On June 19, 2014 the Captain, Commander of the reconnaissance company headquarters battalion of the 24th Separate Mechanized Brigade of Ukrainian Ground Forces, Stepan Vorobets' from Kolomyya fell in battle under Slovyansk. He was only 27 years old. He left behind his mother, two sisters, wife and two sons. "He would have never fled from this war, nor would have hidden - said Hanna Vorobets', mother of the deceased - He wanted to fight, to defend Ukraine, his family, so that his sons could be proud of him."
The lyceum remembers ...
Stepan Vorobets' – was a graduate of the Carpathian Military-Sports Lyceum-Boarding school in Nadvirna. On the 19th anniversary of the establishment, the Lyceum organized a memorial evening in tribute to Stepan Vorobets', to which his mother Hanna Stepanovna, his wife Svitlana and his classmates were invited. The graduate, who is now the pride of the whole country, is well remembered here. Stepan is said to have been a very conscientious, diligent student with a passion for history and physical education - the subjects which have a strong impact on the mind and body. Classmates stress that he could always gather friends around himself.
- He was a one of a kind friend - recalls Stepan’s classmate and friend, Alexander Shkvarskyy. - Sometimes life throws obstacles your way, forcing you to take a step back and Stepan was the concrete wall which did not allow you to fall. To say that he was a good man is to say nothing about him. There are not enough words to describe the person he was: brave, a patriot of his country, who loved his Homeland. Whatever the task, he tried to accomplish it to the best of his ability. In that he succeeded. Stepan, we will never forget you! Thank you for your courage, bravery, love of country ...
Classmate Zhenya Kovalskyy met Stepan Vorobets' in ninth grade. He says that even at such a young age it was already evident that the guy rooted for Ukraine, was a patriot and tried to convey this patriotism to his peers. "You felt safe next to him, there was an air of strength and positivity around him. Always cheerful, always with a smile. He made good progress in the military sphere. Stepan wanted to achieve success through his own efforts and muscles and become a role model. He succeeded to the full extent," - he stressed.
- Stepan Vorobets' will be permanently in the heroic history of our institution, - says director of the Carpathian Military-Sports Lyceum Colonel Mykola Martynyuk. - The life examples of such figures as Stepan Vorobets' must be used to educate our lyceum pupils. I have hope that this event will have a lasting effect on our lyceum pupils and will play a significant role in their development as individuals. We plan to create a hall of memory in tribute to ATO victims. Along with Stepan another one of our graduates was killed – Viktor Semchuk, sniper in the intelligence division of the headquarters battalion of 24th Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, from the village Zalav'ye, Terebovlyansk district, Ternopil region.
Dream in khaki
Stepan dreamed of becoming a military man since childhood. The young man’s mother, Vorobets' Hanna says that from an early age her son was confident that he would achieve this professional dream and intended to start a military dynasty in the family. So when the boy learned about the establishment of the Carpathian Military-Sports Lyceum in Bohorodchany (up to 2004 the institution functioned in Bohorodchany) he began preparing for the entrance exams without second thoughts.
- I am a mother of three and, apart from Stepanko, I have two more daughters. But he was my only child who knew from an early age what he wanted to do professionally - says Hanna Vorobets'. - He always wanted to be a military man. I do not know where this came from, because there is no history of military in our family. Both my husband and I are engineers. He, however, ran around with handcuffs since childhood, watched movies about war, wanted to be a military. At school (Stepan studied at school #1 named after V. Stefanyk in Kolomyya - ed.) he heard that a military-sports lyceum-boarding school was established in Bohorodchany. He really wanted to get enrolled, worried that he would fail. But he passed all the exams and was admitted. The year was 2000. He was 13 years old. He was so small, scrawny...
Stepan Vorobets’s mother fights hard to hold back her tears when talking about her heroic son. But memories are all she has left and she continues proudly and confidently, she wants people to know about her son, as he gave his life for the peaceful future of each of us.
- From an early age Stepan was very independent and responsible - she continues. - Since the first grade he went swimming in the river Prut all by himself. I had no choice but to allow him, otherwise I would not have known where he would wind up. He was a very confident swimmer, he played soccer and even as a child he demonstrated leadership qualities. Once, he organized a competition among football teams in the neighborhood. He always finished every task that he undertook. He liked to make jokes; he was the life and soul of any gathering. On all the photos there is a smile on his face. But at the same time, he was mature beyond his age. He lived a very bright, though short life. He loved our land, Ukraine, read about Cossacks-Kharakternyks, listened to Ukrainian songs. He was not born into all of this, he paved his own path ...
After graduating from the Carpathian Military-Sports Lyceum-Boarding school Stepan joined the Hetman Petro Sahaidachnyi National Army Academy, namely the faculty of artillery reconnaissance, although he dreamed about the special forces and airborne troops. "He was well-prepared physically, but we had neither connections nor money, so Stepanko could not get into the faculty of his dream - notes Hanna Vorobets'.- He studied well and sought opportunities for self-improvement, did parachuting, weight lifting, arm-wrestling, hand-to-hand fighting, boxing, he liked the mountains. He dreamed about serving in the special forces, but it so happened that he went into reconnaissance and became an excellent scout."
As the best officer, Stepan Vorobets' was sent to study in a US intelligence school. Hanna Stepanivna says that after the death of her son she was contacted by a Latvian young man, who studied in the United States along with Stepan. The man talked for two hours with the family of the deceased about his thoughts and ambitions. And what Stepan dreamed about was reforming the Ukrainian army. He wanted to implement the best practices of military service from around the world in his native country, so that Ukraine would be in good hands. "Why did God take away this child? There is so much more he could have done"- the woman says with pain. Incidentally, there are plans to name one of the halls in that intelligence school in America in honor of Stepan Vorobets'.
