Stephen Olejasz, who comes from the circle, gets honor from Poland

Photo provided President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda, right, presents the Knight’s Cross to Stephen Olejasz at a ceremony in Linden, New Jersey.

WHEELING – Born in Wheeling, he recently received the prestigious Polish Country Award for his work to strengthen relations between Poland and the United States.

Stephen Olejasz, son of Joanne Olejasz and the late Chester Olejasz of Wheeling, received the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland at a ceremony in Linden, New Jersey. The prize is awarded to foreigners who have become famous in international cooperation and relations between Poland and other countries.

Olejasz received the award from the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda, who was present in the United States at the UN General Assembly in New York.

Olejasz is a retired military officer, currently security policy analyst and executive vice president of the American Society of Kosciuszko’s Friends at West Point, Inc.

The association is a non-profit organization that supports the annual Kosciuszko memorial ceremony at the United States Military Academy.

The association and annual ceremony honor the hero of the American Revolutionary War, Tadeusz Kościuszko, a Polish military engineer who served in the Continental Army and was best known for fortifying West Point to protect the Hudson River from British control.

Olejasz’s personal commitment to supporting strong Polish-American ties began with the Kościuszko Memorial Ceremony and Conference in West Point, where hundreds of Americans, especially Americans of Polish descent, and Poles gathered to celebrate their common hero. Among the speakers and participants are military leaders, diplomats, American, Polish and allied politicians and scientists.

Olejasz and the Association stepped up their efforts by bringing West Point cadets, including Polish exchange cadets, to Washington for an annual visit to US and Polish leaders. The group visits the Pentagon to meet representatives of the Military Staff, the Senior Staff and the Minister of Defense, and then a meeting with the Ambassador and Defense Attaché of the Republic of Poland.

Olejasz also helps his cadets travel to Poland, where they meet the US Ambassador and Defense Attaché, Polish political and military leaders, and visit historical and cultural sites.

In recent years, Olejasz has expanded his activities by holding annual panels devoted to NATO and European security issues and speaking at events in Poland. Since 2016, he has chaired the safety committee at the annual international conference of the Polish Institute of Science in America. He convened military and defense representatives of the United States, Poland and allies for a conference held alternately between the United States and Poland.

In his military career, Olejasz has served in Europe, the Middle East and the entire continental United States. He has extensive experience and expertise in international military operations and missions for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Most recently on the Pentagon Joint Staff, Steve has served as Coalition Chief and Military Representative to US delegations to NATO, the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna, Austria, and to UN forums in New York City and Geneva. , Switzerland.

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