Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák has selected Friends of Slovakia (FOS) Founding Chairman, Amb. Theodore Russell, and Board Chairman, Joseph Senko to receive the prestigious Golden Medal of the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic. The medals were presented to the two recipients on February 15, 2019 by Slovak Ambassador Ivan Korčok, prior to the Annual Meeting of the FOS Board of Directors, at the Slovak Embassy in Washington. In his remarks, Amb. Korčok cited the outstanding work of both recipients in promoting the democratic aspirations of Slovakia and Slovak–U.S. relations and friendship.
Amb. Russell’s long career in the U.S. Foreign Service was capped by his becoming the first U.S. Ambassador to the newly independent Slovak Republic. He went on to help found the Friends of Slovakia, which advocated for Slovakia’s integration into NATO and other Western institutions, and which continues to support U.S.-Slovak relations. Mr. Senko has had a long career as an advocate for Slovak–American solidarity and for U.S.-Slovak friendship, serving as Slovak Honorary Consul for Pennsylvania, as well as Chairman of FOS. He also has been active in the Slovak American fraternal organizations and founded the Western Pennsylvania Slovak Cultural Association (WPSCA). The Golden Medal award is a fitting tribute to these two individuals as they step down from their long service on the FOS Board of Directors, while they will stay engaged with the organization.