Serhii Holovchak was born on July 17, 1991, in the village of Piskiv, Kostopil Raion. After finishing secondary school, he entered Rivne Higher Vocational School where he obtained the qualification of an expert in plasterboard constructions. In 2009 Serhii joined the firefighter’s squad of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. After serving there, he started working in the limited liability company “Swisspan Limited”. Serhii was one of the first people in raion who participated in the counter-terrorist operation. He served as a senior soldier in the 51st Mechanized Infantry Brigade.

Since the end of August 2014, Serhii Holovchak had not got in touch. For this reason, he was considered to be missing.  It was possible to ID the deceased only thanks to the DNA tests. The senior soldier died on August 27, 2014, in the fight near Ilovaisk. The 3rd Battalion where Serhii served was besieged near Berezne and Olenivka. It was under constant shelling.

At first, the Hero from Kostopil was buried in Dnipropetrovsk. Later, the relatives moved Serhii to Piskiv where he was reburied.

The deceased left a wife and a 2-year-old son Ivanko.

According to the Presidential Executive Order, “for personal valor and high professionalism demonstrated in the protection of the state sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, loyalty to the oath of enlistment”, Serhii was posthumously awarded the Third Class Order For Bravery.


“I am alive! I am being held in a subbasement ” –
Mother had this dream on the night of her dead son’s reburial

A year passed as an undeclared war in the east of Ukraine took the life of 23-year-old Serhii Holovchak from the village of Piskiv in Kostopilsky district of Rivne region.
The fighter of the 51st Separate Mechanized Brigade did not escape the Ilovaisk trap. Eyes fill up with water when his two-year-old son Ivan, kissing the photo, repeats: “I love my Dad very much!”

Mother of the late Serhii Holovchak, Halyna Serhiivna, cries just beginning to talk about her son. He was the youngest among the three children. Joyful, benevolent. He was good at school. Of all the subjects, the boy most loved geography. He was going in for sports, regularly participated in shooting competitions. Nevertheless, he never climbed into a fight. His friends liked him for his sincerity and openness.

At the age of 21, Serhii got married. He had met Maria when he came to his uncle in the neighbouring village to graze the cows. The girl then graduated from school. A year later, the young couple got married. Soon their son Ivan was borne. Now the boy is almost three years old. He looks very much like his Dad.

“After the wedding, we lived with Serhii’s parents. He dreamed of completing the house so that Ivan had more space,” recalls Maria. “The husband was a very good householder. He wanted us to have everything we needed. When he came on vacation, he bought a piglet for us to grow it while he was away. He tried to help everyone. He sometimes could even neglect his work at home, because someone of his friends asked him to help. Serhii worked as a firefighter in Kostopil, and his colleagues loved and respected him very much. Even now, when he is gone, they help us with what they can.”

Serhii Holovchak was enlisted to the army during the first wave of mobilization. He was taken to the training camp the next day he received the calling-up notice. Now Halyna Serhiivna cries: the son was not even medically surveyed. The military commissars did not take into account the fact that Serhii lived with his mother who is dependent on him being a first-degree disabled person. The soldier from the village of Piskov was sent to serve in the 3rd Battalion of the 7th Company of the 51st Separate Mechanized Brigade (SMB) as a gunner’s assistant.  Later he was transferred to the assault brigade.

“He spent three weeks at the test site. Serhii said that sometimes they they did not have access to water for three days”, Halyna Holovchak says with tears. The soldiers were not told that they would be sent to the East. Being there, Serhii never told anything. Just kept saying: “Mom, we do not shoot, it’s quiet here. Do not think evil! “When at the end of July he came home, the mother asked him: “Son, do not go, be at home. Ivan grows, he needs his father”. Serhii replied: “Mom, do you know how many guys perished there, and how many children are now without their fathers? I do not want them to come here to my son. It’s not going to be long. We’ll throw them off from our land, and I’ll be with you. I promised my brethren to return to them. Do you think I can stay here while the shells fly over their heads?”

Two weeks after this conversation Serhii Holovchak was gone. The Mother remembers that last time she spoke to her son was on August 23. He said that they were near Amvrosiivka, in Dzerkalny, and it was very quiet. On that day they spoke until late at night. However, in the morning the connection with Serhii broke down. The fighter could not manage to escape from the Ilovaisk hell.

Later, when Maria tried to call her husband, a separatist answered the call. First he tried to flirt with the woman, but when she interrupted him abruptly, he became rude: “All what remained from your soldiers – parts of the bodies!” We shot the convoy; there are only piles of meat scattered everywhere.” Maria also recalles: “He said that his mother-in-law lived in Kharkiv. That we, dwellers of the western part of Ukraine, ruined their lives. Juste came and bombed it all. When I asked where he got my husband’s phone, he replied that he had found it in an APC. And he didn’t know where my Serhii was”.

Serhii Holovchak was identified after the DNA test. However, his Mom still refuses to believe that the son will never come home again. The woman says that Ivan, who does not remember Serhii keeps saying: “Granny, I love my dad”, “I saw my dad in the dream, he brought candies to me, and then left.” During our conversation with Halyna Serhiivna, while we were standing near the honor roll with photographs of the ATO heroes from Kostopil district, the child would run over and over again to kiss the portrait of Serhii.

“It’s been a year since Serhii perished. We have to order a monument to the grave, but I haven’t got round to it. As if something does not allow me to do it,” confesses Halyna Serhiivna. “I do not believe that he died whatever they tell me! When they had to bring his body from Dnipropetrovsk for reburial (first the son was buried as an unknown soldier), I asked him to give me a sign. When I saw him in my dream, Serhii said that he had been kept in a deep dark subbasement. And his friends see him alive in their dreams alive. The son says to them: “I know that you buried me. But I’m alive!” I pray to God, I wish it were true. We buried the coffin, but what was in it – nobody knows. I am thankful to all the villagers who supported me in the difficult minute.”

While the material was being prepared for printing, it became known that Petro Poroshenko signed a decree on awarding Serhii Holovchak with the Order “For Courage” of the III class (posthumously). 

Martyniuk M.


Serhii Holovchak (07.17.1991-08.27.2014)