MLK distinguished service award 2022 to Oleg Pynda

Jun 18, 2022

King County Councilmember Upthegrove awards Martin Luther King Medal of Distinguished Service to Oleg Pynda

King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove on Tuesday awarded Oleg Pynda with the Martin Luther King Medal of Distinguished Service, an award that recognizes individuals whose work has answered the question asked by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “What are you doing for others?” 

As a Ukrainian-born U.S. citizen, Pynda has over 30 years’ experience working with foreign businesses and families and is passionate about advocating and supporting refugee and immigrant communities to become self-supporting, self-sustainable, and successful in developing business opportunities.

He is currently the Executive Director of the Ukrainian Community Center of Washington located in Renton, an organization he founded in 1998. Since its establishment, the UCCW has been helping refugees and immigrants mostly from the former Soviet Union overcome language, cultural, educational and social barriers. Its purpose is not only to assist and educate the Slavic community but to provide them with a sense of unity and community well-being.

“Although Oleg has been championing the needs of Eastern European refugees in King County for over 30 years, I can think of no more appropriate time to recognize and honor his work,” Upthegrove said. “We have all watched with horror the unprovoked attack on the sovereign nation of Ukraine and the suffering and misery it has wrought on the Ukrainian people. Oleg has tirelessly worked to alleviate that suffering – both in Ukraine and in the local Ukrainian community here in King County – and in doing so, has truly exemplified the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

Prior to serving as the Executive Director for UCCW, Pynda served as a Senior Program Specialist at the Seattle-King County Workforce Development Council. He also founded the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce in 2004.