where he helped organize Selfreliance Ukrainian Federal Credit Union in 1951. As the first CEO, he encouraged the credit union to be an active participant in the preservation and development of Ukrainian culture, language and history in the neighborhood.
Since 1951, the credit union has become a focal point in the Ukrainian community in Chicago and has grown into a full-service, $200-million financial institution. Mr. Pleszkewycz assisted new immigrants with financial needs and the credit union quickly became a support system for those who did not know the language or the culture.
While performing his duties as CEO, Omelan also volunteered his time at local community, church and youth organizations. In 1975 he helped found a senior citizen nutrition center which is still in use today. Mr. Pleszkewycz retired in 1977, but has remained active at the credit union as the honorary president and consultant.
Not content to just spread the word of credit unions in the United States, Omelan also helped organize the Ukrainian National Credit Union Association, the World Council of Ukrainian Cooperatives and is currently assisting in the re-introduction of credit unions in Ukraine.
To add to his remarkable achievements, Omelan is currently writing the history of the first 50 years of Selfreliance Ukrainian Federal Credit Union. At 91 years old, Omelan Pleszkewycz is truly worthy of this “Lifetime Achievement” award.
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