Man of the future
Stepan, his wife Svitlana and their two sons, Andriyko and Denys lived in Yavoriv, Lviv region. There, he served in the 24th Separate Mechanized Brigade as commander of the reconnaissance company of headquarters battalion. "He trained his subordinates strenuously, - said the military’s mother. – He set up such an obstacle course in the military part as he considered necessary; they jumped through fire and into icy water. He trained soldiers vigorously saying that if you do not train, your enemy does and will defeat you in battle. He prepared himself and his men not to be afraid in battle. He never complained about the lack of food or water. He would often say that the mind is the best muscle you have, because a person has to think how to perform a task with minimal losses, especially human losses. He valued human life and, at the same time, stressed that a scout must be ready to give his life for a brother-in-arms, for Ukraine and for God. My son was Ukrainian to the bone, his country was above all else. He was a man of the future. If there were more people like my son, our Ukraine would have become free and independent a long time ago."
Stepan Vorobets' wrote "Scout’s Code of Honor" and developed a chevron for his reconnaissance company. Today, it is difficult to read his slogan without tears: "For life – till death, with Ukraine in my heart." "Scout’s Code of Honor" is his personal code, because he lived by it and taught others to do so, "- his mother notes.
"The soul belongs to God, my life – to Ukraine, honor – to no one" - these prophetic words begin the code, with more prophetic phrases to follow. "The spiritual bases for a scout are the traditions of the bohatyrs (heroes) of Kyyivan Rus`, Cossacks, heroes of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, scouts of previous generations and those who have shed blood for the prosperity, unity and integrity of Ukraine. One does not become a scout for life; the right has to be earned daily. Each scout is a patriot, who puts the safety and welfare of the Ukrainian people above their own interests and does everything possible to protect his Homeland. A scout has to work and live for the good of Ukraine, constantly proving it through his actions. Respect the national feelings of other nations, but strongly resist any detectable anti-Ukrainian sentiment. Win or die for Ukraine, for the dead do not know shame. Only he is a true scout who is proud to give his life for God, Ukraine and brother ... "- so bequeathed Captain Stepan Vorobets', who did not violate the code of honor and became a true scout ...
"My sons, take my sails"
"He was the best husband and father - says wife Svitlana through tears. – At home, he was very kind, patient, knew the right approach to his children. Andriy - the eldest son, did not have to be asked twice. He never raised his voice in the house. When I visited him at work was the first time I heard him giving orders, and I was very surprised, because never before have I heard such a tone in his voice. He was always quiet, thoughtful, confident."
The eldest son Andriyko is a fourth-grader, Denysko is one and a half years old. When the couple’s youngest son Denys was born, the military man was training in America, but sent him lullabies from overseas. During his life he held his youngest son in his arms only several times. "On the ninth-day memorial service in tribute of Stepan Denys turned one" - adds Hanna Stepanivna.
Stepan dreamed that one day his children would carry on his mission and would also join the military. "When I was going to the Lyceum Andriyko said: "Go and take a look at where my dad studied for I, too, will study there one day"- says Svitlana Vorobets. - Andriyko knows that his father died. As for Denysko, despite his young age, he, too, somehow, maybe in his own way, understands that daddy is gone, because sometimes he wakes up in the morning and asks for a photograph of his father, kisses it, and presses it to his chest."
Hanna Vorobets did not have enough time to send the much needed thermal imager to her son on the front. She raised the money for it, about 35 thousand hryvnyas, in less than a week. "I addressed the deputies at the Kolomyya City Council session to help the military, who are fighting in the east, - says his mother. – People gave as much as they could. A lot was donated by our relatives. When they learned that I was raising money for a thermal imager, they started bringing money just like to Stepan’s wedding, "for honor" (not holding back tears). I was very surprised at my son’s request not to send the bag to headquarters. I already gave it to the soldiers who served with my Stepanko and who brought his body."
Stepan Vorobets' died June 19, when the military men were caught in an ambush between Yampol and Zakitne. "Before going into the fight, at five o'clock in the morning, he sent a text message to his wife with the following words: " I love you ... My sons, take my sails." He must have felt that he would not be coming back,"- notes Hanna Vorobets' sadly. – They’ve torn my heart out of my soul. To the last, I did not believe that my son was killed, not until I managed to contact his friends who took away his body from the battlefield. Why are our boys dying? Because a fish rots from the head, because our headquarters are filled with pro-Russian "FSB agents", who are selling our children. The best educated boys lay in the grave, because they have been turned in by pro-Russian generals. If there was coordination in management, this would not have happened. There should be professionals in headquarters and, above all, those who love Ukraine."
Addressing all the mothers, who are waiting for their sons from the front, Hanna Vorobets gives them a single piece of advice: support your children under any circumstances. "If your child does not have a bulletproof vest, turn to your relatives, people, acquaintances, raise money and buy that bulletproof vest and take it down there yourself, do not wait for headquarters to do this, you never know when and what will actually be delivered. Help your children be strong and do not put a deserter stigma on those who have retreated from Prykarpattya (5th Battalion of Territorial Defence "Carpathian". - ed.). At least, Commander Komar brought back children to their mothers, fathers – to their children, and men – to their wives."
The honorary resident of Kolomyya, Captain Stepan Vorobets was buried in his hometown on the Walk of Heroes beside the grave of Colonel Taras Senyuk. By a Presidential Decree from 21 August 2014 Stepan Vorobets was posthumously awarded the Order of Bohdan Khmelnytsky I class - for personal courage and heroism in defending national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, loyalty to the military oath, highly professional duty. "I am proud of my son - says Hanna Vorobets' through tears. - But to live without him – is a terrible burden ... ".