Tresja Denysenko

Message from USAID Administrator Samantha Power:

Dear colleagues,

I write to you with heartbreaking news. Our colleague, Tresja Denysenko, passed away unexpectedly earlier this morning. Tresja, a longtime force behind our humanitarian efforts, was serving with our Disaster Assistance Response Team in Haiti as our Deputy Leader for Operations when last night she collapsed after experiencing a sudden medical emergency. Surrounded by her colleagues, Tresja received immediate care from paramedics and doctors from the Fairfax Search and Rescue team. She was then medevaced by our Embassy in Port-au-Prince and the US Coast Guard to a hospital in Miami, where she subsequently passed. 

Tresja is survived by her husband, Nick, and their 12-year-old daughter, Sophia, and I want to extend my heartfelt condolences to them on behalf of a grateful nation and Agency. I want to offer that same expression of sympathy to Tresja’s entire family, and all her friends and colleagues whose hearts are filled with grief today. 

Tresja first joined the USAID family in 2005, and was a keystone in our disaster and humanitarian responses over the past sixteen years. She served in Haiti once before, following the 2010 earthquake. She deployed to West Africa to help partner countries contain and ultimately end the Ebola outbreak in 2014. She responded to the political crisis in Venezuela, the Civil War in South Sudan, and recently to the conflict and humanitarian disaster in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. For Tresja, there was no region too difficult to reach, no assignment too risky, no challenge too great. When people needed help, she went.  

As an operational lead, Tresja also made our teams better. She worked tirelessly to train staff across the Bureau of Humanitarian Affairs, and Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance before that, to deliver assistance more efficiently and more effectively, to save more lives and respond to more human needs. And she was beloved by her colleagues. For her mentorship. For her dedication. For her quick wit and endless reservoir of compassion. 

Her passing today, on World Humanitarian Day no less, reminds us of the grave risks many members of our USAID family take every single day to deliver assistance to those in need. I ask that you bear those sacrifices in mind and that you look to support colleagues who are in pain today, if your own grief will allow it. 

Tresja’s passing comes at a time of compounding anguish, as we grapple with the loss of life and suffering in Haiti following the recent earthquake, and the grave peril confronting our Afghan colleagues and partners. We are all in a state of sorrow today; you do not have to face it alone. I urge you to take advantage of our Staff Care grief and loss counseling services, and to let your manager and colleagues know if you need time and space to process and try to heal. 

We are setting up a condolence book for Tresja here in Washington in the 14th Street lobby, and have also created a digital condolence book where you can share memories and pay your respects. We are arranging a virtual memorial service for her in the coming days, with more details to follow. In the meantime, let us celebrate Tresja’s contributions, honor her memory, and, if we are so lucky, hug our colleagues and families a bit more tightly today.

NOTE: From a separate source, the UAA has received the link to contribute to her 12 year old daughter’s “529 College Fund.” Click here. 
Comments are closed.