© 2023 WMRA and WEMC
WMRA : More News, Less Noise WEMC: The Valley's Home for Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Local Ukrainians speak out about the toll of war

Ukraine 2.jpg
Calvin Pynn
Andrea Early and Stan Galloway with sign

Ukrainians living in the Shenandoah Valley gathered at the Veterans Memorial in Harrisonburg Thursday afternoon to share their connections to the conflict. WMRA’s Calvin Pynn reports.

Anxiety over loved ones’ safety has weighed on their minds since Russia’s invasion and over the past year, Aliona Lagoda has felt that trepidation.

ALIONA LAGODA: That’s how I live, it’s still the same. Every day, you call your parents hoping that random bomb (sic) didn’t fall on their city.

Ukraine 1.jpg
Calvin Pynn
From left to right: Nicole Yurcaba, Alex Lagoda, Aliona Lagoda, Andrea Early, Evan Knappenberger, Stan Galloway, Andriy Bogachuk

They urged Americans not to forget about the Ukrainians who haven’t escaped the conflict. Many - including Michael Kovchak’s niece - have elected to stay instead of becoming refugees.

MICHAEL KOVCHAK: She said - and other relatives said - “no, we are not leaving our country, we cannot leave our people, they need support, we will do everything what we can.” (sic)

Their options to help have been limited, though. Leonard Yavny is a pastor at Slavic Christian Church.

LEONARD YAVNY: When we’re here in America, we feel guilty. We can pray, we can send clothes, we can send food, we can send medicine, but that’s it. We can’t much help.

They said people here can help by donating to churches that offer aid to Ukraine, and contacting elected officials. Nicole Yurcaba said learning about Ukrainian culture is just as important.

NICOLE YURCABA: There are some fantastic organizations in the United States like the Ukrainian Institute of America, there are Ukrainian museums in New York City. Taking 10-15 minutes of your day just to read something to educate yourself about Ukraine would mean a lot to us.

Calvin Pynn is a radio reporter, writer, and photographer based in Harrisonburg, Virginia.