FBI Seattle Honors Seattle Community Leader Andriy Matlak with National Award
SEATTLE, WA—On Friday, May 5, 2023, FBI Director Christopher Wray presented Andriy Matlak with the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award (DCLA) for his service as Reverend Father of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Seattle. He is honored for his spiritual leadership, compassion, and selfless humanitarian services in the Seattle Ukrainian community since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
The FBI established the DCLA in 1990 to publicly acknowledge the achievements of those working to make a difference in their communities through the promotion of education and the prevention of crime and violence. The FBI’s 56 field offices select the recipients annually for this honor.
During Friday’s ceremony, Director Christopher Wray told the recipients: “Like the 38,000 employees of the FBI, you don’t do what you do for fame – and certainly not for fortune. You do it out of kindness, out of compassion for others, out of a hope and a dream for safer communities....to leave your towns and cities better places than when you got there. And that’s how I’ve defined success here within our organization, too. Success to me is if everyone leaves the FBI a better place than they found it.”
As the war intensified, Mr. Matlak opened the doors to his church for refugees and worked with local and federal agencies to facilitate resettlement. Mr. Matlak and his parishioners conducted donation drives to provide food, medicine, and other humanitarian services to the people of Ukraine during these challenging times. Through his church, Reverend Matlak continues to provide spiritual guidance and assistance to many within his community whose lives have been impacted by the war.
Mr. Matlak was born in Ukraine, Ternopil, region and attended Theological Seminary in Ivano-Frankivsk Ivano. He moved to the United States in 2007 to continue his study in theological fields. After six years of study in St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Seminary in 2013, Mr. Andriy Matlak and his wife Nadiya moved to Kent, Washington, where Mr. Matlak was appointed as parish priest of Holy Trinity parish of Seattle. Together they are raising two daughters Elizabeth and Olena.
Reverend Father Matlak said, “When I was told about this award from the FBI and shared the news with my mom and friends, their first reaction was: ‘From the FBI? But why?’ I wasn’t sure how to answer, and I’m still puzzled by it! But I would like to express my gratitude to Director Wray and to all at the Seattle field office for this incredible honor and humbling recognition. I’m also thankful to all those who have supported me along the way—the Hierarchs of our church, family members, friends, and our local communities of Washington State. It is truly encouraging to work with you all and to know that we have your support during this troubling time for Ukraine and for the Ukrainian communities throughout the world. We are sincerely grateful to the people of the United States. We will continue to pray for your well-being and for the ongoing mission of the FBI in Washington State and throughout the country.”
“Mr. Matlak is an outstanding FBI community partner and advocate. He uses his leadership in the church and in the Ukrainian Association of Washington State to amplify FBI messaging on transnational repression and other topics which impact his community,” said Richard A. Collodi, special agent in charge of the FBI Seattle Field Office. “I am honored to recognize Mr. Matlak for this well-deserved award.”
Director Wray hosted the 2022 DCLA winners in a special ceremony at FBI Headquarters on Friday, emphasizing the importance of partnerships in keeping our shared communities safe. These partnerships—as exemplified by the breadth of the work by the DCLA recipients—have led to a host of crime prevention programs that protect the most vulnerable in our communities, educate families and businesses about cyber threats, and work to reduce violent crime in our neighborhoods. Learn more about the Director’s Community Leadership Award program and the FBI’s general outreach efforts.
FBI Seattle is one of the 56 FBI field offices located in the United States. The mission of the FBI is to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States. For more information, visit www.fbi.gov or www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/seattle.