Thought Leadership
8 minutes

As Ukraine marks its 31st anniversary of independence, we’re remembering our coworkers Oleh Perehuda, our Security Officer, and Ihor Khodak, our Senior Java Developer, and Petro Ursulovych, our Head of Security Office, who have paid the highest price fighting to keep Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, democracy, and independence.

In memory of Our Softjourn Heroes

Igor Khodak, Senior Java Developer

Igor Khodak joined Softjourn as a Java Developer in May 2012, after working as the Head of the support and software implementation at a Ukrainian bank. Igor worked at Softjourn for over ten years and due to his talent and strong work ethic became a Senior Java Developer. 

During his time at Softjourn, Igor worked on many projects and showed himself to be a very dedicated, considerate, and capable person who loved complicated tech challenges. During one discussion with Softjourn’s CEO, Emmy Gengler, when asked what complicated meant to him, he said “it’s something you can’t learn in a day”; he loved to truly dive into a topic and take time to comprehensively understand it.

Most of all, he loved to share the information he discovered with everyone. All of his teammates considered him to be a great mentor and somebody who was always ready to help and answer any question. Igor’s warm and genuine laugh will be missed by all of us. 

When the full-scale invasion began in February 2022, Igor joined the Territorial Defense Force, a volunteer military unit of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. When asked why he decided to serve in the military without prior experience, Igor said that he was not able to find inner peace without attempting to defend his country. 

At the end of June 2022, Igor laid down his life for Ukraine during a military operation. His sacrifice for his country, family, and friends will not be forgotten.

Christina Lukynyuk, who worked closely with Igor, wanted to share the following about him:

“Igor was a very calm, positive, and knowledgeable person. He was truly passionate about technologies, and the more complex a task, the more excited he was to dig into it. 

One time, there was an issue that had bothered our client-side developers for over two years. Igor quickly got to the bottom of it and found the cause of the issue. 

Even after Igor joined Ukraine’s Armed Forces, he continued to contribute to his team’s work because he wanted to stay sharp on coding. 

Every time we visited him at his military unit dislocation, he always greeted us with the happiest smile. So that's the moment I remember - Igor approaching us in his military uniform, smiling ear-to-ear, telling us how glad he was to see us and asking about the team. 

His last message to me was a week before we lost him. He wrote: "Everything's okay, say hi to everybody in Softjourn". 

I will always remember Igor as a man of great bravery and dignity.”

Softjourners united to donate money to Igor’s wife and kids, and the company also donated a sum from internal funds. Softjourn has made the decision to continue to pay Igor’s salary to his family. 

During his work at Softjourn, he was also invited for a work trip to a client. 

Igor Khodak Softjourn

Igor Khodak

Oleh “Skif” Pereguda, Security Officer

Oleh “Skif” Pereguda worked as a Security Officer at Softjourn from 2018 until 2021. Often described by his coworkers as “very kind and supportive,” Oleh always went out of his way to help out on any request - from delivering items to our remote workers to make them more comfortable during the pandemic, to ensuring that our Ivano-Frankivsk office was always safe and secure. 

Oleh Pereguda

Oleh joined the anti-terroristic force in 2014 shortly after the annexation of Crimea and the anti-terrorism operation started in Eastern Ukraine. After two years of bravely defending Ukraine, he returned home injured. After rehabilitation, we welcomed Oleh to our Softjourn team in 2018. 

In July 2021, Oleh left Softjourn to pursue his passion - supporting returning veterans. With his friend, he created the company, “Ukrainian Smart Automatics” which developed innovative technology for hospitals, including a bedside panel that featured a doctor call system, light control, Wi-Fi access, and more. 


Even with the success of his first idea, Oleh and his wife shared a dream to build a rehabilitation center for Ukrainian veterans. His fierce determination allowed his project to flourish, as he worked to secure land and resources from local authorities, find donors, and unite the community. 

On February 24th, the same day that the full-scale Russian invasion started, Oleh enlisted in the military to defend Ukraine. As he already had had profound battle experience, he served as a high commander. For his exceptional service, Oleh was given a prestigious Ukrainian military award, the Order of Bohdan Khmelnytsky, 3rd Class1. This honor is awarded for exceptional duty in defense of state sovereignty and state security. On the 14th of June, he was killed by Russian military forces. 

A soldier who served beside Oleh shared the following story about him:

“Oleh was a real warrior on all fronts. Courageous, clever, organized, and sensible. He always was the first to go into battle and led everyone behind him. It was not scary for him at all. 

In 2014, we came under fire while entering Pisky, and I thought it would be our last battle. But thanks to Skif [Oleh], we came out without losses.

On the first day of the explosions and invasion in February [2022], Oleh was already at the military commissary ready to reenlist. Together with his boys, he drove the Russians from Voskresensk to Snigurivka. He burned the equipment of the occupiers in the Kherson region. He held positions in Sviatohirsk when others withdrew. 

He defeated several enemy groups in counterattacks near Tatyanany and Bogorodychny, liberated villages, and captured prisoners.”

To commemorate our hero, Oleh, Softjourners united in an internal foundation to support his family. Softjourn as a company also donated to his wife so she can continue working on their shared dream to create a rehabilitation center for veterans.

