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Randolph works to help sister city in Ukraine

Published: 3/4/2022 10:00:41 PM
Modified: 3/4/2022 10:00:17 PM

RANDOLPH — More than 25 years ago, Randolph established sister-city connections with Myrhorod, Ukraine.

Now, as Russia invades Ukraine, some in the Orange County town along the White River are scrambling to support their friends abroad — grappling with the challenge of finding meaningful ways to help.

Marjorie Drysdale, Irene Schaefer and Anne Silloway are among those who have organized to figure out how best to support Ukraine.

All three have visited Myrhorod as part of trips led by the Randolph Rotary Club to donate medical supplies and meet their Ukrainian comrades.

Though it’s difficult to know how to be most effective, they don’t want to sit on their hands.

“What else can we do?” Drysdale asked. “Giving money, I don’t know what else we can do.”

They plan to raise money for the International Rescue Committee, an aid organization working in Poland to support Ukrainian refugees. The Randolph group has established a Facebook page to coordinate donations and reach out to friends in Myrhorod.

Drysdale said efforts are also underway to repair a mosaic that sits in Depot Square in Randolph, built to honor the town’s sister city relationship.

Myrhorod, a city of about 40,000, lies roughly 150 miles east of Kyiv.

Irene Schaefer, who visited Myrhorod 20 years ago, has been in touch with a translator, Alex Repin, she befriended on her trip to figure out how Randolph residents can support the city directly.

“He was bringing me up to date on how things are. Their food supply is becoming short in Myrhorod,” she said.

While the interpreter told Schaefer the city is not in imminent danger, bombing can be heard nearby, and an airstrip in the city was blown up.

Reflecting on her trip decades ago, Schaefer recalled donating hearing aids that the Rotary Club had brought to support children at Myrhorod’s hospital.

“I think of them daily now,” Schaefer said of the children she met while in Ukraine. “They are of the military age now. And you wonder, are any of them involved?

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