Book Supports Ukraine's Children

By Ron Fanfair

Ron Fanfair


Office of the Chief

A Toronto Police member has once again stepped up to help the worsening humanitarian crisis in Ukraine by lending his voice to a charity helping children caught in the crossfire of the war.

On July 25, a book launch was held for 47-year veteran Staff Sergeant Chuck Konkel’s third novel, Who Has Buried the Dead? at Headquarters.

For a month, all proceeds from the sale of the novel will go to Project Soniashnyk (Sunflower), a charity that funds trauma rehabilitation camps for those members of the Ukraine military – many who have been orphaned by the war.

Chief Myron Demkiw said this is another example of the efforts of Toronto Police members to help everyday Ukrainians, which have included gathering and shipping clothing and essential items to the country.

“Our Ukrainian population in Toronto, and indeed across the world, has been deeply shaken by this war and, of course, it has affected many children,” Demkiw said. “Protecting and nurturing children during this challenging time is so important. I’m confident these camps will give children the things that every child should have when they go to camp: a safe place to play, a chance to make new friends and an opportunity to develop as people and develop their leadership skills.”

The Chief noted that many talented Service members take up a variety of impressive hobbies and passion projects in their spare time, but it is remarkable that Konkel has now published a third novel.

“As a fiercely proud Ukrainian-Canadian I want to personally thank you on your 47 years of service to our communities and congratulate you on publishing this book. I really appreciate you sharing your creative talents with us and supporting this important cause of Project Soniashnyk.”

Joining the Service in 1976, Konkel’s career has spanned beat cop, police spokesperson and organized crime investigator and he now oversees uniform personnel at the non-emergency call centre. And he has remained working despite a diagnosis of a rare cancer that he continues to battle through chemotherapy treatments.

Lydia Bojeczko, Project Soniashnyk Director of Public Relations, acknowledged Konkel’s generosity.

“We are incredibly grateful to you for donating the proceeds from sales over the next few weeks,” she said. “As Russia’s mass invasion of Ukraine continues, increasing numbers of children across Ukraine are experiencing acute trauma due to the unthinkable atrocities they witness and experience daily. The Project camps and services are offered at no expense to the families and are made possible by the generous support of the BCU Foundation and public donations.”

Since its establishment in Toronto in 2006, the BCU  (Buduchnist Credit Union) has distributed over $12 million in support of countless projects to a multitude of organizations across Canada.

Man signing a book
Staff Sergeant Chuck Konkel signs on of his books Photo: Brent Smyth

Consul General of the Republic of Poland Magdalena Pszczółkowska and Ukraine’s Consul General Oleksandr Shevchenko both joined the event to show their support.

“This war has brought a lot of suffering to ordinary people, deaths and destruction. Thousands of children have become orphans,” said Shevchenko, thanking Konkel for his contribution. “I want to thank everyone here today and extend our gratitude to the Polish community of Canada and all Canadians for standing with Ukraine.”

The historical novel detailing Soviet Imperialism took Konkel nine years to research and write.

“This book turns on secrets,” Konkel said. “One secret is buried in the deep, dark forest of Katyn, Poland and the other is in the pages of a notebook – The Scottish Book – kept in a modest café in Lwow which is an ancient Polish city.”

Konkel, who is of Polish heritage, said he feels obligated to help out the Urkraine as so many other Canadians horrified by the suffering they've witnesses in news reports.

“There are innocent people suffering through this war,” Konkel said. “We want to help the victims of the war.”

Proceeds from the book will go to charity when purchased at the police headquarters gift shop (40 College St.) or online via

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