Petro "Khmuryi" Ursulovych, Head of Security Service

Petro Ursulovych

Petro "Khmuryi" Ursulovych, worked at Softjourn as the Head of Security Service since 2016. 

His colleagues described him as a sincere, fair, responsible, and very brave man. Petro had a great reputation in his community and at Softjourn for his proactivity and his dedication. 

At Softjourn, Petro was known for being a very proactive person, and in addition to his usual work, he was constantly improving our office, including monitoring the serviceability of our workplaces and installing a diesel generator on the roof. 

We attribute the reason for Softjourn’s office running so smoothly during electricity outages during Russia’s attack on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure to Petro’s improvements to our office. We extend the highest level of gratitude to Petro for making sure our Softjourners are safe and our lights stay on.

Not only did Petro always ensure that our security system was at the absolute highest level, but he also went above and beyond in his involvement in supporting Softjourn’s charity fund for the Ukrainian Army. 

Petro Softjourn

Petro onboarding photo. Softjourn's IF office. 2016.

Softjourn started this charity fund when Russia first invaded Ukraine in 2014, and donations went to buying vehicles and equipment for Ukraine’s Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO). Since the beginning of his tenure at Softjourn, Petro had been committed to delivering and transferring the necessary vehicles and equipment to the ATO zone. 

Even on his vacations, he would travel to the ATO zone, where he volunteered as a security driver for teams of medics who provided medical care for soldiers and civilians in the Luhansk region. In 2018, Petro Ursulovych was recognized as the "Volunteer of the Year" in the city of Kalush, in their competition that awards the highest achievements of the year.

Petro started participating in the fight against Russian aggression during the Euromaidan protests in Kyiv in 2013. Euromaidan was a wave of demonstrations and civil unrest in Ukraine, which began on 21 November 2013 on Independence Square in Kyiv. These protests were triggered by the Russian-backed Ukrainian government's decision not to sign the European Union–Ukraine Association Agreement, instead choosing closer ties to Russia. 

After Petro heard about government security forces beating Euromaidan protesters on November 30, Petro decided to participate in these groundbreaking demonstrations. The Euromaidan uprising culminated on the 18th of February 2014, when intense fighting in Kyiv between Maidan activists and the police resulted in the deaths of almost 100 protesters.

A fellow Euromaidan participant, Ivan Kachmar, knew Petro well and recalled:

Petro was the most punctual person I knew, he was a man of his word who would always come to help, and was serious and kind at the same time. On February 18, he was at home [in Kalush], and when he saw on the news what was happening in Mariinsky Park, he was with us in Kyiv on the Maidan on the night of the 19th."

As a result of the fierce protests that Petro participated in, on the 21st of February the Russian-backed Ukrainian president, Yanukovych, and other government figures fled the country and returned to Russia, allowing Ukraine to democratically choose a president who represented their pro-European stance.

Petro's interview about Euromaidan on local TV. 2017.

Soon after, Russia retaliated by annexing Crimea and invading regions of Eastern Ukraine. This led Petro to join the 4th operational battalion of the National Guard, called “Kruk”, with the mission to fight for freedom against tyranny. He fought in the ATO zone for several years before the full-scale invasion of Russia in 2022. 

At 5 am on February 24th, 2022, Petro had just finished installing Softjourn’s diesel generator –our emergency power source– when he heard the first explosions and realized that a full-scale invasion had begun. 

Diesel generator installed by Petro. 2022.

On the evening of February 24, he once again became a defender of Ukraine. He became the commander of the air assault division of the 80th separate air assault brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. As a result of his bravery, he was awarded a medal of Courage. 

Unfortunately, during his time serving, he was wounded – however, this did not stop Petro from being his proactive self! Even during his treatment at a hospital in Dnipro, Petro repaired all of the power sockets in the ward.

Later, he asked to transfer his treatment to Ivano-Frankivsk, where Softjourn’s R&D office is because he felt he could not sit still and wanted to fix and improve something. Petro would even jokingly ask his colleagues to break something in the office, just so that he could come and fix it. 

After his successful rehabilitation, he went to defend Ukraine again on the frontlines. On October 30, 2022, Petro was killed in action near the village of Nevske, Svatove district, in the Luhansk region. 

He had previously participated in fighting near Kherson, together with his colleague from Softjourn, the brave and fallen Oleh Perehuda. Unfortunately, Petro never was able to see the success of his effort in Kherson, as he died 11 days before Ukrainian troops liberated the city of Kherson from Russian occupiers. 

Petro is deeply missed by his wife, daughter, family, comrades, and friends. His colleagues at Softjourn will never forget him, and will always remember and honor his sacrifice to protect us and his country.


We will always remember the courage and the selflessness of Oleh, Igor and Petro. We are overwhelmed with gratitude and emotion for the sacrifices they, and countless others, have had to make to keep our families, friends, and communities safe. 

We are also thankful for all of Ukraine’s brave defenders, including some of our Softjourners, who are currently serving to protect our freedom. This honor is bestowed upon individuals for courage and heroism while rescuing people while endangering their own life.

Due to heroes like Oleh, Igor, Petro and many others, we hope our next Independence Day will be full of peace and joy. Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes! Слава Україні! Героям слава!


1. УКАЗ ПРЕЗИДЕНТА УКРАЇНИ №556/2022 President of Ukraine