Eddie Diakow of the Dobrowody district near Rama was one of 12 recipients at the 2019 UCC (Ukrainian Canadian Congress) Nation Builders Award held at The Hotel Saskatchewan in Regina on October 20.
Diakow was acknowledged in the Cultural Preservation and Development category. He received his Community Recognition Award for his craftsmanship and woodwork, after developing his woodworking and welding skills at a very young age.
Diakow’s passion for music inspired him to become a self-taught luthier (someone who builds or repairs stringed instruments) and woodworker. Even as a farmer, he has a long history of community service as a handyman including repairing instruments for many musicians. His woodworking skill is sought out for numerous projects, including: kitchen tables, rolling pins, cabinets and memorial urns. Being very meticulous with each project keeps him very busy.
He has also built nine-foot custom doors for his parish church, Nativity of The Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church (Dobrowody). He has served on the Church’s executive for many years and is currently the president. He has also built a reliquary that houses the relic of Pope Saint John II at St. Anthony's Roman Catholic Church (Rama). Besides being involved in building projects, he also is caretaker of the Church, its grounds and cemetery. In addition, he is a long time member of the Knights of Columbus.
To add to his numerous projects, he has built an outdoor clay oven (pechi), 24 violins, three tsymbaly (stringed musical instrument) and repaired stringed instruments for local, provincial and nationally-renowned musicians.
Diakow bought his first violin from the Eaton's catalogue for $14 using money he saved from woodcutting. Along with a few do-it-yourself books as his guide, Eddie began his road to becoming a luthier.
In 2009, Eddie was recognized by the Musée Ukraina Museum in Saskatoon for his creative artistic abilities and preservation of Ukrainian culture. He and his wife, Charlotte, reside on the original family farm where they raised their four children, and are now blessed with five grandchildren.