Spirit of Liberty Foundation Concludes “Drive For Ukraine - Freedom Tour”
Фундація «ДУХ ВОЛІ» Завершила «Поїздка за Україну - Тур Свободи»
The SPIRIT OF LIBERTY FOUNDATION was established by Philanthropist Richard Rovsek in Rancho Santa Fe, California in the early 1980s to support the complete renovation both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island where immigrants arriving in the USA were received and processed for entry to the USA. The reopening of both historical sites took place in 1986 and 1190 respectively.
In 2005 the Foundation took on a new mission – to enhance the meaning of Liberty and support America’s Heroes – the members of our nation’s Armed Forces, who volunteer to risk their very lives to protect the Freedoms and Liberty that all Americans enjoy every day, with an emphasis on supporting those on active duty, veterans and their family members.
In 2017 the Foundation added to its mission honoring and supporting First Responders, who also risk their lives every day to protect Americans within our borders.
Richard Rovsek continues to serve as Chairman of the Foundation. He has a marketing background working in various industries following his graduation from the University of Wisconsin. He held positions in the Richard Nixon Presidential Administration and later worked closely with President Ronald Reagan developing a very close friendship with him that drives his dedication and devotion to helping others to this day.
As he closely followed the news about the imminent and then actual Russian invasion in Ukraine he became very distraught that Ukraine had to once again suffer crimes against humanity and outright genocide after 30 years of independence. He had two lifelong Ukrainian friends from boyhood and when they discussed what was happening in Ukraine, decided to make a sincere effort to bring attention to the Russian atrocities there. Their discussions turned into the idea of creating another mission for the Spirit of Liberty Foundation: a DRIVE FOR UKRAINE – FREEDOM TOUR. Richard put his heart and soul into the effort contacting Metropolitan Antony of our Church, leaders of other religious organizations and other organizations putting forth incredible efforts to raise funds to aid the Ukrainian people who have suffered unjustified horror for the last six months, with no end in sight.
The Drive for Ukraine – Freedom Tour took much time and effort to organize. It would be a 6,000 mile drive across the USA beginning on 4 August in San Diego, CA. Traveling through 15 States and 12 State Capitals stops and ceremonies along the way, seeking out Ukrainian Churches and people. Arrangements were organized to meet in each city for a Ceremony to be attended by state and local officials, Ukrainian American supporters, and any form of media that would cover the effort and keep the focus on what is happening in Ukraine. The Foundation does not collect funds through its efforts. People are always encouraged to support the Ukraine Aide programs such as that of Ukrainian Orthodox Church, other churches and many Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian friends who have been working diligently to support the people of Ukraine in their time of desperation.
The Drive for Ukraine – Freedom Tour was planned to conclude on 28 August in New York City and finally at our Metropolia Center in South Bound Brook. Unfortunately, however, Mr. Rovsek’s long time friend and fellow driver on the tour had to return to California because of a severe family emergency. Therefore, the tour was concluded in Philadelphia before Independence Hall. Independence Park Rangers hosted the Ceremony, warmly welcoming those in attendance and exhibiting a facsimile of a document permanently located in the Independence Hall archive. It is a document entitled “Declaration of Common Aims of the Independent Mid-European Nations”. It was signed after the end of World War I by twelve nations, Ukraine being one of them. These nations wanted to emulate the greatness of the United States of America, the greatest Democracy throughout all human history. Copies of the document were gifted to many of the people present for the ceremony. The facsimile presented by the Rangers was gifted to Philadelphia Ukrainians through Iryna Mazur, Esq., Honorary Consul of Ukraine in Philadelphia.
Metropolitan Antony expressed gratitude for both himself and Archbishop Daniel, as well as all the clergy and faithful of our Holy Church to Mr. Rovsek for his incredible devotion to aid the people of Ukraine and to make America acutely aware of what is really happening in Ukraine because weakness of mind and soul of another Russian dictator. Accompanying the Metropolitan to Philadelphia were V. Rev. Taras Naumenko, V. Rev. Orest Poukhalsky, Seminary Professor V. Rev. Milorad Orlic, Rev. Fr. Andrij Drapak, Rev. Fr. Myroslav Mykytyuk, Subdeacon Pavlo Vysotskyj and seminarian Mykola Stephanyk.